26.04.2013 - 03.05.2013 15 °C
Amsterdam seems to churn out images and ideas that are a parody of themselves, ideas that no longer seem to represent the people or the culture. Though I am sure there are still tourists who want to clogs, tulips and windmills many have come to experience a different Amsterdam which is neither twee nor seedy.
We were so lucky to begin our Amsterdam leg with some local knowledge. A friend I used to teach with, lives here and over a few beers on a very fun night sketched a great program full of delicious food, good coffee and some healthy exercise. We spent time walking around the canals and checking out the architecture, very enjoyable taking time to stop for a beer and soak up the weak rays of sun. No better time for this than on Queens day. this is a huge celebration for the dutch a mixture of Australia Day, St Kilda Festival and Melbourne cup day multiplied by 100. what ensued was a riot of Orange and loads of beer. Stew and I wandered the Amstel and Prinzgracht in awe of the spectacle and enjoying being the audience.
Art was plentiful as we're lucky enough to catch the Rijks museum, having been closed for a decade and also the Van Gogh museum, only just opened again, along with the Stedelijk. Exciting buildings and great collections of Art, hours of pleasure, only marred a little by the throngs of crowds wanting to photograph Vermeer Girl with the jug or Vangogh's Sunflowers.
One of the highlights was hiring bikes, just like the Dutch ! and riding to Brokeinwater and Monikadam, very pretty villages North of Amsterdam. We took the free ferry with our bikes and spent hours riding on the wonderful network of paths past swans, fields of fluffy sheep and navigating from village to village using church spires. The day was perfect and we had the loveliest time, a good sign for our future Danube adventure.
On the food front, we had a special meal at Da Kas, a beautiful restaurant in Green house using their own home grown produce, very special, our 25 th anniversary meal ( well one of them)
Our little airbnb place was so sweet and in a great area, a big success overall. Perhaps not enough tulips seen, many incidental ones, street planting a and pots in front of people's houses, no clogs but we did love Amsterdam for its vibrancy, food and sense of fun, so much more to the city than meets the eye .