While wandering around Utrecht and Amsterdam I enjoyed occasionally coming across the occasional urban critter.
Posts Tagged With: Netherlands
Initially walking around Utrecht and Amsterdam I felt like I was in some sort of amusement park. The architecture just kind of had the look of being a little too storybook, if you know what I mean. Then I was told why they appeared that way. One reason is that the windows on many Dutch buildings are designed to get smaller as the building gets higher giving the illusion that the structures are taller than they actually are. Another reason is that Dutch staircases tend to be rater steep and narrow making it difficult to heft furniture up to the top floors. So the buildings lean outward slightly and many homes have a beam hanging from the top over the street with a pulley at the end to hoist heavy things into the house. Clever, but it messes with your head a little if you’re not used to it.
What recounting of a trip to the Netherlands would be complete without mentioning canals?
I have some photos from adventuring in California on my main blog for anyone interested http://geowoodward.wordpress.com/
Why don’t we have a cafe culture in the U.S.? Sure there’s a bar culture and a coffee shop culture, but it’s not the same as the cafe culture in many European countries. Cafe culture is just so casual, and relaxing. It is so enjoyable to have a seat, preferably outside, order a beer with some snacks or lunch, and lazily watch the world go by.
Some of the most fun I have travelling is interpreting signs. I enjoy seeing how other countries convey basic traffic rules, how they advertise their products, and really get a kick out of seeing how American products are portrayed. Here is an especially Dutch traffic sign:
Very helpful, but there was another one for cars and pedestrians and sometimes they would not all be green at the same time even for people waiting to go the same direction. Here’s one that made me chuckle a little
He’s very focused and purposeful. This one confused me until I used Google Translate
I thought it meant no bikes or scooters, but it actually means do not enter “except” for bikes or scooters. Clearly there are cars in the “except” area though, so I’m still a little confused, maybe it’s one way for cars?
This one I appreciated for the sentiment on the bottom, which I think was added by locals.
Near this sign was this one on the ground which speaks to the sentiment I am trying to convey
I found it amusing, or maybe ironic not sure which, that this was in a small square next to this
But sometimes, you don’t need things translated especially if you’re hungry
Though the offerings might confuse you.
The translations can also make you grin
Perhaps you’d like more choices? No problem
No doubt Tony Stark would be pleased. How about some Vietnamese?
How about Chinese?
Chicken and ribs? No problem
Now, if you need a caffeine fix and you know nothing about Amsterdam except that it’s located in the Netherlands you’re going to be confused if you go here
Because they don’t specialize in coffee, they specialize in another plant. (I originally took this photo because the mascot of the school I work for is a Bulldog, didn’t notice the ‘coffee shop until later.) If you want caffeine you can always go to a kaffe shop or look for the ever ubiquitous shop in this photo
Sometimes eating at restaurants in other countries can be risky, unless they have this claim
At first I thought this advertisement was clever because it was suggesting having a Coke with the artists
Later in a supermarket I saw Coke bottles with common Dutch names on them; what a great idea, you could buy a Coke with your friends name on it! While sharing a Coke with your friend you could shop here
Though shopping at America Today you might run into this
I also got a kick out of graffiti, posters and stickers on poles
I agree. I’ll end with this one that made me laugh.
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
As well as cafes
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
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.
I was one of the kids who couldn’t wear regular pants; I had to shop the ‘Husky’ section. I’m not sure how that word was intended to make one feel but it made me feel fat. (At least that’s better than the ‘pretty plus’ area they had in the girls section when I worked at Sears; that just begs the question, plus what?) I didn’t feel any less fat with my mom helping me pick my ‘Husky’ pants. “The regular cut are just too tight dear, let me get you some Huskies.”
The terminology got a little better by the time I was in 8th grade. I remember being fitted for a suit and the tailor told my dad, “We’ll have to let out the coat a bit, he’s got an athletic build.”
“Now we’re talkin’,” I thought. “Wait, what kind of athlete? Sumo wrestler? Football player? Weight lifter?”
Actually what ‘athletic build’ translated to is T-shirts don’t fit me. Sure there are worse problems to have, but when you’re squandering Euros on sweet T-shirts you want to be sure they’ll fit for a while. Meh, I’ll just continue to enjoy my beer, the view and this cafe on my last afternoon in Utrecht.
The day started with a bike ride out to my brothers office/data center that he is setting up here. Along the way I took these:
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