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WEST EU 09 #11 AMSTERDAM CANALS
Saturday, June 13, 2009
We are not here now to tour Amsterdam but for me to give a course at this SOE Meeting. We will come back here later in the trip when we tour all of The Netherlands. Thus this Diario is not about the famous places here like the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum but rather what we experienced during this weekend including an impromptu tour of the canals by private boat.
I was awoken at 7:35 AM by a call from our UK friend Brian Thornhill to discuss meeting up with them somewhere along on this trip. I then took a cab to the SOE Meeting at the RAI International Exhibit and Congress Center at Europaplein which I paid to attend since I have a course to give later. I listened to lectures on cataract surgery and then caught a cab back to the hotel. I learned today that "erg lekker" means "very good" in Dutch, which is a useful term.
At 1:15 PM, I got myself together to go for my run. The Mercure Hotel surrounds a small courtyard and the main entrance is in the back on the left (below) where the the cars are parked. They tucked our Peugeot up against the building on the right side.
As I walked down our little quiet side street (below left) from the hotel to the main drag (Vijzelgracht,) I came across this little Smartcar completely covered with graffiti.
At 2:00 PM I found a little place around the corner to have a cappuccino. It's called Panini Café [Vijzelgracht 3, +31-20-626-4939] and two cappuccinos cost me €4.20.
[Prices must have gone up €0.20 in the past four years (above right.)]
You can see the building is undergoing some updating so its not vey picturesque. Note the typical Dutch architecture especially at the tops of the buildings.
They have some seats outside but I decided to go inside.
It was a little crowded on the first level so I went upstairs to the second.
I was here to get some work done, so at 2:15 PM I took care of my photos, updated my CV and then started working on my slides for my talks at the meeting, especially my long course I have to give.
At 3:00 PM my colleague, Frans Versteeg, called and told me to try the Westerkerk church near the Anne Frank House for Mass. Unfortunately, it's a Protestant church, so I needed to find somewhere else. Since my course was Sunday morning, I would have little likelihood of making it to Mass. So I will try to go now. At 4:15 PM I left here, went back to the hotel and changed into my running gear. At 4:25 PM Marcia had to buy three contact lens solutions at Optilens [Muntplein 2.] By 4:45 PM I was running down Nooderstraat heading to church. To get a feel of the city, below are some of the scenes I caught along the way.
As I was running across this bridge I got a shot of one of the ubiquitous "party bikes." They are a rolling bar that seats up to 17 people and the bartender serves them drinks as they all help peddle the whole thing around the city. It is run by DamTours and you hire it at +31-65-185-0805. There is a minimum of two and a maximum of 17. Every two hours cost €425 (2-8) or €485 (9-17) and it includes 30 liters of beer, a free sober driver, insurance for damages and adjustable seat heights. Starting times are every 2 hours starting at 10 AM and ending at 10 PM.
Below left is the route the Party Bikes take starting from near the train station.
Here is a cute shot of a little kid trying out the oversized wooden shoes. Next to him is a stand with "funny" cards for sale. You can see that marijuana is a big thing here.
So big, you can get a map (below) to all the legal "coffee shops" where you can go and smoke the stuff. Below right is an example of a "coffeeshop" menu. Needless to say we didn't need the map; wine and beer are enough for us.
I ran past the NH Doelen Hotel [Nieuwe Doelenstraat 26, +31-20-554-0600] which looked very nice and has reasonable prices.
Here are examples of the street scenes.
I then wended my way by the Hotel l'Europa.
This time there were a number of people eating at the restaurant along the shore.
It's called the Excelsior and is near the bar we enjoyed last night.
Across the street is the Munt Tower (see yesterday.)
Their modern tram system is quite a contrast to what I saw when I arrived here the first time in 1974. There were art galleries with marble statues such as this one of a mother holding up her baby.
As can be seen by the map below, I wound up at the corner of Spui and Voetboogstraat (tiny red box) near the American Book Center (Spui 12, +31-20-625-5537) (above right,) where you can publish your own book.
There is quite a busy park nearby with the usual glut of bicycles. On the map, you can see the church I am heading for, De Krijtberg on the left bank of the Singel (stock photo below left.)
Here is an example again of how careful you have to be when running; dodging trams, cars, pedicabs, pedestrians and bicycles. It really is dangerous if not attentive. Across the canal I could see the De Krijtberg church (below right.)
Every corner seems to have a coffeshop or cafe. Lanskroon Koffie en Gebak is at 387 Singel (left.)
There was a shop with these little characters in the window.
I crossed to the other side of the Singel and at 5:00 PM I bought a pin for €3. While I was doing that, Marcia was buying books at the New English Bookstore [Kalverstraat 223, +31-20-624-9789.]
I attended the 5:15 PM Mass at De Krijtberg (St. Francis Xavier.) The church was designed by Alfred Tepe and was opened in 1883. The Sunday 9:30 is a High Mass and the 11:00 AM is a Latin Mass. It was very nice inside.
They had something I have never seen before; a pad (below right) hanging on a hook that you could place on the kneeler to make it more comfortable.
After Mass I had to head back.
I then passed the Blumenmarkt (Flower Market) noting the expected tulips. Note the Cannabis Starter kit for €6 in the lower left (below right.)
Then, of course, the wooden shoes and other souvenirs.
Of course the McDonald's is right next door to The National Health Company.
I wound up back on Vijzelstraat.
Below is my mandatory manhole cover, for Amsterdam. How many bridges can you count?
I thought this building, the Netherlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, rather quaint with the figure on the left very shy and modest and the other obviously not. The NHM is called the successor of the United East India Company, which was privately held yet fostered trade with the Dutch East Indies. In the 1920s their headquarters moved to this building designed by Karel de Bazel (1869-1923) on the Vijzelstraat, now known as "The Basel." After their merger with the Twentsche Bank in 1964, the company, under the name General Bank Netherlands, ABN, became one of the largest banking companies in the Netherlands.
I walked back to the hotel and changed. Then at 6:45 PM, Marcia and I got a cab to the RAI where the SOE meeting is being held so as to make some contacts. We arrived at 7:00 PM for the SOE Welcome Reception and we met a colleague from Slovenia, Dr. Franc Salamun (left,) our friend from Slovakia, Prof Milan Izák (right,) and ...
... Dr. Frans Versteeg (below right.) Claus Dreher of Zeiss (below left) got us some free Heinekens; I had five of them while we chatted. I met Dr. Versteeg through an "out-of-the-blue" email he sent me asking if I would send him some published papers. My initial response was that I didn't have time to look them up, download them and send them. Then I relented and did it and told him he "owed me a beer" if I ever get to Amsterdam. He said he would not only buy me a beer but take me on a boat ride through the canals.
At Frans' suggestion, at 8:00 PM, we took a cab to dinner.
At 8:15 PM we arrived at Klein Kalfje (The Small Calf) [Amsteldijk-Noord 355, +31-20-644-5338] with Claus and Frans who specifically brought us here. This was originally a historic tollbooth along the Amstel River in 1910 and became a widely known inn with ladies of easy virtue.
We looked over the menu (available at their website) and Claus (below with Marcia) and I enjoyed some excellent Wieckse Weissbier. The Wieckse Witte is brewed in Netherlands by Heineken and true to the Belgian Ale style.
I took a walk outside and took these photos of the nearby Amstel River.
We are in the Gemeente Amstelveen (Municipality of Amstelveen) south of Amsterdam.
Below center is their outside eating area along the river. The sign (left) directs to the Amstel dike and tells us this is the Zuider (South) Amstel.
I went inside and got some shots of their interior dining areas and the bar which was empty because everyone was outside on this beautiful evening.
I had chicken curry soup (Kip-kerriesoep) (below left.) Marcia and Claus had a salad of wild spinach with fried crayfish tails with garlic dressing (Salde van wilde spinazie met gefrituurde rivierkreeftstaartjes een knoflookdressing) (below right.)
Marcia had white wine, a 2008 Hoya de Cadenas Blanco and for her entrée, three Slip Tongues (sole) in butter fried with ravigotte sauce (Sliptongen in de roomboter gebakken met een ravigottesaus.) The sauce is a French one, highly seasoned with chopped, sautéed shallots or onion, capers and herbs.
I had a filet with creamy garlic sauce and green peas along with French fries (Tournados met een romige knoflookpepersaus.)
It was all very good and we had a very enjoyable time. At 11:25 PM we took a cab back to town which cost us €22. What was interesting was that the cab driver had a built-in TV in the car (below) and he sang Elvis songs to us all the way there. We dropped Claus off at the Cotizen (his hotel,) and then he went by the red light area and ended up at our hotel at 11:45 PM and found our way downstairs to Amin's bar in the basement of the hotel. I had a Heineken and Marcia a wine. Amin (below left) recently took over this facility for Mercure and was very proud to show his certificate he was given by Accor.
The place was very well set up and a lot of other people were enjoying it.
It wound up being a very romantic evening and we got to bed at 12:35 AM.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We have now been in the EU for two weeks and in the Netherlands for six days.
I woke at 5:30 AM, 7:50 (from a dream,) 9:15, 9:55 (dream,) and I got up at 10:25 because we were going to meet my colleague, Frans Versteeg, for "brunch" at the Hotel l'Europe. The background on this was that Frans has his own boat and kindly offered to take Marcia and I for a boat trip through the canals of the city. How could one pass up an opportunity like this. It's an easy walk from our hotel to the l'Europe and we got there at 11:25 and sat in the waiting are (below left.) After 30 minutes, Frans finally arrived and took us into the dining area which was almost empty.
Frans (below left) recommended we have this apple pie (below) with whipped cream that they are famous for. I had just a bite with my cappuccino. Marcia enjoyed it very much.
When we were done, Frans took us outside to where his boat was tied up along the canal. The city is covered with water. You can see from the maps below the many canals that permeate the city in rings.
Here is aerial photos of this unique city. On the right is the Amstel River.
Marcia told me, "Whatever you do, don't take photos of me getting in the boat!" She made it in easily.
As Frans steered us away from the hotel (on the right,) you can see the many covered tour boats plying the canals.
Going along, we have to go under many bridges that have to cross all the many canals. We came across many of these bird's nests in the trash in the canals. To see a video of them building a nest out of canal trash, click HERE. There is another ONE with white swans doing it. There was this sign noting a zinc pipe sewer (zinkbuis riolering.)
I found out that these birds are Eurasian Coots.
I could have selected just a few photos of this boat trip but this is what Amsterdam is about so instead I have chosen to include all of them so as to give you a feeling of what it is really like plying these canals. For those not interested, obviously you can just scroll past it. Ignore the red leaves on the trees and on the water; it is not fall, they are artifacts due to a camera screwup. We are approaching the Montelbaans Tower (below center.)
Below center, you see one of the many house boats that are moored along the canals. Then we came upon the Montelbaanstoren (below right.)
The Montelbaanstoren was originally built in 1512 as a piece of the protective city wall that still stands today. It is one of just a few small sections that remain throughout the city. The addition of a decorative spire and clock in 1606 was designed by Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621) (right) who did a lot of work in the city (list below.)
It's located at Oude Schans canal and stands much as it was in 1512 (stock photo below left.) On the right is an old etching of the many classical towers in the city.
The listing is (from L-R) Hakingpakkers Toren, Jan Roodepoorts Toren, Zuiderkerks Toren, Westerkerks Toren, Oude Kerks Toren, Montelbaans Toren and Reguliers Toren.
After the clock was added, the tower garnered the nickname "Silly Jack," or "Malle Jaap" in Dutch, because the clock's bells were rather unreliable and rang at strange times of the day or wouldn't ring at all for days on end. Today, it houses the offices of the city's Department of Sewage and Water Management.
He took us out into this large basin area with large ships and buildings.
Notice you can rent boats like those below (left) by going to www.canal.nl [ +31-205-3303.] We then came across the replica ship "Amsterdam" and the Scheepvaart Museum [Kattenburgerplein 1, +31-20-523-2222] which is housed in a nearby picturesque 17th-Century warehouse (stock photo below.) This museum focuses on the glorious and proud nautical history of the Dutch and is costly at €12-15 for entry.
[Dutch maritime history. Reopened Oct 2011 after renovations since Jan 2007. We couldn't have gone in anyway.]
Below right is the Scheepvaart Museum building.
Nearby the ship, we then went by the Science Center NEMO (above right, and below) [Oosterdok 2, +31-20-531-3233] in a building that looks like a sinking ship.
Inside the lobby of the NEMO there is a small cafeteria and gift shop. the 1st floor has DNA and chain reactions (below left) which include a room with giant dominoes with contraptions like a giant bell and a flying car. On the 2nd floor is a ball factory where small plastic balls are sent on a circuit where participants are asked to group them in weight, size and color and then send them to a packing facility where the balls go into a small metal box. There are five stations at which people stick magnetic barcodes on the boxes and send them off to start the circuit again. Also there is a movie and performance hall where various acts and movies about science are shown. In addition there a display on the water cycle, a display on electricity and a display on metals and buildings.
The 3rd floor has a giant science lab in which people can do science experiments. There is also a small section on money and business. On the 4th floor is a section about the human mind, it has such experiments as memory tests, mind problems and sense testers (above right.) The 5th floor (upper deck) has a cafeteria, a children's play area and a great view of the city surroundings.
Then we went by the Muziekgebouw Aan 't ij [Piet Heinkade 1, +31-20-788-2000] which is a large concert hall near the passenger terminal.
Here is the link to the Ticket Office where you can hear excerpts of upcoming performances. Below are stock photos of the exterior and the interior of the music hall.
Then we went by some of the large cruise ships moored near the passenger terminal (below left.)
Above leftt is the train and ship passenger terminal. As we pulled away, Frans asked Marcia if she wanted to steer the boat and she happily took over the rudder. She really enjoyed this even if it got a little scarier for her when we got into the tighter canals.
We then headed to the floating Chinese Restaurant called the Sea Palace [Oosterdokskade 8, +31-20-626-4777]. He didn't say whether it was any good.
We smoothly floated past the Scheepvaarthuis (The Shipping House) at Prins Hendrikkade. It was built in 1913 as a joint office for six Amsterdam shipping companies and considered the first building in the style of the Amsterdam School of architecture. It was erected on the spot where, in 1595, Cornelis Houtman's first trip to the East Indies left from.
The stock photo below is much clearer. On the right is an example of the art deco interior.
Now we are approaching the impressive Centraal Station that you can see on the right side (below left.) It was designed by PJ Cuypers and built in 1881-9. Since we arrived by car and will not set foot in this beautiful structure, I'm including some stock photographs of this classic Amsterdam structure.
Here are stock photos of the interior.
We were now heading back into the central city and had to get there through that tiny tunnel (below right.) You can see the three spires of the Catholic Basilica of Sint-Nicolaaskerk (above & below right) [Prins Hendrikkade 73, +31-20-624-8749] which is in the Nieuwe Zijlde (New Side) section of the city. It was built in 1887 and designed by Adrianus Bleijs (1842-1912).
Since we won't get a chance to visit it, here are some stock photos of this important church.
Here are stock photos of the interior.
Marcia did an excellent job steering us through that tunnel and into ...
... the much tighter canal with some pretty heavy traffic.
After we went under this bridge, my eye went right to Molly Malone's Irish Pub [Oudezijds Kolk 9, +31-20-624-1150] which is an excellent Irish Pub right next door to the France Hotel [Oudezijds Kolk 11, +31-20-535-3777.] Above right is a photo of the famous statue of Molly Malone on Grafton St in Dublin, Ireland. The maps below show you where we are now.
You can see St. Nicolaas in the background as we went down Oudezijds (Old Hand) Voorburg Wal.
We then went past the Oude Kerk (Old Church) [Oudekerksplein 23, +31 20 625 8284] which is the oldest building in the city and the oldest parish church. It was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint (below.)
After the Reformation in 1578, it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is called the Oudekerksplein. Nearby is the Dread Rock (below right) [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 67] one of the many "Coffeeshops" selling maijuana.
[The Dread Rock is now closed.]
Since we won't go inside, here are stock photos of the Calvinist Oudeskerk.
Below left is The Bull Dog Pub [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 220, +31-20-620-3822] which started as a "Coffeeshop" in 1975 (the first) and built an empire including a 5-star Hostel, the Bull Dog Hotel (below right) which has rooms for €30-45 and an apartment for €80. I guess they allow smoking pot throughout the place.
Below left is a building built in 1688. Then came the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky [Dam 9, +31-20-554-9111] that charges a minimum of €150 for a room.
It is on the Dam Square (below left) where the Royal Palace is (below right.)
We must have been in the red light district because we went by "Sexy Amsterdam" and "Erotica Sexshop."
We passed many more "coffeeshops" including Susie's Saloon [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 254, +31-20-622-8912,] Rick's Cafe and Coffeeshop [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 252, +31-20-622-9655] (below left) and a live music joint called Rock Planet [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 246, +31-20-421-6400] (below right.)
Then we passed the Grand Sofitel hotel [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197, +31-20-555-3111] where we could have stayed using our Accor card but didn't because they charge about €500 for a room.
Then there was the Diabolo Shop [Nieuwe Hoogstraat 22, +31-20-623-4506] which sells male and female gothic (left,) fetish (center) and punk (right) fashions. You can see there is a theme here in Amsterdam.
Here is my best example to demonstrate the reason for the red water and red leaves. Prior to today I was experimenting with many of the diverse features of this camera. One of them was about replacing colors and while trying it, I didn't realize that it kept the setting of replacing a specific color with this red color. I didn't discover it until later in the day. Here is a comparison of the same scene with the two camera settings.
Here you can see the red water and leaves. It can't be fixed with PhotoShop.
I then got this photo of the equestrian statue of Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962,) sculpted in bronze by Theresia R. van der Pant and placed here on Rokin St in 1972. She reigned during both World Wars and was much beloved by the Dutch people.
Below left is her portrait in 1898, and center is her photo in 1942. She addressed the U.S. Congress on August 5, 1942 (below right,) and was the first queen to ever do so.
Here are some perfect examples of the Dutch architecture. Note the common hook and line at the top of many of the buildings (below right.) They are used to hoist large and heavy objects to the upper floors.
Now we get back to the l'Europe Hotel.
Graffiti is quite common in the tunnels.
At 2 PM Frans decided we needed a little break and moored the boat alongside a place where we could get off. Frans helped Marcia navigate the canal fence and then she wandered over to the flower market and bought some prints at Antique and Prints [Singel 496, +31-20-625-5578] (below right) and ...
... then Frans brought us to Replay Café (below) [Singel 461, +31-20-422-8890] at 2:15 PM and I had a cappuccino.
Frans' wife Leoni (below) joined us there and we had a chance to meet. She is very lovely and nice. They had these very nice mosaics in the floor.
While the three of them enjoyed some lunch, I walked around outside and found that right next door there was a huge shopping center called the Kalvertoren.
At 2:45 PM we all got back into the boat and headed out again through the canals into the red light district again. As you can see Marcia relinquished the rudder back to Frans.
Then we came up upon the Anne Frank House (museum) (above right and below) [Prinsengracht 267, +31-20-556-7100] and there was a huge line waiting to get in.
We then started down Prinsengraht and came upon the Westerkerk and Westertoren (steeple) [Prinsengracht 281, +31-20-624-7766.]
This is a Protestant church which was commissioned to be built by the City Council and was built between 1620 and 1631 with Hendrick de Keyser (see above) the architect. Above and below are my photos of this, the tallest 279 ft (85 m) church spire in the city.
Here are stock photos of the exterior of the church.
Since I'm not going to climb the tower, here are stock photos of the view from it.
Since we will not get inside, here are stock photos of the pulpit (left) and the beautiful organ.
Here is the side aisle (left) and the imperial crown (center) at the top of the steeple which was built in 1638. In 1906, to celebrate Rembrandt's 300th birthday, the color of the crown was changed from blue to golden yellow but for his 400th birthday in 2006, the color was restored to its original blue. The memorial plaque states that Rembrandt is buried here, yet the church website makes no mention of it. Wikipedia states "he was buried in an unmarked grave in the Westerkerk."
The church sexton's house is right next door, at #281. On the little square in front of his house is the statue of Anne Frank (below left,) a popular photo object for tourists. The Anne Frank House is a little further down.
Other examples of the many houseboats moored along the canal.
We went by the Diem Gallery (below left) [Prinsengracht 821, +31-20-623-5000.]
Peter Diem (below center) is a well-respected Dutch artist with his own studio. He is known for his flying cows, but I enjoyed his renditions of Porches (below right.)
It was now time to end our boat tour so Frans pulled up along side the canal and let us off. We said our good-byes and he whirled around and took off. We are very appreciative for this very special experience that we will never forget.
We casually walked back to the hotel at 3:30 PM. On the way back, next door to the hotel, I came across this black cat just relaxing on the black iron chair. Here (right) is the funny key for our room similar to one we have seen before. At 4:15 PM I added €20 to my phone using one of the Hi phone cards.
At 4:30 PM, I sent a text message to our three children saying "Mom drove boat through canals of Amsterdam." Kevin responded with "WOW," Kristin with "Really cool" and Jeff with "Is that a good thing?" I then changed into my running gear and at 4:55 PM I started my run down Vijzelgracht street to Sarphatipark in the middle of the trendy De Pijp area. I usually don't do parks but decided this would be safer than dodging all the vehicles. Upon entering the park I came across this lovely little lake.
The park was designed in 1885 and named after the physician, philanthropist and city planner, Dr. Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866.) He was a Portuguese Sephardic Jew and did a lot for the poor people of this area. In 1942, the park was renamed "Bollandpark" after the Dutch philosopher, G.J.P.J. Bolland, because Sarphati was a Jew. The name was restored after the war in 1945. The Dutch painter Samuel Schwarz and his wife Else Berg lived adjacent to the park from 1927 until their deportation and execution at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942. Some of their last works were landscape paintings of the park. As you can see there are a lot of people enjoying the park. It was a nice safe place to run, I have to admit.
I then came across the monument to Dr. Sarphati in the center of the park (a different link.)
Here is a stock photo of the monument which was designed by J.R. Kruyff in 1886. The Nazis had removed the statue and 12 days after WWII it was replaced.
This place was truly idyllic.
There were a lot of people having parties and get-togethers.
The paths were easy on the feet for running and they were quite adventurous and exhilarating.
I made my way back to the entrance as I finished my run back at the lake.
As I kept walking back on the streets (Van Ostadestraat) I came across the Oranjekerk [Tweede van der Helststraat 1-3] which is a Protestant church. The sign below reads "Gierzwaluwkolonie in die Oranjekerktoren" which means "The Swallow colony in the Orange Church Tower."
Below is my shot of the front of the church and a stock photo of the steeple. On the right is one of the ubiquitous advertising columns you see all over the city.
I then walked by the Eddy Bar (below left) [Gerard Doustraat 58, +31-20-673-4385] where they have a nearby statue (below right) in honor of André Gerardus Hazes (right) (1951-2004) who was a Dutch singer in a genre called "levenslied" (song about life) which is a form of emotional folk music about everyday life sung in the Dutch language. He was one of the most successful singers in this genre and recorded 31 studio and live albums and released 54 singles.
I continued on and then found the Coffee Company [Ferdinand Bolstraat 38, +31-20-573-0000]. This is the chain that I found on earlier trips and they have free WiFi.
I then came across O'Donnell's Irish Pub [Ferdinand Bolstraat 5, +31-20-676-7786] in the historic district of De Pijp.
Here is what the interior looks like.
Then I came upon the Cafe Kale de Grote [Marie Heinekenplein 33, +31-20-670-4661].
They have a Torture Museum [Singel 449, ++31-20-320-6642] if you are interested.
The map shows where it is (big "T") as well as other sites.
By 5:40 PM, I arrived at the Heineken Museum (also known as the "Heineken Experience.") This industrial facility was built as the first Heineken brewery in 1867, serving as the company's primary brewing facility until 1988 when a more modern, larger facility was constructed on the outskirts of the city.
I decided to go inside, but had no plans to spend the time and money to do a brewery tour.
I took a few photos of the ad signs in the lobby and then purchased a bag for €7 and left.
As I crossed the bridge I came across the Amsterdam Canal Cruises station with their boats lined up. They run from €13-15.5 a person depending on the time of day. They also have 4-course dinner cruises for €62.5.
I then came upon this brick wall with a quote on it. Stock photo right.
It says "een volk dat voor tirrannen zwicht zal meer, dan liif en goed verliezen dan dooft het licht..." which means ...
... "people who yield to tyrants will lose more than life and property but more than that extinguish the light ..." It is a quote from Hendrick Mattheus van Randwijk (1909-1966) who was a famous resistance fighter, writer, and publisher in Holland. His most famous work was the Chronicle of the Resistance 1940-1945.
Have I ever mentioned pannekoeken? They are Dutch pancakes and are usually larger (up to a foot in diameter) and much thinner than American pancakes. They may incorporate slices of bacon, apples, cheese, or raisins. Plain ones are often eaten with treacle (syrup made of sugar beets) or powdered sugar and are sometimes rolled up to be eaten by hand. The basic ingredients are flour, milk, salt, and eggs. Here is the RECIPE. I went by De Carrousel [Tweede Weteringplantsoen 1, +31-20-625-8002] where that's what they sell. I passed on getting one. Below right is stock photo of one with cheese.
The inside is shaped like a carrousel; below right is one with apples.
At 6:05 PM I finally arrived back at our room and changed for dinner. At 6:15 PM Marcia and I walked down Nieuespiegelstraat to our dinner destination.
We had been invited by Frans and Leoni to join them as their guests at a corporate dinner they had been invited to. At 6:30 PM we arrived at Basta e Pasta [Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 8, +31-20-422-2222] (above) and joined Frans and Leonie at their table.
They first offered us a 2008 white Trebbiano d'Abbruzzo wine followed by a 2008 red Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Multipulciano d'Abruzzo along with Pellegrino water. During the dinner there were very good singers, all hosted by Allergan.
This was really one heck of a dinner. We started with a beautiful antipasti misti (below left) and then a wonderful, truly Italian, vitello tonnato (below right,) both of which were very good.
Then we had a pasta of penne Bolognese.
This was followed by two more paste; shrimp with shells and ravioli filled with ricotta cheese. Wow.
For desert (dolci) they served us gelato with frutti di bosco as well as profiteroles and crepes.
They served us cold limoncello and I had a cappuccino. We met George Kounis, PhD (below center,) a laser physicist from Heraklion, on the Greek island of Crete. We had a good time with him and a wonderful dinner.
We headed out for the Leidseplein and on the way we walked by the house where our 2nd President, John Adams, lived when he was our 1st Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1781-1782. This was a surprise.
The John Adams Institute (below) [West-Indisch huis, Herenmarkt 97, +31-20-624-7280] maintains the place and promotes dialogue between Americans and the Dutch. In that little white building is where the Governors of the Dutch West India Company made the decision to build a fort on Manhattan Island; the founding of New York City.
The Leidseplein is one of the busiest centers for nightlife in the city. Historically, the square was the end of the road from Leiden and served as a parking lot for horse-drawn traffic. Today modern traffic travels through the square and the side streets are packed with restaurants and nightclubs. The Stadsschouwburg theater (below left) is the most notable architectural landmark on the square and the American Hotel is close by. We arrived at Korte Leidsedwars Straat, a busy side street off the Leidseplein .
Here is my pan shot of where we were and below is a stock panorama after dark taken in 2008.
You can see the Stadsschouwburg theater above at the left. Here is the Leidseplein Theater where the American improv troupe Boom Chicago, is one of Amsterdam's biggest success stories. With several different shows running seven nights a week (not Sundays in winter,) all in English, the group offers a mix of audience-prompted improvisation and rehearsed sketches. Heineken Late Nite is particularly rewarding: if the improvisers like your suggestion, you get a free beer. The bar offers cocktails and DJs, and is something of an unofficial meeting point for countless wayward Americans; a restaurant serves lunch from noon until 4pm daily. They even publish a free magazine for visitors that are new to Amsterdam. All in all, a genuine cultural movement in an unexpected form. Now they are doing "Yankee Come Back" for the City of Amsterdam's 400 Year celebration of the Dutch settlement of New York.
We went inside and got an after dinner drink with a colleague, Oliver Findl, MD from Vienna (left) and Claus Dreher of Zeiss (right.)
After enjoying our time there, we walked back to our hotel and got back in the room at 11:45 PM. I spent some time fixing the photo chips and moving pictures and then got to bed at 12:45 AM.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #12
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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