When I thought yesterday was a serious day, I was wrong. Today was even more serious and even depressing. We signed up for a paid Sandeman tour to visit a concentration camp - Sachsenhausen.
Since the camp was completely abolished, the site was a large open field. Our tour guide told us that they were training camps for detainees to test the durability of the shoes. Honestly, the stories told by our tour guide was way too depressing and creepy. As a result, I barely took any pictures of this camp. It was also a sign of respect for the site.
I don't know what's up with me. Probably because of yesterday's visit to a concentration camp. I completely lost my mood and didn't feel like taking any pictures. We arrived at another royal palace - Sanssouci Palace and did not take many pictures.
I hope my mood will be better when we arrive at Amsterdam.
Finally, we arrived at Amsterdam! This is the city with tallest average height and I do not kid you, everyone is at least 6 feet tall.
What surprised me most is that Dutch people are really good at English. In fact, their English carries a British accent which is quite fascinating. Also, since we traveled up north, the temperature was noticeably colder.
Without wasting time, we signed up for anther Sandeman tour.
Below is the HQ of the Dutch East India Company. If you watched "Pirates of the Carribean", you should be familiar with this company.
Interestingly, Amsterdam offer croquette and hamburger vending machine! North America is too dull to have only soft-drinks and chips in vending machines. This idea is genius but then people constantly need to replace with freshly made burgers inside these machines.
We were also told by our tour guide that this is the most narrow building of the entire city. I think someone's wingspan is already wide enough to cover the entire unit.
Anne Frank's house! To be honest, that is nothing special.
We were also delighted to have joined by our university friends, Jimmy, Gordon and Stephen with us. They traveled from Lisbon and they were going to stay for one night at Amsterdam. This was a fascinating place for us to meet across the ocean. Unfortunately, they were food poisoned in their stay at Amsterdam. They claimed that the water was too dirty.
Here you go: the famous I amsterdam icon.
At night, we went to check out the Red Light District. On our paid tour, it was quite fascinating to see how the industry works. The government imposes strict regulation and inspection on the industry to ensure the industry workers are up to certain health standards. In particular, each worker is required to have a health insurance policy and a doctor to constantly monitor their health. Also, since it is a regulated industry, the government is particularly interested in the tax revenue. Although it is a cash business, the government can estimate the amount of revenue that each worker can generate, and imposes tax accordingly. To be an industry worker, it is actually quite easy. All they need to do is register with the city.
Since this industry is heavily regulated, workers are not allowed to come out of their building. Therefore, in order to attract customers, all the windows are completely transparent. Negotiations are allowed to take place but the workers are not allowed to step out. Due to the nature of the industry, pictures are not allowed to be taken (sorry, I didn't take any pictures). The major expense that these workers have is the rent paid for a window.
I must say I learned a lot about this industry after touring the famous Red Light District.
Shari left! So sad that she had to leave early, back to Waterloo for work.
Anyway, we shall continue our journey.
We didn't really do much, but we explored the other markets in Amsterdam.
We went to the Albert Cuyp Market and we tried Amsterdam's local cuisine - the Raw Herring. It is basically raw fish covered with onion. To me, it is quite similar to ceveche.
However, here is the real beauty of Dutch food: Stroopwaffles. Stroopwaffles are so delicious that are basically pancake biscuits with syrup. I bought a bunch of these to bring back home as souvenirs.
This is the Heineken HQ. As you can see, the line-up was too long and we didn't end up going inside.
Next stop: Paris!