Last Day of 2011

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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After a refreshing 13.5 hours of sleep - interrupted twice by the false 8:30 am wake up call that came at 6:30 am followed by the real 8:30 am wake up call, neither of which worked - we embarked on our final day of 2011.  What a year!  Engagement, wedding planning, marriage, trips, visitors and new jobs, 2011 is a year we'll never forget.  What better way to start the day than with a cup of Joe at Coffee Company, a few blocks from the Raddy Blue?  Of course, we had to settle for a chocolate chip muffin because it was 1 pm and let's face it the croissants were gone hours ago, but it did the trick before setting off to the Rijksmuseum (Dutch for Rembrant museum, ok, not really). 

Much of the museum was under rennovation with only the smaller Dutch section open for visitors; however, both Sanjeev and I found the art stimulating and educational.

...I wish we lived in a city with more museums.....wait a tick...next stop the Van Gogh museum.  But not before another meat-filled treat!  This time, I had a ham and cheese sandwich with onions and Sanjeev had a hot dog.  Although they sound American, the bread and preparation had a uniquely Dutch flavor.  Another score on food!  Van Gogh's art was impressive, particularly as we were able to trace his evolution as a painter from Holland to Paris before his controversial death.  Check, check....time to start our night of NYE fun!

We hurried home to freshen up (read: Erin throws on her swanky sequin number that Sanjeev got her for Christmas while Sanjeev maps out our night with the trusty LP) and started the evening with a walk to Coffeeshop Abraxas (http://www.

abraxas.tv/).  After securing very low seats on stools overlooking the windy staircase, we ordered an Orangina for me (bien sur!) and a Coke for Sanjeev.  Which is why we came, of course!  Being told smokes had to be purchased downstairs and not from the waitress, Sanjeev meandered back down the windy staircase to make the necessary inquiries.  He returned with a little plastic baggie with our cigarette called Haze.  We enjoyed the next hour or more exchanging drags and sips of hot chocolate.  The speakers played a relaxed mix between reggae and jazz and our night had officially begun.

Next, we tried to go to Supperclub across the street (sans reservation, tisk tisk) and were turned away due to a private party.  We explored the neighboring streets and found a promising restaurant - Humphreys - only to learn the kitchen had just closed.

  Apparently on NYE many of the restaurants in Amsterdam close by 6 or 7 pm, but we were not deterred.  We settled into a cozy Argentinian steakhouse named La Boca where we inhaled our steak frites and salade and I got lost in the European music videos being played in the background.  Sanjeev was caught in btw waiters' conversations which proved comical at the time, although now I'm having trouble remembering why.

After dinner, we wandered through Dam Square, where the crowd was already accumulating and a light firework display had commenced.  But it was only 10:30 or so, and we were in the mood for dessert.  We stumbled into a hidden restaurant, largely to take cover from soaring fireworks, and were delighted to share champagne and a fancy dessert at the bar: a baked creme-filled pear, chocolate mousse tartlette and cadamom-vanilla ice cream served over a dash of caramel.

  Our last morsels of 2011 were tasty indeed.   

With only 15 minutes before midnight, we braved our way back to Dam Square where we witnessed bottle rockets, black cats and Roman candles being set off throughout the crowd.  No count-down to midnight, no finish or end to the extremely sporadic and spontaneous burst of fireworks.  We did, however, manage to see a firework set a girl's hair on fire.  Definitely not in America, folks.

For the second time over three years, Sanjeev and I missed actual midnight due to the distractions of the fireworks.  To be sure, we were certainly in the right place - Dam Square - at the right time - approx. 11:50-12:15 but with the wild and unorthodox firework display we didn't quite pin down when the clock struck 12.

After the "show" wound down, as it didn't stop completely until maybe 3 or 4 am (not to mention residual fireworks even on January 1 and 2!), we made our way to the nearby KFC so I could use the ladies' room.  Along with about a quarter of the other women in Dam Square to be sure.  Sanjeev patiently waited while I stood in the Q for what felt like hours...

BUT we didn't let this minor setback spoil our first moments of 2012 - no sir!  We continued on our exploration of Amsterdam - this time in pursuit of a dance club or lounge.  However, I managed to get us lost and after a few stolls down the same street, we gave up our pursuit and headed home.  We did manage to find locate the spot but with a No Turists sign prominately displayed, which in my altered state seemed legit and downright scary.

  We tiptoed by unnoticed.

On our way back to our neighborhood, we stopped in another coffee shop to buy some smokes and enjoyed a puff or two on our long walk home.  Did I mention I was in patent leather heels?  At least I had a hood on my coat, however, because the rain really started to come down.  Poor Sanjeev was nearly drenched as we made our way back to the Raddy Blu.  The rain did not deter the fire work setter-offers (what would you call those people?) or either of us from eating yet another meal.  I got NY pizza and Sanjeev got a falafel.  NYers through and through.

After our second meal and third stop for eats of the evening, we decided to call it a night.  We actually ran out of Euro which informed our decision.

  I felt like an irresponsible teenager turning out my pockets and finding nothing but lint.  Yes, 2012 was off to a great start.

But just because our cash ran out did not mean our night was over.  We got comfortable in our room and proceeded to eat M&Ms while watching European TV....including a show by Lady Gaga that was truly mezmerizing.  We didn't quite make it to midnight in the US, but were close, with a 4 am bedtime.  What a fun night!

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photo by: pearcetoyou