Thursday, October 26, 2006

Amsterdam II

Since the airline lost our bags and couldn't seem to find them, they "gave" us each $100 to spend for clothing. So, unfortunately, the first real expedition in Amsterdam was to the local department store. It was HUGE! Thank goodness they were having a sale, because between the exchange rate and just down-right expensive, we couldn't have bought a pair of underwear (exaggeration, of course); but you get my drift. De Bijenkorf was the big one and in a wonderful old square with lots of little cafes to people watch. I bought a sweater and a t shirt (to sleep in). Made the mistake to send the hub and kid wondering around shopping alone. They came back with Ralph Lauren shirts and pants and Calvin Klein underwear! Lord have mercy. I just wanted to get the necessities (something warm) and get out of there and look at the real Amsterdam! I made a smart purchase, because I am now wearing the sweater here at home! Yea! It was probably $200 American, which just about killed me. I'm not a clothes horse; I would much rather spend money on household stuff--go figure! By the time we finished, it was time for a beer, of course. I think it was either Friday or Saturday but the square was full! Wow. I have never seen so many bicycles in my life. At first, I thought it was fantastic. After a day, I was overwhelmed by them. They would almost run you over every step you made! But hey, so much better than an SUV, wouldn't you say? I'll take the hassle, thank you very much. We also ordered a little snack, an arrangement of kroketten (croquettes) filled with miscellaneous things. The little sauce that came with it was whoo-hooo spicey, and I wasn't expecting that! They were delish, as was the beer! We sat back and took in all the people. I sure wish the States would adopt the squares and cafe lifestyle. It is just so civilized sitting back and just relaxing for a bit and watching somebody else's life as they pass you by. I don't think we do enough of that here. Always in a hurry to get somewhere and do something. Bah humbug.

Some of the hub's colleagues met us at the cafe; so the kid and I wondered off for a bit. I get quite bored with textile talk and cotton commodities; and I know the kid was ready to explore more. Again, the architecture was amazing. I could just walk around with my eyes up to the buildings all day long. So lovely. A lot of my pics came out kinda dark, sorry. I don't know why. We found this wonderful Russian shop that I pried myself away from. I knew after hitting the department store, everything here was going to be expensive. So, the blinders were put on, and we just walked, trying as best we could to avoid the bikers. Good job Rose! hehe. I also love the train systems in most European cities. It's so easy to just jump on and get anywhere. I think it's a rough existence between the bikes and the trams. The bikes are always cutting the trains off and taking their life in their hands when they do. We were told, one biker didn't make it just a week before in this square. Ew. Glad we missed that.

I loved this random poster. I can't help but wonder what the story is behind it. Here's some pics of the old train station. It was a real gem (as they say in New York). Wow. The pics of the inside didn't' come out; but the ceiling was magnificent! Entire rooms were done in mosaic tiles with golds and reds. Somewhere along the way, we saw this statue of Rembrandt. We never did get to see any of his work or his neighborhood,

only had a day and a half to fit everything in. Next time. I'll look forward to it next trip there.

Here's one of the infamous "coffee" shops. Coffee my eye! hehe. This is where you're able to go and purchase and smoke pot. I wanted to go into one but never got the guts enough to do so. Plus with the kid, just wasn't appropriate. (Oh, and I don't smoke it, was just curious! Really!) We also didn't hit the red light district. Although, a lot of quite raunchy items are for sale in all the "souvenir" shops. That along with pot seeds! You can buy those just about anywhere!

Take a look at the flowers and bulbs though. Thousands upon thousands of bulbs. I never did purchase any. They had some sets (none that could be transported back to the states though) of wooden shoes that you plant bulbs in to force indoors. What a great idea. Oh well, next time!
Take a look at the amarylis bulbs! Not too bad of a price! I cant' believe it's almost time to start forcing them for Christmas blooms! Geesh.

I'm going to end this day with this old Goth movie theatre. Isn't it fab!

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our last day with Van Gogh and Anne Frank.


Cindy said...

You're so lucky to have gotten to travel there. I love how you place your photos on your blog. Could you please email me??? I have a quick blogger photo question for you. Thanks!

PEA said...

I'm so enjoying this...feels like we were right there with you!! Hmmm don't know if I'd have had the nerve either to go into that so called coffee house!! LOL Imagine being able to buy pot like that! My brothers would be in heaven!! hehe The architecture over there is fabulous from what I can see in the pictures...I have a penpal in The Netherlands and she was telling me about all the bikes!! She rides her bike everywhere too! I'm looking forward to what you thought of the Anne Frank tour. Hugs xox

FarmgirlCyn said...

Beautiful photos and fun memories! I think Americans have a "mall" mentality, and it's kind of hard to sit outside a Victorias Secret or a Macy's and have a latte and people watch!

Sue said...

Great tour! Things seem much more liberal there than here. I like the idea of the sidewalk cafes too!

MarkMcL said...

I used to think the sidewalk cafe was made possible by the weather. That is why you see it so much of it in France and Italy. Plus in Greece and Italy there is the tradition of the evening promenade (It. "passeggiata"). But what make the real difference is the fact that there *is* a town square. On my trips to the States most cites did not have a obvious walkable centre, you had to drive everywhere even to get from one shop to the next. I used to stay in the Short Hills Hilton, NJ with a massive mall opposite. But I wouldn't risk walking across six lane of traffic to get there. Intead I used to stay in a _very_ basic Best Western in Morristown because I could walk into town where there was a central square and several slow food restaurants. Worth the trade.

Beth said...

What amazing pictures you took Ms.Rosy!! I feel like I am touring it with you. And thats just amazing about the pot seeds and coffee shops that you could smoke it in. No wonder the poor bicyclist didn't make it a week,lol. Oh I would die for all those bulbs, and I collect wooden shoes. What a fab time you had. I can't wait to see your day with my fave artist Van Gogh, and with dear Anne. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful trip you took.

cityfarmer said...

I wanna take a trip like this!!!

Peggy said...

thank you for taking us along on this wonderful trip! But next time can we all go in person/ LOL

Daisy Lupin said...

Have thoroughly enjoyed your postings about Amsterdam, they were really interestings. What a strange bed!

paris parfait said...

Thanks for these yummy posts about Amsterdam. It's such a delightful city, as your posts describe so beautifully. I'm glad you had a wonderful time (did they find your luggage)?



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