Around the World: Tony Ollivier in Amsterdam
As a way to add a little cheer in these stay-at-home times, I've been sharing some pictures of the beautiful and remarkable places I've seen in my travels. Many of these experiences served as research for my novels, including EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE, due out this summer.
Take a look here to revisit virtual journeys to: Iceland, Orkney, Wales, Niagara Falls, London, Seoul, Milano, and Tokyo. And today, for a change of pace, you get to enjoy the company of a new tour guide! To celebrate the publication of his debut thriller THE AMSTERDAM DECEPTION, we're going to visit this amazing Dutch city with Tony Ollivier. Subscribers to my newsletter had a chance to win a copy of Tony's new book -- have you signed up yet? [Just scroll to the bottom of this page!] For now, let's join Tony for his take on this amazing--and mysterious -- Dutch city.
Thanks, kc! My first trip to Amsterdam was in the early 90’s with my (then fiancée, now) wife. We chose to backpack through the Netherlands and the only thing I remember from our visit to Amsterdam was cold toast, cold ham and warm coffee at our B&B. My last trip in the fall of 2017 had a better start. A business trip over a weekend allowed me to explore more of the city and snag a delicious hot breakfast or two.
There is a LOT of water in the city – over 100 kilometers of canals and 1500 bridges.
Many places to walk and get lost on a spring or summer day. As I walked around on Saturday afternoon, the pungent smell of weed from the Amsterdam coffee shops filled the air. Luckily that wasn’t everywhere I went.
Public transport is plentiful and cheap and can get you to most places with a minimum of fuss. This tram is heading south from the Centraal station on Damrak, one of the main roads in the city. A short walk from the Centraal station lies De Wallen (Dutch for The Walls), the location of the historic red-light district and the setting for the beginning of my novel.
Part theme park, part social experiment with a side of sadness, the area needs to be seen at least once. But taking pictures is frowned upon and the normally passive aggressive Dutch are more pushy with their warnings.
The Trompettersteeg, is known as the narrowest alley in the city and in the middle the red-light district. One of my opening scenes takes place there. And yes, the red light down the alley displays what you think it does.
After your (possibly quick) peek at a part of Amsterdam’s sordid history, there’s still more to explore. Amsterdam is very much a bicycle town. The lack of hills makes it easy to get around without working up a sweat while getting there.
There are more bikes than residents and the majority of population gets to school or work via bike. When tourists are allowed again, one of the better ways to get around is to rent your own bicycle!
But the most prominent part of the city is the never-ending canal system, complete with boats and houseboats moored to the sides.
It’s a great city to get lost in, and soak up the history, the architecture and of course the food.
Thanks for the tour, Tony!
As we say goodbye to Amsterdam, a quick reminder to sign up for my newsletter, via the link below. The next issue will arrive the first week of June, filled with news, interviews and a chance to win some fun surprises as the promotion gets going for EIGHTY DAYS TO ELSEWHERE, which is coming this summer. And stay tuned for our next virtual journey -- here before you know it!