I’ve been here a month, and I’m starting to feel like a resident of Amsterdam! I’m able to go several places, including places in the canal district, without a map; I finally realized I don’t have to try to speak Dutch when in public; and I’ve baked my first quick bread in my kitchen!
Today marks the longest time I’ve ever been in Europe. I feel a little bit like Samwise Gamgee in this scene:
I should also say that today marks the first day my friend, Christina, is living in Oxford, England! I’m so excited for her and to have her in the same continent as me!
I’m so glad I came to Amsterdam while it’s warm. It’s a daily joy riding my bike around town, running errands, getting groceries, and just meandering for the sake of meandering.
Amsterdam is very small – you can spend a leisure afternoon riding your bike through the entire city, popping into shops, grabbing lunch and stopping for a photo-op at an Iamsterdam sign. I don’t mean to say you can do everything, but you can cover a lot of ground.
But the more you do, the more you see there is to do!
1) Flea Markets!
Last weekend I went to the Noordermarkt, which is a Saturday flea market in the fashionable Jordaan district. There was so much there! The best flea market I’ve ever been to was Pike Place in Seattle, Washington, but this was was very nice, too. There were vendors for fish, meat, bread, olives, dried fruit, nuts, even British pies! There were vendors for clothing, leather, purses, shoes, tights. I bought tights, dried fruit (dried bananas, but not the chip kind, they were chewy, and dried grapes – still on the vine!), 3 single serving British savory pies (sweet potato, veggie lentil curry, and african-something!), eggplant spread and what ended up being my lunch: honey mixed nuts and a persimmon fruit!
I parked my bike. (The one with the wooden basket.)
One of my first stops was at this heavenly selection of dried fruits. And you could just pick one up and sample it! Or at least the old lady did next to me, and when nobody stopped her (who stops an old lady?) I did the same, and they couldn’t reprimand me after not reprimanding her. 😉
I know someone who’d love these watches. 😉
I stopped in my tracks when I saw the pies! I LOVE British savory pies! It was tough picking which ones I wanted.
If you’ve never tried a persimmon before, you should – they’re light and sweet and very delicious.
Dried grapes on a vine!
On the way back I got stuck in traffic.
There are a lot of flea markets. I was at City Hall for work, and I walked outside to this:
Can you spot the TIE fighter?
2) Bagels & Beans Cafe
Bagels & Beans‘ are everywhere, and have delicious Chai Tea Lattes and bagel sandwiches. They also have free wifi! I’m not yet sure if free wifi is common in most cafes here. I feel like I should know that by now, right?
3) Heritage House Tours
Wow, it was already 3 weekends ago, but I toured one “Heritage House” of many that were open to the public for one weekend in Amsterdam. The entire tour was in Dutch, and despite the house being nice, it wasn’t nice enough to entice me to see more without knowing their historical significance.
And on the way out of the tour, there was a boat parade, and one boat had a full band on it!
4) Public Art
And always keep your eyes open for art cropping up from nowhere.
Well, those are some of the highlights of my weekends here in Amsterdam. I’ve also gone jogging in the beautiful Vondelpark and Rembrandtpark here, both close to my apartment. Last weekend I visited a friend of mine in a southern Dutch city, Maastricht. I’ll post about that trip later!