Posts Tagged With: Amsterdam

Netherlands – Post Visit – Attitudes

One of the things I enjoy most about the countries I’ve been to in Europe is their seemingly relaxed attitudes toward a great deal of things that would bend a lot of Americans out of shape. I happened to arrive in the Netherlands for Pride Weekend.  All over Utrecht there were preparations for events that weekend including rainbow flags on the main cathedral

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As well as cafes

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I started to think about what preparations were happening in my hometown for Pride Weekend; not much.  On the ride back from the airport my dad asked me what the Dutch thought about our Supreme Courts rulings regarding same sex marriage.  I said, they didn’t seem to have much of an opinion one way or the other. To which he replied, “Yeah they tolerate a great many things because they’ve been around a lot longer.” Which reminded me of the Italian couple who sat across from me on my canal tour of Amsterdam with their bull terrier.  I mean, I just watched this couple bring their dog onto the boat, it wasn’t a working dog, it was just their dog.  I thought, “Awesome.”  Then I thought, “Would this happen in the States?”  Probably not, at least not without some sort of waiver, or muzzle, or something like that. Which made me think of all the ‘window pets’ I had been noticing.  (This post seems to become increasingly random.)  So I took photos of a few

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I just really enjoyed randomly coming across critters in windows and store fronts.  Very generally speaking I remembered the same thing about Spain and Italy that people seemed to take their pets, mostly dogs, with them everywhere and often in places where we would not take them here in the US like restaurants, grocery stores and even museums.  Maybe this happens here and I just don’t notice it as much.  Again I just really appreciate the generally tolerant attitudes I’ve observed in the countries I’ve visited in Europe.

Nonviolent zone

Nonviolent zone

Categories: Amsterdam, Geography, netherlands, Original post, Pets, photography, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventuring in the Netherlands – Did I Mention…..

…the bikes?

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Categories: Amsterdam, netherlands, Original post, photography, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Adventuring in The Netherlands – Go Somewhere

I love the world. Sure it has it’s issues but it’s also where you can find the best meal of your life in an unexpected place. I have never had Indonesian food and I certainly did not expect to find a great Indonesian restaurant in the Netherlands…though historically and geographically it should have been obvious. Sure the whole colonization thing was maybe not the best for everyone involved, but the lasting results worked out really well for me this evening.
My brother took my to Restaurant Blauw, which he said was the best Indonesian place in a country that has lots of them; a result of that colonization thing. I thought, “Yeah, whatever, I’ll give it a shot.” I didn’t know what the food would be like, maybe a mix of Filipino, Indian and Thai or something; not even close. I cannot even begin to describe the culinary experience I had, though I now have a new appreciation for what Anthony Bourdain and Guy Feiri do (hope I didn’t butcher their names too badly there.) I’ll just say that each bite I took required me to wait for all the subtleties locked in the food to emerge and entertain my taste buds. We ordered, for lack of a better term, a sampler that arrived looking like this

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And wound up looking like this

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Not only did I have a fantastic meal today I also went here

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and saw this

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Saw some cool architecture (pay attention to the grassy slope on the left)

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Yes, that grassy slope is the roof of a supermarket.

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And found another cool door.

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Now, why I do love the world n’ all, this concerns me:

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Categories: Amsterdam, food, Geography, netherlands, Original post, photography, Travel, Utrecht | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Adventuring in the Netherlands – Mistakes are O.K.

Day 4 of 8-ish, I say “ish” to account for travel days.

Mistake #1: getting a late start. An earlier start would’ve gotten me to amsterdam sooner, which in turn would’ve allowed me to arrive at the Anne Frank house earlier, which would’ve likely meant a shorter line. The line was long:
From the back-

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Near the front looking back-

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I’ve waited at least as long to ride a roller coaster that turned out to be lame, so the wait wasn’t that bad. Besides while waiting I noticed we were near a home of another noteworthy person

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And there was a film crew working on a documentary that was fun to watch

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Anne Frank’s house from the outside looks like this

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I can’t show you the inside because no photos were allowed. I can say that it is fairly minimal, but impactful. For me the wall showing where the growth of the children had been kept was moving as was seeing Anne’s actual diary. Well worth the wait. Afterward I had a savory pancake (basically a crepe with ham and cheese inside) at a cafe along a canal.

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Mistake #2: missing the drop off point on the canal tour. I had meant to get off at the Van Gough museum stop which was the closest to my intended destination

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(There’s no way I could do Anne Franks house, Van Gough AND Heineken in the same day! I got a late start after all; and my getting off in the wrong spot translated to a 40 minute walk.) Anyway, the Heineken tour is beer Disneyland and really fun, especially since the price includes 3 beers and there was this cool horse

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Mistake #3: upon returning to the Utrecht Centraal station I turned left when I should’ve turned right, or visa versa I forget now, and took an inadvertent stroll through a not so nice part of town and wound up right back at the station!
All’s good, I saw history, had beer and made it back safe n’ sound. Van Gough tomorrow; barring any mistakes….

Categories: Amsterdam, anne frank, beer, Geography, netherlands, Original post, photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre Flight – SFO

June 27:
Sometimes I just want to write something down. It’s faster, or at least it seems to be. Sure it’s messy and perhaps not as cool or sexy as tapping it out on my iPad or iPhone, but it does seem faster; in most cases.
To use an electronic device just to jot down some quick ideas or a note I have to turn it on, enter a passcode, open the app I want to use then start typing. While tapping away I get distracted by auto correct, tapping the incorrect keys and generally get frustrated that I can’t get my ideas out fast enough. Sometimes I even lose the ideas because of the afore mentioned distractions. So generally old school pen and paper work better for me, except when I don’t have either; like today for example.
Waiting at SFO for my flight to Amsterdam I had several impulses to write, but I didn’t want to hassle with my electronic device to do so, and I lacked the necessary old school tools. I wanted to write about the passengers on BART that I surmised had just been released from jail. One got on and repeated, “FUCKIN’ great day!” loudly. She also had what appears to be a change of clothes in her hand, which she left on the train whether got off at Fruitvale. Another followed her on board shortly after and he had a large clear plastic bag half full of paperbacks. I didn’t realize he was part of the possible jailbird contingent until the other two got on board, I just wondered why he had a bag of books.
The last two of the jail bird group got on, one of them carrying a brown paper sack which contained a couple of burritos and a 40. “Burritos and beer at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday? What is this, Chico?” I wondered. The one not carrying the burrito sack recognized book bag dude, who has previously been happily greeted by “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl, and took a seat next to him. I was looking out the window trying not to listen to “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl (she was talking a LOT and was very happy and energetic) and pondering the clues that linked these four seemingly unlikely people together.
Two of them burrito bag dude and sack-less guy were people of color and appeared to be late 20’s/early 30’s, “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl, also a person of color, looked to be early 20’s, and book bag dude was a person of no color, maybe in his 40’s and a bit hefty.
The last clues that this group was somehow linked were that book bag guy had to tell sack-less dude how to lace, not tie but lace, the shoes he had on his feet, “FUCKIN’ great day!” girl remind them all where to transfer trains, and burrito sack gave sack-less the 40. Maybe they weren’t jailbirds but they were an odd group.
I also wanted to write about how interesting it is to wait in an international terminal, hearing announcements in Chinese and how people have different names for the same things. For example, I bought a sandwich at a little deli and sat outside to eat it where I observed other people deciding where to eat. “Well, here’s a little cafe.” said one person passing the deli. “Oh, it’s a luncheonette.” claimed another. (Though I cannot swear that the word uses was in fact luncheonette b/c at the moment I eating I
a) did not want to hassle with my iPhone
b) lacked old school tools.)
After the sandwich I ventured to the snack/news shop and bought an oversized (think 3rd grade pencil) Giants novelty pen and a Moleskine notebook. Now I have tons of both pens and Moleskine notebooks at home, I just didn’t happen to grab any….because I had my iPad. Oh the conundrum.

Categories: Geography, Original post, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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