Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Old New York?

If New York is the New Amsterdam then isn't Amsterdam the old New York? oh well, anyway after leaving Provence via Lyon and Paris we flew to Amsterdam where strangely neither Dayne or I had been before. On the flight over we were told (warned) by fellow passengers that the big match between Amsterdam and Spain was that evening so be aware if heading to the bars, and wear orange if you have it!

As soon as we stepped out of the airport we could see orange everywhere- flowers, posters, outfits. The cab drivers were all lined up and watching the pre game on a huge teletron outside the main airport driveway. One luckily offered to take us to our hotel as he said it was 45 minutes to game time and he would head home after. The ride into town was FAST and SCARY as this guy was serious about not missing a second of the game! I honestly think that if we didn't have money when he dropped us off he would have just shrugged and sped off to his tv.

We had picked a great hotel, it was small with just 8 rooms- all were quite large and off the main tourist area on a small canal called Liligracht. t'Hotel included breakfast and these super steep stairs to help you burn off the calories!

We had such a great time in the city, it is soooo beautiful! We did most of the typical things0 took a canal cruise to get a feel for the layout, went to the gorgeous Van Gogh museum, ate lots of Gouda, cruised through the red light district both day and night and visited the Rijksmueum, toured the Anne Frank House and ate amazing Indonesian food.

A couple things we did were maybe not as normal. For one we visited the Bols Museum a cocktail museum. It was really fun and at the end of it you go to a computer and pick out a cocktail, print out the recipe and take it to the bar. In the bar there is a "flair" booth where you can try your hand at flair bartending (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail). We learned that the Dutch really like flair!

The other was spending some time with our friend Klary who lives in Amsterdam. Klary does market tours for visitors and took us to one of her favorites after meeting up for coffee. The market was huge! You could literally buy anything you wanted for your house, your cooking or your wardrobe. Of course we had to try the frites, this particular stand was selling Mad American Sauce which was like McD's secret sauce.

We also tried raw herring which was really good! Dayne and I had ours just cut up with raw onions and dill pickles that were strangely sweet. Klary had hers on a bun similar to a hotdog bun.

And on our last evening we had a wonderful dinner with Klary and her husband and another couple at a Moroccan restaurant. It was a great time, lots of laughing and story telling! We both decided we really loved the city and could absolutely see ourselves getting a couple of bikes, a little canal boat and an old canal house and living there!

The rest of the shots from Amsterdam can be seen here

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