I'm back after the long radio silence. I missed my blog and the whole blogosphere a lot! I have so much I want to share with you...
I had quite a busy month travelling, moving..., but you already know that. I do love travelling! Though travelling, moving and working do not work well together, which means I haven't done much in the previous month and have so much to catch up on!
Two weeks ago P. and I went for a short trip to Amsterdam. The original aim of the trip was to visit an art exhibition of glass of P.'s sister in Tubbergen and spend the rest of the weekend in Amsterdam with P.'s parents. As it was the first time for us in Amsterdam, we decided to stay for a couple more days and explore the city. I apologies for so many pictures but I fell in love with the city and I couldn't stop taking more a more pictures. Sorting the pictures was another story.
We were extremely lucky and despite the guide info which says this time of the year the weather in Amsterdam is mostly rainy, we enjoyed a couple of beautiful sunny days.
Some unexpected changes in our accommodation resulted in spending the first night in Red Light District area. After an initial shock caused by the character of the area, lack of sleep (3 hours) and ubiquitous marijuana smoke, I started to appreciate the convenient location of the area which is within walking distance from most popular touristic attractions.
First night in Amsterdam we discovered a really nice small pub called Café De Dokter. Old fashioned pub decor, dim ambient lighting, chandeliers covered in dust, jazz music and a very friendly bartender create a fantastic atmosphere of the bar where you can sit down with a beer to relax. Studying chapter "Drinks" from our new travel guide, P. ordered kopstoot ('knock on the head') which is a shot of gin (Dutch jevener) with a beer chaser.
Taking a walk after dinner in a steakhouse we stumbled upon a great local student bar located on a narrow old alley called Gravenstraat. We originally stopped for one beer but then we started chatting with a few students and stayed until last call.
If you want to enjoy a great vibe and buzz of Amsterdam have a lunch in one of many restaurants with a seating area outside alongside the canal in the Jordaan area. I had the best salad with grilled goat cheese and roasted nuts in a bar called 't Smalle.
A Saturday trip in Tubbergen brought a new culinary experience. After a short chat with locals, following their recommendation, the whole family attacked a local fish street stall. To everybody's amusement we hesitantly ordered one raw herring served with raw onion enthusiastically followed by another 3 pieces. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the guy in the fish stall for his genuine customer-friendly attitude and his patience to answer all curious questions of crazy tourists, not to mention explaining us the Dutch way of eating raw herring. We left happily with another Dutch treat, a smoked eel.
One thing though I didn't quite take a liking to is Kroketten - Dutch croquettes. It's a kind of deep fried meat ragout coated in breadcrumbs. It's a very popular snack in Holland, but I found the taste and consistency a bit off-putting.
There's one thing I would recommend to everybody visiting Amsterdam. Taking a canal boat cruise is a fantastic relaxing experience and the best way to view the city.
However if you suffer from sea sickness or just simply prefer solid ground under your feet, there is another way to explore the city. It's so much fun to join the locals and travel around the city the Dutch way. At least it looked like a much safer option to join the crowd as it seemed to me that cyclists have an absolute right of way on the road. Yeah, it's like when you arrive to the UK you need to get used the fact that you have to look right first when you cross the road.
Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world and offers all kind of flowers, seeds and bulbs. We couldn't leave without buying some bulbs of famous Dutch tulips.