Another Precarious Climb? Yes!

20120915-084639.jpgFirst day in Amsterdam and we started out the morning foraging for food. This is my fault. The hotel was charging quite a bit for breakfast, so I decided it would be better to just stop at a cafe for a quick bite. This would have worked in Italy, Britain, or Austria. Not so much here. Even though the hotel is near the most expensive stores in town, it isn’t near a cafe. At all. We eventually found something but it wasn’t great.

From there we went to the Anne Frank House. This was a humbling experience. It is hallowed ground. It is so incredibly personal and moving, that I am at a loss for snark.

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Ok – well there is some amusement to be had. I sometimes worry about mom’s balance – she has had some significant falls over the years, and as we were climbing the stairs I was a bit concerned. They are steep – very steep. They are, for all intents and purposes, ladders by the time you get to the top of the house. I had mom climb in front of me and basically kept a hand on her ass to help maintain stability. Fortunately we made it through safely.

The importance of this site as a place of pilgrimage was reinforced for both of us, when we noted a frail woman, older than mom, walking with a cane, who made the same trek.

After this we stopped at the Tulip Museum. It had flowers so I thought mom would like it, and I guess she did. It was cute, with a brief overview of the history of the tulip that was fairly interesting.

From here we stopped at the cafe down the street and had lunch. Mom had mushroom soup and bread with Brie.

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After considering my options I had a local beer and the meat croquettes. Today’s croquettes were much better. I still don’t know what the Asianoid flavor is, but these paired fairly well with mustard and I would get them again.

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I offered mom some options for sights, and she wanted to go to the flower market, so we found ourselves walking through stalls with incredible arrays of bulbs. As a bonus, they are cheap bulbs, to boot. There are few we can take back home, however, which is a disappointment to mom, so we are left to covet.

After the bloemmarkt we are no place near a tram, so are forced to begin walking toward our hotel quite a ways away. The walk takes us past the original Heineken brewery. For numerous reasons, including very positive ratings on TripAdvisor, we thought it reasonable to stop in. As it turns out, TripAdvisor reviews are largely written by 20 year old students, and I will never trust it again. I just paid how much for a Heineken commercial? Wow that sucked. The only revelation is that Heineken tastes much better in Amsterdam than it does in the US. Still, I could have learned this anywhere in the city.

From there we were ready to start thinking about dinner. I have no reservations so turn to TripAdvisor (what?!) now reading the content and tone of the the reviews more closely. I have had difficulty finding traditional Dutch food, so the next closest is Indonesian. We find a restaurant, Kartika, near the hotel and head over.

We order a rijstaffel, which means “rice table.” It is a Dutch take on traditional Indonesian fare. They have a few options and we trust the waitress who recommends one of the cheaper ones as being a better introduction.

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What arrived are a number of dishes I mostly can’t identify, except for the satay, which was the best, by far, that I have ever eaten in my life.

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This was an outstanding meal, and I am thrilled with our choice.

Tomorrow, Van Gogh.

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