Day 10: Amsterdam

Ok, it’s really day 11 but I went out early this morning to find a new converter. I know some people think you should un-plug during a vacation…but I don’t like to unplug.  When I can’t charge my computer, I can’t charge the kids pods, I can’t charge my iPad and I can’t charge my phone.   I rely on these things to help me navigate and to look up information about things we want to see or we are looking for.  Now, to catch up on yesterday before the memories completely escape me.

Anyway, Thursday started out pretty uneventful.  I had no real plans other than to walk around.  Amsterdam is different from a city like Rome.  There are still many sites to see, churches, museums but I think of Amsterdam as a city to “live in” not tour to death. That’s why we just started walking.  Ben wanted to see the Anne Frank house so we just started to walk in that direction.

Anne Frank memorial

Along the way we saw a few city highlights and even stopped in the local Rainbow kiosk for postcards and answer the cashiers questions about his upcoming trip to San Francisco.

We also stopped in at the Tickets & Tour office and decided to try out the hop-on/hop-off bus and get our canal tour tickets.  We jumped on the bus but quickly found that it was way to hot to enjoy a glass roof bus tour and that it was also too slow compared to walking.

We only took it as far as Gassan Diamonds.  We went into their free tour.  It was ok.  It certainly interesting to watch the 3 diamond cutters…slaving away like circus animals behind glass.  But they really wanted you to buy their stuff.  I will say, buying a diamond direct from them was far cheaper than any retailer I’ve seen in the Bay Area.  Shoot…if you are in the market for diamonds, for the cost of a 1 carat diamond in San Francisco you fly out to Amsterdam and buy it direct for the same price or less…including the airfare!  Sadly that is one luxury I had to pass up.  Maybe in my next lifetime.

Gassan Diamonds

Afterwards we headed to something more in my “price point” (I stole that from HGTV). The WATERLOOPLEIN FLEA MARKET!  This is one of my favorites, lots of cool second-hand  items a long with new items.

In need of late 80’s warm-up?

Wallets?

Belts?

I didn’t get anything this time around.  Was hoping to find that long-lost Troll doll I didn’t buy 3 years ago.   The kids don’t have much patience for flea markets.  On the way back to our apartment to rest we went into the local Hema department store.  I like Hema, it’s like Ikea and Gap had a love child…or it’s Europe equivalent of Target.  There is a little of every department including food, hardware, clothing.  They have the best rain gear I’ve ever seen for only 10 Euros.  I haven’t yet but tempted to buy extra and bring it home for those rainy Scout camping trips.

They had really good soft serve too.  I wish our cones were this good.

It was a good walk.  Amsterdam has some of the coolest bikes…and shoes (I’m resisting these ones)

Wood bike

Want…

The kids were tired so I stepped out to the local grocery store.  Much more choices than I saw in Switzerland…but still a fraction of a US store.  That’s ok by me.  I spent some time just looking at the items.  Clearly a lot less junk. They even charged you for bags.  Being from the Bay Area, I always carry an extra bag.  Score one for me.

I also strolled down a little shopping street.  Was tickled by a small mart that carried American goods.

American goods shop

Really…

Loved this colorful shop “Pylones: editeur d’objects a Paris”

Cute things

Pizza cutters

Rings

I think I will try to make these

After a bit of a nap…roughly 8pm we went out for our evening stroll in search of a local Pancake Bakery that I wanted to go to 3 years ago but missed.  “pancake” is a magic word to Ben and something he was willing to walk a distance for.  (Excuse the unfocused shots, all I had was my iPhone on this walk)

Pancake Bakery

The Pancake Bakery is really incredible.  Each table has a vat of molasses.  Ben had the plain pancake with sugar.  Havana and I shared the Brazilian with pecan ice cream.  Delish!!!

The Brazilian

Ben would not share.

He ate the whole darn thing

I really do love this city.  I think if I had to live and work in Europe, Amsterdam is where I’d like to be.  It’s the perfect mix of cosmopolitan and positive quality of life.

I love the social culture of people.  Just meeting for dinner, drinks and conversation

Enjoying the canal.

Late evening picnic

The bike riders.

The art.

Art in a home window

Sitting outside their homes to enjoy the canal view

Lady reading a book

Good-night Amsterdam.  See you tomorrow.

Havana & Ben…yes, it’s almost 10pm at night and still light out.

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