Day three in Amsterdam was a very informative one! We let ourselves sleep in a little, then had breakfast at this cute little cafe. Our plan after that was to go to the Van Gogh Museum, but we had to wait in line for over an hour before. We waited, and it was probably worth it just to say we've seen some of his more famous pieces. After the museum, we took the train out to Sloten, a little town that sits on the very edge of Amsterdam. There, we got to tour a working windmill! This was probably my favorite part of Amsterdam, because we learned basically why Amsterdam is the way that it is.
Quick story: when our plane landed in Amsterdam, Brandon looked at his phone, and it said we were sitting below sea level. We were really confused, but we figured the phone probably was too.
Back at the windmill, we learned that Amsterdam really does sit below sea level! In fact, many parts of it, including the airport, used to be lakes. They built windmills to pump the water out of the lake so they could use the land. The canals were built to gradually transfer water from the city back out to the sea. From where we stood on the windmill, we could see that the canal itself below us (not its water level) was lower than the canal across the bridge. So each of the canals pump water out and up and up and up until it makes its way back to the sea. Pretty cool, huh? The lady at the windmill mentioned multiple times that the windmills are there to "keep their feet dry." If you ever find yourself in the Netherlands, I highly recommend touring a working windmill!
We stopped for a snack on our way back to the city, and I had a Dutch croquette! It was basically just a deep fried roll of chicken in breadcrumbs, but it was really good. That afternoon, we went to the Tulip Museum, and learned that tulips aren't actually native to Amsterdam. They originated in Turkey, and were later brought to Holland. It was a full day of learning! After the tulip museum, we took a canal cruise! It was neat to see Amsterdam from a different perspective, but I far prefer to look at Amsterdam alongside the canals, not in them. But we did learn that a lot of people have houseboats, and that they live in the canals, which I thought was interesting. We also saw a giant parking garage for bikes. It was three levels, and just full of bikes. So full that we couldn't even tell what the structure was until we were right next to it; it was just a giant glimmering...thing haha.
My favorite part of that day was touring the windmill, because we just learned so much about the history of Amsterdam. Even though it's kind of weird that they chose to build a city in a place full of water, the windmills and canals sure make it beautiful!