December 31, 2010

Amsterdam

Kid in front biking

Besides being run-down with sickness, I did find some joy in my Amsterdam visit. Here are some highlights in no particular order.

– Knit wear: On the tram, for sale in the markets, being worn on the streets, everyone seemed to be sporting, large, chunky, colorful, whimsical, knit items from head to ankle. To be a knitter in Amsterdam, seems ideal, not only can you wear the crazy knit things you made, there is a constant audience in friends and family, as everyone seems to have some.

– Bicycles: Yes, yes, everyone knows Amsterdam equals bicycle, but it was still fun to see all the kids being hauled around in the giant front bucket bicycles. My favorite bicycle moment was watching an old man bike by with three large potted palm trees, one in each back basket and one precariously angled in the front basket. No problem!

– Yogurt: My culinary experiences were limited, but I did have some fantastic spiced pear yogurt. Creamy and delicious.

– Scaffolding: All the major attractions were closed and/or buried under scaffold. The Rijks museum, their large art institute has been closed for 10 years. Ten! And it is not near completion yet. The modern art museum, the ship museum, the royal palace, all closed and under construction. What city would make the decision to close all their most famous public museums at the same time? The absurdity of it, puts this on my favorites list.

– Svart Pete: In November, Sinter Clause arrives on the streets of Amsterdam with his side-kick, the trickster Svart Pete. While Sinter Clause poses for photos, Svart Pete runs around, causing mischief. At Central Station we witnessed a bombing, a candy bombing. While waiting in line for train tickets an unruly gang of Svart Pete’s came running through, bags overflowing with hard candy and small cookies. Tossing sweets and yelling, they left a carpet of candy and a lot of laughing happy people in their wake. The station employees hardly blinked an eye. Eh, it happens all the time.

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