Contradictions of Amsterdam

Friday 31 May 2013

Today we are going take in some of the cultural treasures of Amsterdam!

Super Skunk and Everything on a Stick
Super Skunk and Everything on a Stick

After a lovely sleep in and breakfast, we hit the streets and head off to the museum.  On the way we do a bit of shopping and by about 1:00 pm we reach the art district.  We pass by the newly renovated Rijksmuseaum through the park behind it which has some amazing sculptures and to the Van Gogh Museum.

I am sterdam
I am sterdam

I visited this museum 15 years ago and recall being very impressed at the collection.  Also Howard has a slight Van Gogh obsession.  We even have our very own original fake van Gogh in our dining room at home.

After a hot dog snack and a 15 minute line up we get our tickets, check our bags and start the tour.  Over 3 floors we are treated to the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work.  The man was absolutely brilliant and more than a little mad.  I’m a little disappointed that his starry night series is not on display but there are other selections that makes up for this small gap.

Here are some of my favourites:

Van Gogh 1

Van Gogh 2

Van Gogh 3

A few hours later when we depart, we are parched and peckish.  We wander towards the centre of Amsterdam and before too long we stumble upon a little shop in a little lane called Voetboogstraat, doing a roaring trade in hot chips.  Thats all they sell. Served in a paper cone with a selection of sauces. They are seriously good and soon disappear.

The best chips in town
The best chips in town

A bit more shopping (including a visit to a sex shop super store), a few drinks and we slowly make our way back to our hood … Harleem for another Iberico jamon sandwich and a few ales.

For dinner tonight we are heading to Long Pura on Rozengracht for some Indonesian.  Indonesia was a Dutch colony and there are many good Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam.  Luckily the hotel made reservations for us because Long Pura is doing a roaring trade.  Mostly locals enjoying their Friday night.

The waiter recommends the banquet called the “rice table”, which provides a selection of pretty much everything on the menu.  As we sip our chardonnay they bring out two long thin metal  boxes containing tea lights.  Fascinated we watch them set up the table and light the tea lights which are then covered with a metal cover.  They are food warmers.  Before too long a dozen or so small dishes are presented at our table.  And we dig in.

Rice Table
Rice Table

Luckily we have only ordered the smallest banquet, we only just manage to finish.  We don’t have any room for desert, which is just as well …. I can only image what horrors a Dutch/Indonesian desert is like!

It is our last night in Amsterdam and I can no longer avoid a tour of the red light district.  Its not hard to find … just follow the groups of men (lots of stag parties by the look of it).  The labyrinth of small lanes of the red light district are pretty much as I remember.  Shop windows with women of every size and shape and description on display like meat in a butcher shop.  Most shops consist of a chair in the window, a door a curtain and a narrow bed at the back.  Men stand in the doorway making their deal.

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