Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday in Amsterdam--Shopping and Exploring
We got a lazy start to the day today, our last day in Amsterdam. Mom was feeling much better, and we decided we’d do a bit of shopping. We called for a cab, and asked him to take us to the Albert Cuypmarkt. The Albert is a loooong street market that has just about everything from soup to nuts! Mom and Dad enjoy local street markets as much as David and I do, so it was a great choice.
Our cab dropped us off at one end of the Markt, and we slowly strolled through, stopping at several booths to admire their wares.
There were flowers:
And Holy Mackeral!
Delicious bread, we bought a loaf of the triangle shaped with all the nuts and seeds. It was absolutely delicious, and we enjoyed it with dinner. We wished we’d discovered it sooner!
There were many booths selling clothes. I hereby confess to buying two more scarves!
Total count for the trip: 6. I might be in need of a few scarf-a-holic annonymous meetings when I get back to Spudville!
I could have had a wig to match any one of my scarves:
After a block or so of browsing, Dad spotted a Stroopwaffle sign. He thought we should have a snack. I’d bought a small bag at the grocers a couple of days ago, and Dad really like them.
Here he is:
That evening after our dinner, Dad thought he’d like to have another package of those stroopwaffles for a snack on the plane--just in case he got hungry. He walked down to the nearby grocery store, and here’s what he came home with, 4 packages!!
Of course there were several cheese vendors:
Did I buy some? Oh, yes! Hmmm, who could they be for???
We were ready for a warm up and a rest, and Mom and Dad spotted a McDonalds right across the street. Confession #2 today: I broke my rule of NEVER eating at McDonald’s when traveling. Maybe I didn’t exactly break my rule--because I only had coffee.
Here’s Mom and Dad, right in front of McD’s:
And what goes with coffee? A restroom stop, of course! I walked towards the back of McDonalds, and there was a short line in front of the restrooms. As I got closer to the front, I noticed this sign:
Really?? 50 cents to use the restroom in a McDONALD’S???? I snapped a picture of the sign, and the young bathroom attendent shouted at me “ No photos allowed”! Good grief--what do they think this place is, the Van Gogh Museum? The Louvre? He told me I must delete the offending photo, or talk to the management. I told him no problem, I’d delete the photo, and I carefully pushed some buttons on my camera, making sure the photo of that precious bathroom sign was deleted---NOT!!
As I thought about this some more, I realized that the two ladies ahead of me had not paid the attendant, and that the sign was in English ONLY. I think I just paid a “tourist tax”!
I will admit that it was a pretty darn good cup of coffee, an espresso actually. We enjoyed our coffee and warmed up, and then continued on down the market street. I was still shaking my head about the bathroom sign!
Mom and I bought a few souvenirs--can’t go home without some wooden shoe fridge magnets! Mom found a cute pillow with a kissing Dutch boy and girl, it reminded me of Mom and Dad.
Of course, I had to find just the perfect souvenir for my favorite son. Here’s a new one to add to your ever-growing collection, Matt! You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?
And if I'd had room in my suitcase, I'd have brought home this cute gnome for you:
Here's another cute gnome:
As we explored a small side street off the market, we found another one of those teeny-tiny cars. Mom and Dad kind of like them, I think!
By now Mom was getting cold, and we were feeling a few sprinkles. She and Dad caught a cab back to the apartment, and I stayed for the afternoon, wandering and exploring the area around the market. ( or Markt, as the Dutch say!)
I browsed a few more market stalls, not buying a thing, but just enjoying the fun atmosphere. I turned down several side streets--just wandering, really. There were some great clothing and shoe shops, a few nice home acessory stores, and even a couple of antique shops. Again, lots of fun looking, but no room left in my suitcase!
Along the way I passed a pretty park:
And a small flower shop with pretty potted bulbs:
Soon it started to rain--cats and dogs! Within minutes I was soaked and cold. Since it had actually been fairly nice when we left the apartment, I’d left my umbrella home. Nothing to do but stop in to a nice warm cafe to wait out the rain. As I opened the door, the nice young man behind the coffee counter said “Oh, come in out of the rain, sit down, sit down!”. We had a nice conversation about the weather, he was delightful. I ordered a cafe au lait, and then decided a Zelfgemaakte Appeltaart met Slagroom was just what I needed to help warm me up! (Loosely translated: Warm apple tart with whipped cream) It was delicious, the apples were not too sweet, and the black currents were a nice touch.
After about 45 minutes and two coffees, the rain eased up a bit. I left that nice, warm cafe and explored a few more streets, enjoying the pretty buildings:
This interesting sign was on a store across the street. I wonder what it means? I couldn't begin to pronounce it:
I decided I’d keep my eye out for a taxi as I walked along. I strolled along, window shopping, thinking I’d find a taxi stand. I walked across a pretty canal:
And then walked a couple more blocks, still no taxi stand. As I came up to one street corner, I realized it looked familiar. I was just about 4 blocks from our apartment, right near the Tram stop Dad and I had used! A nice winding walk through a park:
Just a couple of right turns, and I was “home”!
I had a cup of hot tea to warm up, and then started the “apartment tidying up routine”. That didn’t take long at all, but packing my suitcase was a bit more of a challenge. But everything is crammed in, and we are all ready to go.
Our taxi to the airport will be here at 6:30--it will be a looong traveling day for these Travelin’ Tuttles!
What a wonderful trip it has been. Cold.....but wonderful!