Amsterdam: The Land of Canals and Cannabis
Trip Start Aug 31, 2009
16Trip End Jan 08, 2010
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First Impressions of Amsterdam:
I knew I was in Amsterdam when Alex and I got on our last train connecting us to the city center and we sat next to a gentleman blatantly rolling a joint. After spending our whole lives living in a country where this practice is not only frowned upon and has a stigma attached but is also highly (excuse the pun) illegal, walking through a city where marijuana wafts through the air is very strange. Aside from that, I continue to be impressed with European architecture, every building is more beautiful than the next and Amsterdam was no exception. Getting off the train and out of the Central Station literally took my breath away
Never leave home without Fodor's:
Our travel book has yet to steer us in the wrong direction. Even Fodor's Online offers suggestions on museums, restaurants, and areas of town to see. Fodor's sent us to several wonderful restaurants this weekend, most notably, Spargo. Here are some of our culinary highlights: As an appetizer we enjoyed bitterballen at Spargo, a traditional Dutch food that is minced meat mixed with flour and eggs and covered in breadcrumbs (the best way to describe it is to picture deep fried globs of sausage gravy) and pumpkin soup with crème fraiche, which was so good I contemplated licking the bowl. I had mussels for dinner with four types of sauce on the side and Alex had some sort of game bird and veggies, it was phenomenal - all in all, not a bad way to celebrate our ninth year together. :) We also ate breakfast one morning at a place called Bagels and Beans, where we shared "bagel tapas," which consisted of two bagels chopped up THEN toasted and served with several pots of different toppings: hummus, salmon spread, sun-dried tomatoes,prosciutto, olive tapenade, guacamole, and other deliciousness, it was absolutely fantastic
Adventures in Amsterdam:
On our first full day in Amsterdam, after our "uplifting" breakfast at Barney's, we decided to check out the Anne Frank house
On a lighter note we also went to a brewery with an unpronounceable name, the first microbrewery we've been able to find since we've been here. It was AWESOME, I'd venture to say it was some of the best beer I've had in Europe
During our second day we went to the Heineken Brewery (it's made in Amsterdam) but it would have cost us 15 euro each to tour so we decided to skip it. Instead we walked through the museum district, there were so many things to see: multiple diamond museums, tulip museums, the Van Gogh House, the Rembrandt museum, etc. We wanted to see them all but due to budget constraints we needed to make an executive decision. So which museum did we pick? The House of Bols, of course, which is a museum devoted to Bols liquor. Bols is a type of liquor called genever which is specific to Holland, in fact the Dutch drink 8 times more genever than vodka and it is exported all over the world. I think the best way to describe it would be a mild combination of gin and vodka, and of course Bols makes it in about 80 varieties and flavors. The museum taught us about Bols (he was Rembrandt's neighbor, Rembrandt actually paid his tab to Bols in the form of a painting) and how different flavors are created. The tour ended with a yummy cocktail of our choosing which was definitely a bonus.
And I know you're dying to know about our "special brownie" consumption, however we'll have to plead the fifth, but I will tell you that the sale of marijuana in edible form is illegal in Amsterdam ... ;)