Amsterdam is a lot like Burning Man if everyone decided to put their clothes on. Everyone rides around on bikes or funny little “cars”, the smell of weed and booze is in the air, and there’s a general collective bent towards revelry and good will. And it’s expensive and mostly white. But you can’t have everything I guess.
I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times before. It was the first international trip I took on my own. And it will always have a special place in my heart. The food, the canals, the general will to party. I love the practical, direct, but still goofy Dutch culture. The town is pure magic to me. So when my daughter asked if we could meet up there instead of us coming back to the States, I was more than happy to oblige.
I’ve already written a blog talking about Dutch food, and another blog talking about discovering the canal rings and centrum. So I thought this would be a chance to take a break from documenting and just enjoy the city. But as it turns out there’s still lots to see and do and I’ve amassed lots of new content I can share, so why the hell not. Third Amsterdam blog!
I also had the pleasure to introduce everyone to Dutch food so I got to revisit some classic spots and snacks.
Gratuitous photos of a beautiful city.
Herring sums up in many ways what I like about Dutch cuisine. It’s simple, not too fussy, practical, and it tastes wonderful. They have a good thing and they don’t fuck it up. I love herring. I love herring stands. I love the little oblong paper plates. The flag toothpicks. I love the pseudo-pornographic posters of hot dutch women holding herrings up to their mouths. It took a little while to get everyone to try it but I think the consensus was that it was tasty once you get past the presentation. I also introduced everyone to smoked eel which I was surprised that everyone liked, maybe more than the herring. I could eat this stuff every day.
I’ve been here twice already but I thought it was a great place to introduce people to the broadest array of traditional dishes. Plus I like the atmosphere. It’s got a real cozy living room vibe, shiny wood, candles, but not too upscale. I feel comfortable there. And they don’t mess with the recipes much. In the summer they’re serving 300+ but it’s fairly empty in the winter.
Various other food
I’m not going to bore you with all the stuff we ate but I did manage a visit to van Kerkwijk and Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs and enjoyed some traditional fare at a few new places. Just a quick list of highlights.
Katy found this traditional Dutch village outside of town so we took a train out to see the still-functioning windmills. It was a bit colder and greyer than Katy had planned but I had no expectations so I thought it was cool. It was a bit theme-parkey for our tastes and even on a miserable off-season day there were loads of people. We had a good meal in town before heading back.
I always like to take pics of the local graffiti. I think it says a lot about a town. Amsterdam has some great pieces here and there but honestly I thought the work in the trainyards, especially near Dusseldorf, were more spectacular.
We happened upon this awesome gadget in our neighborhood. It’s a full merry-go-round calliope that’s being powered by a motor hooked to a generator and mounted on a trailer the size of the machine. It parks on street corners and two guys walk around collecting donations. The best part is that he’s mounted an engine on the front tire of the trailer so that he can just drive it around from corner to corner. Brilliant! That is if you can get your hands on a functioning calliope.
Happy to finally see my kiddo
I feel very blessed to spend some quality time with my awesome daughter. I’ve missed her horribly over the past 4 months. It’s so easy to take special moments for granted. I really enjoyed sharing such an awesome place with her. I always love our adventures.