Friday, January 20, 2012

3 Must See, Do and Try in Amsterdam are ...

... the Bloemenmarkt.

Flowers, copious amounts of flowers and while it wouldn't be easy to bring any back with you, it is a sight to behold and smell.  Each stall is a boat moored on the canal and the sidewalk belongs to the shopper.  There are stores and cafes opposite so this stretch is bustling with activity.

Now, we were there in November and there was only one stall with flowers, the rest held bulbs and stuff for the holidays, but the scent of that one stall was incredible.  It was truly beautiful.

Amsterdam is another city for walking, watch out for the bicylists - the tourist riders, the locals work magic on two wheels.  On one such walk we found a few wonderful places to eat and found

... De Bakkerswinkel [in Zuid]

Yum, omg, yum!

There's a kitty in the front window, bikes on the sidewalk and we were hungry.  It's a bakery, tea room, place you don't want to leave.  Some tables are for a few people, but we sat at the big one that sat in the center back with about 10 other people.  Met a lovely local family and the dad gave me a wonderful hint about stirring my hot chocolate*.  I had a croque monsuier which was lovely, the bread was divine but this wasn't a surprise it being a bakery and then we shared a scone with cream and lemon marmalade.  Oh man, I must go there again - it's just my kind of place.

... Old Woman [or The Prophetess Anna] by Rembrandt is one of many, many pieces of art that must be seen.

We went to both the Rijks Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.  The latter was my favorite for the entire trip, mainly because it was a surprise - a surprise for me, probably not for others.  That said, this is the painting that held me transfixed.

There are big paintings surrounding her that demanded more attention, but she quietly goes on reading.  The fabric of her headress and coat are incredibly renderd.  I appreciate Rembrandts work even more after seeing her, interesting that didn't happen when I came upon the oh so important The Night Watch.

Amsterdam may be the Las Vegas of Europe, but there is much more to it than drinking, smoking and red light district.  I can't wait to go back again and explore more and revisit what I've seen this time and enjoyed.

*=Look for the hot chocolate taste test I made through this entire trip in February!

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