Almost Adieu

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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Wow, so I'm finally caught up to the present; this entry will cover my last week or so in Amsterdam, from May 5th - today. Tomorrow I'm flying out to meet Joann and Lizzie in Florence -- I'm super excited to see them and hear news from home, but know my slow and lazy days are at an end. We have an ambitious itinerary of 3 Italian destinations (Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome) in 6 days, then 3 Greek destinations (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos) in the following 7. After that, it's go-go-go in Asia until I reach Hawaii in August. I've been doing some planning for Korea and China, which I'd put off completely until now. I didn't realize how close they were! I still have a lot to do in that arena, and am hoping to incorporate meetings with old friends while I'm there.

By the way, I don't think I've written how nice RuiRui and Carl's place has been. They let me and Moth stay in what essentially is our own apartment downstairs from their main apartment. It has two rooms, its own bathroom, a refrigerator, small kitchen, and some nice couches for lounging around. They're planning to add a television and fix a few things, then rent it to tourists looking for a central place to stay in Amsterdam.

After we returned from Brussels, Manali stayed for 5 more days before heading back to California. During those days, we did very very very little. The weather turned about halfway through, going from sunshine-filled days to torrential downpours, so we had good incentive to stay indoors. One day we spent the entire morning and afternoon on a failed attempt to visit the royal palace (closed "due to circumstances", according to the sign on the door) and writing reviews for interesting beers we'd purchased from Bierkoenig, a shop that boasts an amazing collection of over 950 beers from around the world. We wrote comments for each one, then gave them a number rating. The lambics fared the worst, as they were way way too sour for our taste (apparently the US lambics have all been sweetened with a ton of sugar), and a few monk-brewed beers performed the best.

A couple things we did do are visit a market in the Pijp area of the city, eat fresh stroopwafels (these deliciously chewy wafer-thin waffle cookies with caramel-like stuff in the middle that you find everywhere here), and attend a show at the famous and hugely touristy Casa Rosso. I wouldn't recommend going if you're offended by such things, but the show they put on is pure comedy rather than anything remotely erotic. There was a batman scene, as well as one involving a man in a gorilla suit. Really strange, and actually quite expensive, but hilarious - especially since the performers seemed SO bored.

On a separate note, I forgot to mention I also ate raw herring with onions and pickles when I first got to Amsterdam, which is a traditional Dutch delicacy. It wasn't bad, but nothing I'd purposely seek out again. Another thing the Netherlands is known for is great Indonesian food, in the way that former colonial powers always seem to be known for the great foods (or creating circumstances in which people who make these great foods will move to their countries) of their one-time colonies. My point is, the night before Manali left we ate at a truly delicious Indonesian restaurant called Sama Sebo, where we ordered the Rijsttafel - a vast assortment of small plates complete with meat, vegetables, soup, curries, rice, and dessert. Mmmmmm.

After Moth left, I got my butt in gear and became a bit more productive. I took a canal cruise and ventured out of the city to a place called Zaanse Schans, a small reconstructed village meant to resemble Dutch life in the 17th century. There I walked around, took pictures of windmills, and bought some yummy cheeses and mustard produced with power from the actual windmills in which I'd bought them. Another fun thing they do is demonstrate how to make wooden clogs. Since it was so rainy, there were a lot less people than I imagine would usually be there. I think the only others were tour groups for whom it was an already-scheduled stop. I saw the buses in the parking lot, and there were a remarkable number of elderly people strolling around. Honestly, the whole town is one big shop, but I really had a very nice time.

Okay I've taken enough time on RR's computer and should go downstairs to pack. Hope you enjoy the pictures and happy belated mother's day to all mothers reading this! Bye!

ADDENDUM: Just got back from my last dinner in Amsterdam. RuiRui and I ate at a nearby tapas shop, sharing a table with two funny and interesting Dutch men. It was way too cold to sit outside, and their table had the last remaining seats inside. The two had met while doing translations of short stories and travel guides from English and German to Dutch. One still works as a translator, and the other now writes finance articles "for money" and poetry for himself. We talked about everything from Italians to earthquakes to standard working hours, and I'm writing this note so I remember to look up a poet called Mark Strand when I return. Apparently he's one of the writer guy's favorites. Oh, and before I forget, I also have to look up an album called You Must Believe in Spring by Bill Evans - this on advice from the Parisians. K and I'm off.

etran says:
I just figured out that your picture links are different for each day! Hahaha....I am slow!
Posted on: Jun 11, 2007
mommyshirley says:
duckies! wow, it's like you're in another country! ;) *hugs* dodge
Posted on: May 23, 2007
goodfarmerchen says:
Thankee miss chung - All especially pour vous : ) . . . my brother commented on the hair too! hehee
Posted on: May 19, 2007
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