Posted by: thedirtybaker | August 15, 2011

Adventures in Amsterdam

The Yellow Bikes - there are several big bike rental companies in Amsterdam.

For those who are hoping for stories of getting high at a “coffee shop” and hanging out in the red light district: sorry, I didn’t do either of those.  I rode a bright yellow bike through the red light district, and walked through a bit of it (it’s very close to the train station), but that wasn’t my goal for the day.  And weed doesn’t appeal to me.

Amsterdam is known as a cycling city, and I planned to do a bike tour in the morning, and then go to the Rijksmuseum in the afternoon.  This plan didn’t really work out.  I got lost and didn’t get to the bike rental place in time for the tour.  So I rented a bike to go to the Rijksmuseum and signed up for the afternoon bike tour.  Somehow, I also managed to get completely, utterly, thoroughly lost on the way back to the bike rental place.  I tried to catch the bike tour partway in, but that didn’t work either, so I ended up riding a bike around on my own, doing part of the bike tour solo.   I didn’t learn about the city’s history as I was hoping to from the tour, but I did enjoy checking out some fantastic architectural details.

So here’s what I got from the city.  Amsterdam has:

Canals!  (You knew that, right?)  They’re pretty awesome.  It lies on the Amstel River.  Apparently, that’s what the beer and the city are both named after.

A picturesque narrow canal

Another one (less narrow)

The Amstel River

The Amstel River

Pretty bridge and the bikes parked near it.

It has much nicer drinking fountains than we do.

Not as fancy as the one I took a picture of in Paris, but the setting, in a big park, is much nicer than the parisian street.

Beautiful buildings!

I think it's a concert hall.

The Rijksmuseum. Much of it is closed for renovations, so I only got to see highlights. The doll houses and the Vermeers were amazing!

A closer view of the Rijksmuseum

A church

I don't remember what the building was built as, but the "On the way" restaurant has a fantastic locaiton. It was a good landmark when I got lost looking to return the bike on time.

Buildings with beautiful architectural details.  LOTS of these.

OK, this might belong in the category above...

Fancy windows on some of the townhouses.

Filled-in arches and a sign that Rembrandt lived here.

Townhouse decoration

Statues

Statue of Benedikt (Baruch) de Spinoza

Unusual graffiti

Graffiti as social commentary - in English, for some reason

Again, graffiti in English, but this one sounds a lot more positive. It has the same signature as the one above it.

Funny signs.

This was pointing to an alley. At first I thought the sign was indicating where men should pee if there was no bathroom around.

Very different sort of interesting sign for DeBoer

Oh, and just what I want after several weeks in Israel:

Felafel and shwarma! (No, thanks.)

I did see some absolutely gorgeous cakes!!!

Wow!!! The dirty baker was VERY impressed!

And when I got a miniature apple crumb pie I found that the dutch actually use enough cinnamon in their apple pie, which is rare in this country!

I also had two other days that I spent in Tricht.  I got some work done, but not nearly as much as I’d planned to, as I was also hanging out with the Keller clan (and with a couple of visits to see K in the hospital.)  I read a Frog and Toad book to V, watched a few episodes of Stargate with P, drank a little beer with C and his father, ate foods smothered in cream sauce, tried waveboarding with P, read Roald Dahl stories to L and P, and was introduced to BioCity, L and P’s kingdom in three trees.  (Well, queendom, I suppose.  L is the queen, P is the prime minister and one of their friends is a servant of some sort, I think.  Its setup seems to be remarkably like the Dutch government.  ;-))

Tricht, on the way back from the Geldermalsen train station.

When I asked what the Dutch food specialties are, I was recommended to go with the Indonesian food.  Dutch food is apparently as bad as British food, on average.  The exceptions are cheese, fantastic fruit from the local farms, and pancakes.  Yes, the Dutch are famous for pancakes (Pankoekes?) and their local version of crepes.  They are more substantial than the french crepes, but also very delicious!  We went to a local place for them one night.

The filling of a cherry crumble

And I knew that K was feeling better (though still in the hospital), when she asked me, via facebook, what I was going to be baking on my last day in town.  I responded, “I’m baking?  I don’t know?  What should I bake?” and was told that, yes, I was baking, and she wanted a cherry crumble.  This is classic K.  She once called me up (after being sick for 7 months of pregnancy) and said “I finally feel better!  I was able to eat a whole pint of ben and jerry’s and I still felt good.  You and another friend who cooks are coming over for dinner on Friday. She’s bringing eggplant parmigiana and you’re bringing pineapple upside down cake.”  And yes, that worked.  This worked, too – I made a cherry crumble, with assistance through about half of the process from P – he likes the cherry pitter.

P and the cherry pitter

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