Arrived. Settled. Exploring. Working
Living in the heart of the city. Across from the Rijksmuseum. Witnessed the opening of the museum after more than a 10 year closure… quite the story…so clearly the subject of a future blog. But for now a quick scan of the first weekend and a some interesting facts about Amsterdam.
So Amsterdam was founded in the 12th century. It’s originates from a dam on the Amstel River, which of course flows through the city. Often known as the ‘Venice of the North’. It has 165 canals.
780,00 people live in Amsterdam with 881,000 bikes. When the sun is out, it feel as if they all come into the hear of the city, to bike or stroll the canals. Apparently there are also 600.000 bulbs, however the spring is very slow here and so far all i have seen is daffodils. They were to have a flower parade in the flower district near the coast..turns out they have had to import all the flowers from France as the bulbs are not up here. There are 1281 bridges, 110 glass topped canal boats and 2500 houseboats
As you know markets are a favorite city feature I like to experience. So first Saturday morning off to the Albert Cuyp Market for a few staples to set up house. Dutch Cheese, great raisin buns ( krentenbollen) for breakfast, some fruits and vegetables and of course a ‘bos’ of dutch tulips… want to ensure the dutch feel both in and outside my flat. Of course for my first ‘bunch’ it had to be orange tulips.
While I have been spoiled with the ‘boroughs’ and ‘portobello’ markets, I still spent a pleasant few hours checking out the wares.. and experiencing favourite memories of childhood experiences . Poffertjes ( tiny medallion sized pancakes served with icing sugar. ‘Gerookte paling’ and ‘zoute haring’. Yes now these may not appeal to you, as they might be an acquired taste or simply something you grow up with if you are dutch. Gerookte Paling is smoked eel. I have memories of going to the ‘markt’ on a Saturday and having this delicacy.. turns out it is now a very expensive delicacy.. as the freshwater eel s are now a precarious population in the Ijsselmeer. The price put me off … but I will put out the coin on some Saturday afternoon and relive those smacking memories. ‘Zoute haring’ is raw herring that has been conserved in a special way with salt. It is typically eaten with raw onions… the experts pick it up by the tail and slide it into their mouths . When your in Holland you should try both!!! Perhaps have them as a broodje haring or broodje paling..simply means you are having it in a soft white bun.
Most of the weekend was spent exploring the heart of the old city. Within walking distance of the canal district, I wandered canal streets, cobblestone alleyways, hung over canal bridges, sipped wine, sat in the sun and watched boats and bicycles pass by in a steady stream. Sunday it was a delightful 19 degrees so it felt like the whole city came out to drink in the new fresh spring. The city has a very ‘old’ feel to it…not sure why that is as yet…but it will come to me.
In any event , I will likely find many discoveries to share with you all in the coming weeks.