Into Amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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Along the Amstel

The ride from Rotterdam into Amsterdam was only about an hour-long on the express IC Train. The ticket was included in my 77 Pound Rail and Sail fare from London. I found an ATM machine at Amsterdam Centraal and got some Euros. On my last visit here Guilders were still in circulation. I rode the Metro to the fifth stop then strolled the nearby Amstel Canal - the river that flows into Ij Bay from the south. The city of Amsterdam and its network of semi-circular canals were built at the river's mouth during the early 1600's. I was hoping to run into Helmut, an Austrian friend living somewhere in the area. He worked at one of the small boatyards during the summer months then wintered in Southeast Asia.

Nice brew pub

 

Cafes in the area seemed to open rather late. It was after 10:00 when I found a place for a sidewalk coffee. The owner of the Amstelstroom sat in a chair out front sipping a cappuccino. Not really opened yet, he was happy to  bring another cup and chair. We chatted while an employee moved chairs, benches, and tables into the morning sidewalk sun. I had Helmut's number but figuring out how to use a public payphone was rather complicated since instructions were all in Dutch. I finally stopped at a sports store/gym that was open and dumped a pocketful of unfamiliar coins onto the counter. The helpful clerk made the call for me and I met Helmut back at the Amstel Station.

 

From a faded blue door on a three hundred year old building, steep and narrow stairs led to his second floor apartment.

Kitchen table
Its paint-chipped wood floors creaked but sunshine filled the place through cracked windows. Panels of white particle board divided the flat into two rooms. Furnishings were modest but comfortable: couch, reclining upholstered chair, kitchen table and chairs, a few shelves, and Helmut's small stereo system. He traveled light too. A small bathroom of brick had been added to a back corner of the main room and an undersized sink, gas stove, and fridge were all located near that. One of the windows led to a sloped rooftop overlooking the tree-filled back yard. The best seat in the house was actually on the house. A plastic chair reclined out there with its back legs cut short. The place definitely had character but was slated for demolition in the coming months. The third floor was already vacant.

 

As we prepared to head out to one of the local bars, brothers Albert and Robert arrived.

Art in the park
They were the owners of the flat and informed Helmut that he would have to move out tomorrow. Helmut already knew of the plan. The brothers had a newly refurbished apartment, just across the Amstel Canal, ready to move into.

 

We finally set out for an afternoon beer. It was a twenty minute walk through a primarily Turkish part of town then through Oosterpark. The park was fresh and green and had ponds, forest, modern artwork, winding walkways, and grassy open spaces. We finally reached the Brouwerij't Ij, a popular brew pub near the junction of two canals. Besides excellent beer, its attraction was its shaded outdoor tables beneath a turning windmill. We sampled four of its beers ranging from 5 to 8% in alcohol content  but passed on the 9% brew. All was good.

 

rotorhead85 says:
Yeah if it stayed, I'd have too.
Posted on: Jan 14, 2010
bobdelongchamp says:
lot of history in that 300 yr old building, a shame to see it go
Posted on: Oct 17, 2009
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Along the Amstel
Along the Amstel
Nice brew pub
Nice brew pub
Kitchen table
Kitchen table
Art in the park
Art in the park
The IC Train out of Rotterdam
The IC Train out of Rotterdam
The chair
The chair
The Brouwerijt Ij
The Brouwerij't Ij
Windmill at the Brouwerijt Ij
Windmill at the Brouwerij't Ij
Upward view from the roof
Upward view from the roof
Amsterdam
photo by: pearcetoyou