I love Amsterdam! This may have something to do with the contact high one gets while strolling through the center of town, but it doesn't diminish the fact that the Dutch seem to enjoy life.
We met two friends over there and had a lovely time, but then it is hard not to enjoy Amsterdam with it's canals, architecture, and happy residents zipping about on their bikes.We had cool but dry weather, perfect for wandering the city.
Sometimes I hate going into museums when the whole city itself is a giant gorgeous museum, but I got cold (shocking) so we went to the Rijksmuseum. I saw my first Vermeer through the 20 or so dumasses fresh off the tour bus who EACH had to have several pictures of themselves with the effing paintings. WTF. This is one of my new pet peeves (and I have many): people who take photos of paintings in museums, but then I am becoming a really intolerant byotch in my old age.
In case you want to know, we stayed at the Hotel Plantage. It is about a 10 minute walk east of the town center, which is nothing for us hardy Londoners. On a really cool note, my recent German lessons helped me out on this trip. Dutch is a strange sounding language to an English speaker. And while the Dutch are all polyglots, if their English wasn't so good, chances are they knew some German. It was nice not to have to revert to always pointing and grunting.
I know the Netherlands has their share of problems, but the Dutch have an appreciation for life that is SORELY lacking in the USA. You don't need a giant car, giant house, and lots of wasteful junk and expensive crap to be happy. You need time to enjoy life and ride your bike, the Dutch just seem to know this implicitly.
So here are a few Reasons Why Amsterdam Rocks:
- There is the obvious, marijuana smokers inside - dirty cigarette smokers outside. How civilized!
- A Dutch appreciation for the art in the everyday; kitchen utensils, clothing, household bits, shoes - they are just so well designed and interesting. All just to make life pleasant.
- A staggering variety of beverages at the cozy cafes: mint teas (see photo), krieks and Belgian ales served in half-pint glasses, strange colored sodas, mulled wines, ciders, etc.
- The most amazingly involved fathers I have ever seen (outside of Denmark).
- An appreciation for "different" clothing, hairstyles, lifestyles - it's all good. The Gap would fail here.
- BIKE EVERYWHERE - kids, adults, really old peeps, dogs, babies.....they are all on bikes no matter the weather, and have the right-of-way over cars. LOVE! And no one is overweight in Amsterdam, unless they happen to be British or American tourists.
- Glorious, slightly tilted 17th century architecture.
- People don't use their cell phones in the restaurants and cafes, they talk to each other - sorry, I just have cell phone rudeness overload lately.
- Pets allowed inside cafes and restaurants, this is cool in most of Europe too (OK, I have seen it in the UK, France, and Austria).
On a final note.....does this seem like an Oxymoron? Talk amongst yourselves.