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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Honeymoon Interlude: Amsterdam

Wednesday, May 9 James and I boarded the train in Paris. The Mobilism conference was on in Amsterdam and we were going. Technically James was going and I was to amuse myself. I did have a great set of recommendations from friends so I was nonplussed about it.

First, train travel in the EU is spectacular. We travelled 300 km per hour and zipped along the French countryside, fired our way through Belgium and bingo-bango arrived in Amsterdam in just over 3 hours. No borders, no “security theatre” as James likes to say, and no drama.

The Dutch enjoyed our company from May 9-12 then we flew off to Nice, France.

Us in Amsterdam

So about that Amsterdam visit.

May 9: We walked around Amsterdam that afternoon and evening. Amsterdam’s downtown streets radiate out in a stoke with the cross streets alternating with canals. It’s really quite a lovely city.

Amsterdam


Amsterdam

I was interested in going to Amsterdam but it wasn’t on my original list of honeymoon plans so I’m glad it was blissful.

The weather was a bit better than Paris, which had been grey and then cold and rainy. At least Amsterdam’s air was refreshing and everything was green and blue as opposed to beige in Paris. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Paris. But Amsterdam felt wonderful.

One of my wishes was to have great Indonesian food in Amsterdam. I’d been to Indonesia and enjoyed Dutch chocolate sprinkles on my food so I figured that Amsterdam would have brought back the best of Indonesia. Indeed they did!

We had a delicious dinner at Kantjil & de Tijger. Our choice was a rijsttafel, which is a number of dishes to share. Our palates enjoyed 13 dishes.

Most delicious Indonesian in Amsterdam @ Kantjil & Tijger

Rijsttafel Matjan:
Nasi Koening, Saté Ajam, Saté Oedang, Daging Roedjak, Ajam Goreng Pazri Nanas, Ikan Boemboe Bali, Sambal Goreng Boontjes, Sambal Goreng Laboe Siam, Selada Nanas, Sambal Goreng Kentang, Sambal Goreng Telor, Seroendeng en Kroepoek.


May 10 & 11

I was feeling much better after my Parisienne broth and dry bread diet but still not 100%. Thankfully our apartment in Amsterdam made it worth it to stay indoors and relax. We had an upstairs flat in one of the canal houses on Keizersgracht (#684). The front-half of the entire floor.

Amsterdam


Canal House on Keizersgracht

This meant a beautiful view out the front of the canal from our sitting room.


The Dutch, so stylish

A nice table for breakfast.


Amsterdam Canal House on Keizersgracht

A day bed. A full-size bedroom with a small washer/dryer tucked away in a closet.


The Dutch, so stylish

A super cute kitchen.  And a small bathroom off the back of the kitchen.

Totally lovely. And Maud, our landlady, brought me fresh bread and breadfast foods. I quite happily read my book and lazed away my afternoons.

Amsterdam

There is a ton of style in Amsterdam and great touches with the clothes and interior design. We even noticed a ton of graphic designers and ad/marketing agencies. Perhaps Boxcar Marketing needs a European office?


During the adventurous parts of my days, I went to the Anne Frank house. I think many people forget that Anne was from Amsterdam. It was sad to see the tiny attic rooms and to think about those families hiding there and being afraid. It choked me up to see Anne’s walls still with some of her movie star postcards plastered to the wall. Most affecting were the pencil marks charting Anne and her sister’s heights. Anne was my height. Taller than I’d imagined, especially because she was so young.

At the end of the tour is a video series. One is of a neighbourhood girl who knew Anne and saw her in the concentration camp when Anne believed she’d lost everyone. She didn’t know that her father was still alive. The neighbour believed that if Anne had known then perhaps she would have fought to continue. The other was Otto Frank talking about Anne and how close they were, yet he never suspected she had these thoughts that she was recording in her diary. He knew she had a diary because she made him promise not to look at it and to lock it up in his safe every night. One of his striking comments was that they got along well and reading the diary made him feel like this was not the Anne he knew. He ended with a caution to parents that you never really know your children, regardless of how close you feel to them. I wonder if the discrepancy between the Anne he knew and the Anne in the diary made it easier for him to edit and publish the book.

After my tragic exploration of Anne’s quarters I sought out the sunshine of Vodelpark. I did think of renting a bicycle because they are everywhere in Amsterdam, but walking meant I could look more closely at things and enjoy my time ambling around vs. watching for traffic.

Vodelpark


Vondelpark


On our last night, James was finally free from the conference and we walked around the streets again and settled in at Cafe George for a delicious dinner.

Cafe George


I am Amsterdam

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