A Dam cool city with Dam hot women!

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April 23rd 2007
Published: September 30th 2017
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After a long train ride, it was time for a chocolate break.
Geo: 52.3738, 4.89095

Woke up and grabbed a hot chocolate before heading to the grocery store. I gotta admit - I just like going to grocery stores when I travel. They had a self-serve bread slicer - for some strange reason I found this interesting. Perhaps it was the lack of nutrients the past few days. Tto rectify this, I bought a bottle of orange/kiwi juice and coconut yogurt for now and a Chimay beer for the train ride to Amsterdam. Ate the yogurt back at the hostel with some leftover trail mix from a recent Montana ski trip. The coconut yogurt was WAY better in Italy. Mmmmm ... Italian yogurt ...

Took forever to check out of the hostel. Good thing I gave myself extra time to walk to the train station. Also turned out that the station was closer than I thought. I said goodbye to the girls and I was off. Bought a sandwich with egg, lettuce, tomato, and a fried meat-loaf thingy. The meat was mushy but flavourful. Not bad. Also had a pain au chocolat - it was a little burned but still alright. I accidentally sprayed myself with the beer when I opened it. Instead

Panties lying on a random stairwell .... what happens in a hostel, STAYS in a hostel. If only these things would happen to me when I stay in a hostel!
of the stale urine and sweat smell of a backpacker, I now have the stale beer smell of a wino. I think it's an improvement!

I sat on the train with my towel draped across my lap to allow it to dry. Definitely one thing about traveling that I don't miss. As the train passed through Antwerp I noticed some turrets along the track. They looked sort of half middle-Eastern and half-European. Hopefully this means Antwerp will have some nice architecture when I pass through when I return to Belgium. There was a funny announcement on board - they told some lady to get off at the next train station and wait for her husband there.

I shouldn't laugh at the misfortune of others ...but I will anyway! It's amusing because I've had my share of train mishaps - I've been lucky that something like that hasn't happened to me yet.

My plan before leaving Canada was to finish off "A Tale of Two Cities". I haven't even picked it up since leaving Europe in October. I should really try to read it - it'll be a good way of curing my insomnia. So I never ended up

The entrance to the park at the Rijksmuseum.
reading on this train ride - just sat and thought about nothing in particular. I find train rides to be quite therapeutic.

Arrived at the hostel - it's located right by the Vondelpark. Unfortunately, the portion of the park adjacent to the hostel is under renovation right now. There's a bit of an older crowd here, but that's balanced by some school groups. Sadly, there were no Polish cuties when I went to my room 😞 I unpacked, made my bed, and cracked open the box of Leonidas chocolates. Banana cream ... too sweet!

Off to the Rijksmuseum - so far, Amsterdam is REALLY cool! There are a lot of Dutch hotties everywhere, especially riding around on bikes. The women are very fit, probably because of all the biking they do! I saw what appeared to be a VERY attractive woman sitting on her bike at a red light. As I approached, I got a side view and realized that it was a guy! Noooooo! But then I walked around the front and then realized it was in fact, a GIRL!!! Wrong, just plain wrong!!!

The Rijksmuseum started off with some intricate dollhouses - yawn ... after that there was

A nice little park behind the Rijksmuseum.
some delftware - Dutch pottery inspired by Chinese porcelain. It looked a lot like Spanish Azulejo tiles. There were many Rembrandts on display. The museum was good - but I expected greatness. As a result, it was a tad disappointing. It definitely was not on par with Europe's great museums.

Did some wandering around after - it's actually quite hot here, probably in the mid-20s. I walked over to Leideseplein - tons of bars and cafes on this square. Very lively with "allhotties" (my condensation of "a lotta l'il hotties"😉. There were also many ladies with baby carriages - either yummy mummies or au pairs, I believe.

Down Leidsestraat - with its many clothing stores it is Heaven for women and Hell for men. Amsterdam is a really lively place - a really cool "Dam" place, in fact! I walked past a herring stand - I just couldn't bring myself to try this Dutch delicacy because it just looked too nasty.

I stopped and had some chocolate - but not because I wanted to, only because I wanted to keep my sugar levels up! I didn't enjoy it one bit, honest! I started walking down Kalverstraat -

Creepy-looking statue - what the heck is it supposed to be?
more clothing stores! 4 H&Ms in 3 blocks. More foreshadowing for the future - they're on track for world domination!

Off to the Jordaan neighbourhood. I started at Magna Plaza but needed to pause and have a granola bar shortly after - I'd been walking since 13:30 and was feeling pretty beat. I wanted to have a nice dinner tonight but was thinking about just grabbing a quick doner very soon before I passed out and fell into a canal.

The Jordaan is a very beautiful area - tranquil, but just lively enough to keep things interesting. This is where "real" Amsterdammers live. Off to the Anne Frank museum ... wow ... I found its impact even greater than Auschwitz. Auschwitz represents such an incredible amount of suffering that it's impossible for a person to even begin to comprehend its significance. Quite simply, it was overwhelming. Identifying with the intense suffering of millions is impossible ... but putting yourself into the shoes of a single person is easy.

But Anne Frank's story offers a humanistic glimpse into the holocaust - not so much into its horrors, but into the hopes and dreams of people waiting for a

A neat spot to chill out in the park. I like to play a little game with the pictures I've taken in Amsterdam, similar to "Where's Waldo?". It's called "Where's the Dutch hottie?" - it seems like there's one in every picture I took.
better tomorrow. Her family did have a chance and evaded capture for a long time. But sadly it just wasn't enough.

There was an interactive exhibit after - "Free 2 Choose". It adopted a modern, almost guerrilla approach to media - brash and in your face. Recent events are discussed (involving possible discrimination) and the audience can vote yes or no - was what transpired justifiable or not? The results are tabulated for the people in attendance and also compared to historical data for previous participants.

The whole thing reeked of a hidden agenda. So why did I stick around for it? To listen to the ideas and try to understand the message and motive? Or to dissect and refute them? Or perhaps expand my horizons? Nope - it's cause a couple of Spanish hotties stuck around. Pathetic? Yes. Can I help it? Nope. Sorry, I'm just addicted to drooling over "allspotties" (a lotta l'il Spanish hotties). I did try to pounce at the museum shop - but they were traveling with their mother hen, who swooped in to guard her young just in time! Come on - they're in their early twenties - it's time to let

Not all graffiti is bad - here's one with Anne Frank. Good stuff.
them leave the nest and make their own way in this world!

I decided to have a nice dinner after all (sadly alone, without two Spanish sisters) - the Jordaan was simply too beautiful to leave behind so quickly. I settled on Café de Regier - an excellent recommendation from the guidebook. I inquired about Dutch beer but was told to stick with the Belgian stuff because it's much better.

The recommendation was Affligem blond - served in a neat little goblet. Very good. I guess I prefer blond beers, though I've always seemed to be partial to brunettes! 😊 I started with the octopus salad - assorted greens, olive oil, and a tomato/olive tapenade (olives - yuck!). Garnished with some sort of mildy savoury poppyseed biscuit, the tender octopus was very good despite an over-abundance of olive oil. The flavours were very subtle after I picked off the tapenade and flung it into the canal.

The fish stew was excellent - potatoes, baby carrots (perfectly crisp, still), two types of clams, some savoury and tender fish chunks, and both green and white asparagus. I thought I could test a theory - supposedly chlorophyll is what makes

Ha ha, McDonald's = crap.
your pee stink after eating asparagus. Since white asparagus is grown in the dark, there really is no chlorophyll. So will the pee still stink? Of course it was a moot point because I forgot that there was still green asparagus in the stew. The asparagus was delicious - very sweet, as was the delicious light broth.

So far, this was an excellent meal - the cute Dutch hottie waitress running about also added to the experience. Dessert was also good - cherry, mango, and apple ice cream served alongside a long, wavy biscuit. Some strawberry chunks and pomegranate seeds strewn about provided a nice counterpoint to the ice cream.

The mango ice cream wasn't very good upon first taste - it tasted a lot like cherry. But then I realized that it WAS cherry - blast the dim lighting and my mild colour-blindness! The whipped cream was terrible - like bad Cool Whip. But the toasted slivers of almond made up for it. The restaurant's attention to detail was VERY impressive.

Back to the hostel - it was a long walk, but very enjoyable. Very tranquil and peaceful ... the kind of walk that you don't

More random Dutch hotties.
want to end. I sat on the hostel's patio for awhile and attempted to write in my journal and read up on the next destination. But I couldn't bring myself to do it ... I simply sat and reflected on Amsterdam's magnificence. It reminded me of a much cooler night in Interlaken, Switzerland and also a similar night in Bolzano, Italy (see Euro 2006 blogs "Wong Plays Pong" and "This is what living in an Ikea hell is like ....."😉.

A perfect meal, a perfect walk, and a perfect end to the night. So what's the perfect way to describe Amsterdam? It's picture-perfect ...

Additional photos below
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As a Mechanical Engineer, I truly appreciate the beauty and ingenuity of a bicycle - it travels at 5 times the speed of a human walking and generates zero emissions (unless you're Tri, who generates tons of natural gas). Its design has both form and function. As a man, I truly appreciate the beauty of a Dutch hottie on a bike - poetry in motion! That must be how they keep in such good shape.

Check out the little symbol between "of" and "bols". Perhaps I just need better glasses, but from afar it looks like the symbol for the Autobots. Yeah, baby - The Transformers movie is coming out soon!!!

A little strip of souvenir stands and little cafes just behind the Rijksmuseum. Actually kind of reminds me of a place in Toledo .... ahhh .... Toledo ....

I'll bet $1000 that this kid one day develops a shoe fetish.

I HATE litterbugs!!! It disgusts me, the way that they callously leave trash strewn about the streets. As a concerned citizen, I picked this newspaper up to take away for recycling. But only after I kept it beside my pillow for a few nights in the hostel. And then took it to Antwerp. Then Brugge. Then London. Then home. Canadian newspaper recycling facilities are much better. But I want to let it biodegrade a little bit beforehand, so I'm keeping it on my nightstand for awhile.

Perhaps looking into her mirror will make her realize what everyone already knows - that she really needs to wash her face.

The Paradiso - a former church that is now a concert venue. Nobody on the posters was anybody I recognized or cared to see, however.

The guy on the right looks like Gene Simmons from KISS, no?

Time for another chocolate break. Enjoy.

Wagamama - the chain of Japanese noodle houses based in London (I think). They're spreading everywhere!

The translation of this Latin phrase above the arch is "Humans don't urinate in the wind". Such words of wisdom ... I could've saved a ton on dry cleaning bills if I came across this knowledge earlier in life.

The Bulldog - the most famous chain of "coffeeshops" in Amsterdam. It's the place to go to expand your mind and to have brownies. Very SPECIAL brownies.

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