A Lovely Weekend in Amsterdam

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Even if the weather was cool, rainy, sleet and windy, walking around the city of Amsterdam was fun.

A short 45 minute flight from London, we left late Friday afternoon and we were able to still make our 8 pm dinner reservation at Blauw. Amsterdam has a big Indonesian population and therefore, some pretty good Indonesian restaurants. Of course, since one of our motto is “We’re Coopers, We like to EAT!”, Peter and I had to go and taste this lovely cuisine full of spices and flavors that are simply out of this world. Turns out,by picking Blauw I picked the #1 Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam. Yeah me!

Saturday morning we took it easy. We had an “Eating Amsterdam tour” at 11 am. After waking up on the late side, (8:30 am is late for us), we slowly walked through the streets of Amsterdam and watched people along the way. The city was slowly coming to life and families were out running errands. Stop at butcher’s, bakery, deli, fish monger etc… We saw several dads on their bikes with boxes in front and several kids either in the box and sitting on the back. Their way of life with regards to cycling is really different. I know you hear about it, but you don’t really know what its like until you actually see it.

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Family was coming out of bakery. There are two kids in the box with the shopping. The older daughter and son climbed on the back while dad started pedaling. No wonder everybody is skinny in this city.

 

We met our group for the “Eating Amsterdam tour” at the Café Papeneiland.  This café is the last in Amsterdam to still make real Dutch apple pie on site. It was excellent.

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We went down the street near Anne Frank’s house and had some amazing poffertjes with coffee. Poffertjes are basically mini pancakes. Served with real Canadian maple syrup…yumm!

We kept walking around. Learned some history about the city and the area we were walking in. We were walking in “Jordaan”. Jordaan means gardens. Many of the streets have names of flowers.

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Beautiful houseboats in all the canals.

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Flower boxes and of course, bikes and bikes everywhere.

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We stopped at one of the oldest butcher in town. This butcher is third generation and they are known for their great meat and especially their amazing sausages. We were able to sample some and they were excellent.

After the butcher we went to the deli to taste three types of Dutch cheese. They were okay but they have nothing on the French.

We walked some more and looked at houses and I had to ask, “Why the hooks everywhere?” Every single building/house, has a hook on the very top. This is because the staircases in the homes are very narrow and it’s impossible to bring furniture through the door. They have to use the hooks to bring furniture through the windows.

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Of course, if you are walking around and you are wondering “What are these green things?” They are urinals for the menfolk.

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Nice little park and see the green urinal on the left hand side? Guys are so lucky.

So we kept on walking and stopping for more food. We had a small Surinam chicken sandwich that was excellent (my favorite during the tour). We stopped at a pastry shop and tasted a small local pastry. Then it was off to the fish monger for some herring and fried fish. I passed on the herring, I was digesting the sweet stuff. And we finished the day with beer and gravy balls at a pub. Lovely morning – early afternoon. Peter and I just walked back to our hotel and chilled before our dinner reservation.

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Walking around the many canals. Peter is the best navigator.

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The city officially has 900,000 residents. There are 880,000 registered bicycles and only 180 were reported stolen last year.

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On the way back to our hotel we walked through the red light district. We saw some old pros, some younger ones, some tiny ones, some large ones…every shape and size available. Here the windows are empty. The pros are on break till the evening.

After some relaxing at the hotel we walked to our canal cruise dinner. This was a 4 course dinner while cruising the many canals of the city. It was absolutely lovely. The food was surprisingly good and the service was great. We got to see some parts of the city from the water. Our captain was excellent. He did some very good navigating in very tight canals. Great way to see the city and sometimes the houseboats residents…..

Sunday morning we headed to the Rijks Museum. We were told to be there early since sometimes there are some long lines. We arrived right at the opening and went straight to the Vermeers and Rembrandts. After spending almost 3 hours in the building, we came out to flurries and sleet. WTF!!!! This weather sucks. Can’t walk in this stuff.

After a quick lunch at a local joint we went walking in the sleet. Walked around, watched people, did a little shopping and eventually, I had enough of the wet stuff. My feet were wet (should have brought my wellis), I was cold and just wanted to get warm.  We got dry and warm just in time for our Valentines Day dinner at Bridges, a one Michelin star restaurant. Lovely meal and good wine. It was a great way to end this lovely getaway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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