Returning from Bruges, I awake to a rainy day in Amsterdam, yet it is somehow strangely inviting. I leave the apartment around 9:30 am with only a vague idea of what I would do and it turns out I’m busy until 11 pm that evening. That is how Shirleyfest goes.
I start with a breakfast at Teds in my neighborhood. It’s a lovely spot to get out of the rain, great servers and delicious eggs.
I put up my umbrella and head to the Amsterdam Museum which has a well done timeline of the development of Amsterdam and from there I go to an Amsterdam icon–Tony Chocolonley’s flagship store.
This is a chocolate company that not only produces delicious chocolate but is at the forefront of battling the horrendous child labor issues in Ghana and the Ivory Coast where 60% of the worlds chocolate is from.
I take a trip way out near the Olympic Stadium ( Amsterdam hosted the olympics in 1928) because I have heard that the cheese shop L’AMUSE supplies all the best restaurants in Amsterdam with their cheese. I have a wonderful chat with Karin and I sample ( then buy) lots of different cheeses. That of course leads to me inviting people over that night for a cheese tasting- which leads to wine to have with the cheese– which leads to ordering pizza…..”If you give a mouse a cookie…”
Another day, I bike over to Jacob Hooy in the old city which was established in 1743 and is still owned by the same family. They sell medical potions and spices and are known for the best licorice in town. I actually don’t like licorice but I buy an assortment for Laura who is coming next week.
Afterwards I stop for a cappuccino. I don’t know how this coffee shop does this but the coffee art lasts all the way to the end of the drink! I am sitting outside with my coffee and three lovely ladies are chatting together. One is so knowlegable about the happenings in Amsterdam that I blurt out– ” I wish you had a blog”. “I do”, Shoshanna says. “It’s called Awesome Amsterdam.” I’m invited to join them and they are really fun. Shoshanna tells me she has dozens of books on Amsterdam and Dutch art and she wants me to have them. When I get home later that day she has delivered them to my apartment!
I’m biking home to get ready to meet a friend for dinner when I pass the floating flower market and it looks so pretty today that I stop and take this picture.
My dinner with my friend is at Scheepskameel. A really terrific restaurant and a hard reservation to get. My friend, Laura, manages to get us in and we have such a great meal. I have to say the madelines at the end are my favorite part!
I managed to go to a lot of museums and art galleries this week because of the rain. I was passing the Museum of Purses and Bags and while it wasn’t on my list of must sees, I was right there so I went in. There was an interactive display where you answer questions and it designs the perfect bag for you with a message. Ha ha ha see below.
I am invited to the season opening of art galleries and I really enjoy going to many galleries and meeting the artists. One artist designs sculptures out of truck mirrors and then puts a neon backing in the installation. When you take a picture you get this shadow affect. That is the artist in the picture.
The opening night is fun and lots of people come– some with their dogs.
Another day I take the train to Rotterdam. Rotterdam was utterly destroyed during WWII and when they rebuilt they did so in a modern striking manner. These cube houses are lived in and are above shops. It was harbor day so I took a walking tour around the city and the harbor.
I ended up at a cool bar called Cafe Veward ( Translated Cafe Confused). I am not. I order a beer and enjoy talking to the locals.
Afterwards I have amazing octopus at a restaurant recommended to me called Ayla.
The next day I have not such a healthy eating day. You be the judge.
I also want to check out the main branch of the library. It is right on the water and there are great views from the top floor. Also on the top floor is a food bonanza like I’ve never seen in a library. I mean what student wouldn’t hit the books if they could choose from all these delicious things while studying.
I end week 3 with a fun evening with my friend Paul. After a ride on the canals we hit the Sky Lounge overlooking the city. Crazy bartender and fun way to end the week!