New Year's Trip - Day Two

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thaioneon
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New Year's Trip - Day Two

Postby thaioneon » Tue Jan 10, 8:00 pm

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 28TH - DAY TWO

I got out of bed at 7:50am and went down to the hotel gym and worked out for about an hour. The facility was small and pretty basic, but served its purpose. Back upstairs for a much needed shower and then across Damstraat to Renees for some cappuccinos for M and myself. Upon return to the room, I had my first Amsterdam stoned moment, except I was totally sober! I dropped one of the coffees on the floor while trying to unlock the door with the card key. It dropped from a height of 4 feet and exploded upon impact, spewing hot brown venom all over the floor, the walls, and me. Damages to my clothes were minimal, thank goodness since I was already dressed for the day and I was able to clean up everything without too much trouble. But I suppose I’m just a klutz, since it appears as though these things tend to happen no matter what my state of mind!

Lady M was in the bathroom getting ready and got quite a chuckle out of this, especially since her cappuccino was safe and intact. She, of course made a feint offer to give me the remaining cup, but I could tell that she wanted it more than me, so I insisted that it was hers and she relented without further protest.

Our first stop as it was yesterday was the pofferjture stand on Dam Square and La Place for some banana-orange juice. At 11am, it seemed as though the city was just waking up. This was also very early for us as we normally don’t leave the room until after noon during our stays here.

Our next stop was the Abraxas coffeeshop just down the small alley off of Kalverstraat. We ordered a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and yes, containing also half a gram of hashish. This would be my first time catching a buzz in almost a year. We shared the drink, not quite equally as you can guess who drank the lion’s share of this very tasty aperitif. This really is a great place to hang out with a very chilled atmosphere and not too smoky at this time of the day. We sat in our favorite spot, the sofas on the first floor near the entrance, finished our drink and then continued our journey down the Nieuwesdijk Voorburgwaal and into an antiques shop across from the Historiche Museum. This place was very nice and great for browsing, but they had just sold their only tulipiere. The proprietor recommended we try the museum store across the street or another shop on the Rokin.

The museum store only had a paper tulipiere that was sort of a puzzle that you assembled. We thought it would be great for my nieces so we purchased it along with some tulip post its and left our order there to be picked up later. We then walked over to the Rokin and found the other shop without any trouble. This was one of those very high-end shops where you had to ring the bell to gain entry. There were some very nice antiques here but they informed us that they too had just sold their last tulipiere, so we continued down the Rokin to another recommended shop. It was run by a very nice elderly gentleman, who was the fourth generation proprietor of this wonderful shop filled with very interesting and beautiful high-end antiques. I was especially fond of an old back panel of a carriage, depicting Abraham about to slay his son and the divine intervention from above. A bit pricey at 8000 euros or perhaps not, I wasn’t familiar with the prices of these items, and besides, I don’t think I have a wall at home either large or strong enough to support this masterpiece. He informed us that he also had just sold his last tulipiere and that it sold for 7500 euros. It was now becoming very apparent that we should either try our luck in Delft or go back to the store on Spiegelsgracht and buy one of the smaller, newer ones.

We stopped for lunch at La Place in the V&D department store. While browsing the too numerous to mention delicacies on offer here, both M and I began to feel the effects of our hot chocolate drink from the Abraxas. As I waited for the shrimp to finish grilling, I saw M at the pizza/foccacia counter on the floor below and wondered if she was feeling the same. A smile and a knowing glance from her clued me in and she verified it a little later as we dined on our bounty of the grilled shrimp with cabbage and frites, roasted veggies (tomatoes, endives, zucchinis, and mushrooms) and a hunk of foccacia bread. We sat at a large communal table in the room overlooking the Rokin. The food was great and so was the view of the murals on the street below us. I was really starting to feel good and was ready to be outside as was M.

As soon as we started walking, I instantly felt the beat and rhythm of the city. I’m sure most of you understand what it is that I’m trying to express here. That special feeling you get navigating the streets of this incredible city while being stoned. It felt soooo good! We made our way along the Singel to the Koningsplein and down the Spiegelsgracht and back into the Heinen Delft store. We purchased the smaller tulipiere that we had admired yesterday and also a tray to go with it. M. most graciously insisted that we give this to my mother along with the tulipiere since they looked so good as an ensemble, even though she really loved the tray as well. I picked out a Christmas ornament in the same pattern and the gentleman wrapped all of the items in bubble wrap for us.

We then walked down the Prinsengracht and lo and behold, just before Leidsestraat we stumbled upon another Heinen Delft store. As soon as we entered, the first item M spotted in the display case was the larger version of the tulipiere that we had just purchased and that the gentleman in the other Heinen store said would take three months plus to have made. The clerk at this store graciously allowed us to exchange the smaller one for the larger and we were on our way.

We decided to head back to the room to unload our purchases and stopped at t’Hoppe on the Spui Square for an Amstel Gold and a jenever for M. We love this place with its sand covered floors and all the character you could expect from a dutch brown bar circa the 18th century.

We then returned to the museum store to retrieve our earlier purchases and then over to the Albert Heijn store for a six pack of Spa water for the room. We couldn’t resist stopping for the “world’s best hot ham sandwich” at the stand next to the poffertjures stand on Dam Square along the way back to the hotel. The sandwich was yummy but I had too big a bite and it got a little messy. No further details required.

We both laid down for awhile and as I typed Day One’s trip report on the laptop and rested my weary feet and bones, M slept beside me. We got up and ready to go out for dinner at around 6pm, drank a Christoffel Blonde ale, and then stopped at the Wynand and Fockink for a pear liquer and a de Rijk beer.

Then off to Café’ Bern for some fondue and entrecotte. Dinner was terrific and we got our window table at the front of the café’. We shared a Westmalle Tripel to wash down this delicious meal and bid farewell to Eva and strolled down the Zeeldijk feeling quite satisfied. Checked out the tiny Thai Bird Snackbar and vowed to return for a meal later in the trip. Then back over to the square to t’Loojse but it was still too crowded and smoky so we stopped at the Temple Bar a couple doors down for a café’ latte for me and an Irish coffee for M. We had a nice conversation with the barkeep and a couple of Americans in the bar as M’s favorite, Seal was playing over the speakers.

Back into the cold night air and a scenic tour through the red light district and over to Warmoesstraat and into the Hunter’s Vodka Bar for an Amstel Gold and to use their internet. This was our first visit to Hunter’s Bar newly opened sister establishment and we really liked it. Not as crowded or smoky here although it seems as though they do allow you to smoke weed in here, they just don’t sell it.

We decided to stop in de Kuil and played a few games of backgammon over a couple of Amstels. M kicked my arse three times and reveled in her success (and luck)! This place is still probably my favorite in the city and definitely the one where I feel most at home.

We then headed back to the hotel and purposely detoured a bit up the Damrak and down the little alley just before Dam Square in search of the elusive Café’ Belgique. M spotted the La Chouffe sign and in we went. The café’ was crowded, so we ordered our beverages and stood near the entrance, waiting for a seat to become available, or not. It didn’t really matter as just being inside this incredible place and drinking this incredible beer (M had a La Chouffe and I a Vlo Speciale, both on draft) was a more than satisfying way to end our second night. As it tuned out, seats at the table next to the bar did become available for us.

We stopped at Renee’s and picked up a chocolate covered and filled croissant and an apple pastry covered with powdered sugar for the room on our way home. Feeling totally satisfied, I fell into a sound sleep but M laid awake half the night as she was still having trouble adjusting to the difference in time. Maybe it pays to stay up on the flight over, be totally exhausted after the first day, and try to sleep only at night.

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skyhigh420
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Postby skyhigh420 » Tue Jan 10, 8:20 pm

Excellent read!! Now for day three............

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hank
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Postby hank » Wed Jan 11, 6:31 pm

Great trip report, gotta love the Belgian beer. Thanks for the uplifting read.

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JohnnyHempseed
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Postby JohnnyHempseed » Mon Jan 23, 4:34 am

pardon my ignorance, but what is a "tulipiere"?

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thaioneon
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Postby thaioneon » Mon Jan 23, 1:57 pm

Not a problem. I didn't know what it was either until recently. A tulipiere is a vase that has many individual slots, each of which hold a tulip.


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