Blog Tales

"Another Moment~ Amsterdam" ~ Writers Island

Today, as I began to "cook up" something for my husband... I realized that I wanted to string together some more moments...

While I was in Provence this past October, my husband traveled off to Amsterdam with his oldest friend of forty-two years... We then rendezvoused in Paris and prepared to travel home... Instead we found ourselves entangled in the Air France strike with our flight canceled and no way home... Through the much appreciated help from the concierge at Hotel de la Tulipe, and endless phone calls with Travelocity and Hotel.com, we found that the route of least resistance was to travel back to California via Amsterdam. As my husband said, it was making lemonade out of lemons...

So that was how I came to find myself visiting this most amazing city...

Amsterdam is a city of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh and the
inspiration for the colors and themes that remain with us today through
their paintings and the incredible museums that house them and much more...

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Everyone rides bicycles, everyone... ties and suits, dresses, jeans and t-shirts, couples entwined, and even children, whirling at speeds worthy of a pack of faeries, a flock of birds, or a school of fish... This is the train station bicycle parking area... thousands of bicycles...

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Marijuana is "legal" here. The European Trade Industry prefers the word "tolerated". A "Coffee Shop" where the plant is served has a menu, just like a fancy wine bar or funky jazz cafe. No other drugs or alcohol are allowed in the coffee shops...

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This part of Amsterdam really stretched me... not the concept, but being in such proximity to what is so normal there and so not talked about, or even seen in my part of the world... Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. Walking at night, the red light district is very apparent and integrated with the rest of the city. Pimping, child pornography (or even inquiring about it), is absolutely illegal... In front of the oldest church in Amsterdam is a monument to the sex workers of the city...

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Homosexuality is also celebrated here with a monument that I am sorry to say that I, nor my husband, photographed. This large monument is flat upon the ground in the shape of two triangles and just around the corner from the Anne Frank house and museum...

Canals still make up the largest transportation route through the inner city...

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The food in Amsterdam was exquisite... a raw herring sandwich, complete with raw onion and pickles from a canal side stand...

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More mussels, fries...

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and my daily glass of champagne...

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as well as these little pancakes (Poffertjes) for desert...

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gave us lots of energy for shopping and window shopping and the walking to take it all in...

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Corey, I took this picture just for you... these are pre-World War One Dresden Pot de Creme pots and tray... one pot was cracked, one was missing, and I will forever regret not emptying my suitcase to bring them home or calling you...

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My husband was so lucky and so relieved that this store was closed when we went by...

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but this one... was open...

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My stay in Amsterdam was such a small moment in time...

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But our stay there has filled me with a lifetime of thoughts and memories...

For those of you that are reading this from the Netherlands, I hope I have portrayed your beautiful city well from my short stay... I do know that the Netherlands and Amsterdam are not totally without the problems that other countries or cities have, but we found the inner city to be a model for how tolerance can be sweet, and far more conducive to civilized community than unnecessary repression. Things work there. The streets are clean, I felt safe no matter where I was, the shops as beautiful as Paris, and the citizens were kind, happy, helpful, and I thought quite resourceful with flying around on bicycles and living below the level of the sea...

© 2007 "Another Moment~ Amsterdam"  ~ For Writers Island