Amsterdam, Day 1

Last week I went to Amsterdam for the first time ever. I had been meaning to go for ages, especially as my good friend Joseph has lived there for eight years. He is an artist who depicts Amsterdam’s architecture, and seeing his pictures only made me want to visit more. Naturally life often gets in the way of such adventures (okay, and having other adventures gets in the way too) but I decided to squeeze it in before I go back to work  as summer is the busiest time of year in my job. I’ve been off work since February after surgery on both feet, so being able to walk again has been amazing (if tiring!) and it seemed like a good enough excuse to reward myself with a little holiday.

I landed around lunchtime and made my way to Amsterdam Centraal to meet Joseph outside Starbucks (of course it turned out there were two and we both went to different ones initially). We then went to Dwaze Zaken, a nearby cafe, and got melted cheese sandwiches with walnuts etc. We had originally planned to drop my bag off at Joseph’s house and come back into town, but as I just had a rucksack and not one of those wheelie trolley things it made sense to stick around and make the most of the drizzly day. Thanks to Joseph for giving me a break from carrying my deceptively heavy bag.

We took a walk round some of the smaller canals and went to some bookshops and a book fair at a small, tranquil university campus (apparently the main one is much more hectic). We also went into Droog, a design store masquerading as some kind of museum. We stopped for a drink in De Pilsner Club, a lovely little tucked away pub. I tried jenever (Dutch gin) which was surprisingly mild and nice (I drank it straight which I wouldn’t do with English gin…) We eventually got the bus to Joseph’s house in Amsterdam Noord and headed back out for dinner.

Amserdam Noord is an area which used to have a bad reputation (whatever than means in The Netherlands – not the same as the UK, that’s for sure) but is now an up-and-coming home to artists, flea markets and renovated industrial zones. We went to Noorderlicht, a restaurant on the wharf, and overdosed on cheese. I also tried white asparagus for the first time, which was really nice.

It was raining heavily by this point, but happily we were inside looking out and it looked very pretty. I bet it’s lovely in the sunshine too, when you can go out and sit by the water. Eventually we did have to walk home in the rain, but it wasn’t far and I got to see some more pretty industrial things (I actually really like industrial zones for some reason).

Day 2 coming soon…

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