Expedition Start–Amsterdam

For the last month we have been touring Europe to celebrate our 45th Wedding Anniversary. Our journey through Europe covered 1600 kilometers and five countries. I took about 2000 images and videos and surely will be busy editing and publishing for a while. Like most good European journeys we started in Amsterdam. Our flight on Lufthansa had been canceled and we were forced to ride in middle seats on United so when we hit the ground we were hungry, bitchy, and jet lagged. On our way to find food and a coffee shop I stopped for a second to take this image.

Fortunately we have been to Amsterdam before because the next day we would board our ship and sail down the Rhine. We didn’t have too much time for sight seeing. This was taken facing the city from the central train station.

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L’shanah Tovah: Portuguese Synagogue

Tonight is the beginning of one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism: Yom Kippur. I can’t help but wonder what services would look like in the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is known for its Red Light District, Canals, Coffee Shops and Museums. Nestled in this backdrop is one of the great Synagogues of the world. It was built by Spanish Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition. Since Holland and Spain were at war with one another, those escaping persecution said they were Portuguese to gain entry in to the country. Many Synagogues in Europe restrict access due to persistent anti-Semitic feelings. However the Portuguese Synagogue is open for visitors for a small fee. You can also attend services on Friday or Saturday without paying a fee. The entire Synagogue is lit by candles and there is an excellent Judaica store where you can buy beautiful souvenirs and find out about the history of the building.L’shanah Tovah (Happy New Year!)

Portuguese Synagogue Amsterdam Holland

Den Waag in Amsterdam

One of the most beautiful buildings we saw in Amsterdam was Den Waag (The Weigh House) which dates back to the old fortifications of the city. As we walked towards it we knew nothing about it. We thought it was a castle and maybe we could get a tour. Turns out it is now a cafe and quite a good one. Being hungry, we stopped for lunch and the food was as wonderful as the candlelit interior. See more of my photos of Europe by clicking here.

The cafe at Den Waag in Amsterdam