After scroung-ing enough change for a tram ride, we returned to Central Sta-tion to begin exploring the old town. The basin, canals, and streets retained a flavour of the Golden Age but have been transformed to the modern age of toursim.
The streets and canal Oudezijds Achterburgwal centering Amsterdam’s infamous red light district were quiet. Side streets leading towards the Dam (the town square) were even quieter, but a giant wooden shoe outside a souvenir shop welcomed us to the much livelier Dam.
The centre of historic Amsterdam, the location of the National Monument, the Royal Palace, the 15th century Nieuwe Kerk, Madamme Tussauds, the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, and the upscale department store De Bijenkorfnotable, as well as many public events, Dam Square is a tourist magnet as well as a local meeting place.
The Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal (New Side Front Bastion Wall street) led from the Royal Palace, south to the Spui, a square popular with book lovers for its many bookshops and weekly Friday book fair. Noted for its bookstores, Sheila had hoped to find English translations of Dutch literature but found only English language books.