Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Memories Of Amsterdam

If President’s Choice ever comes out with an Amsterdam addition to their “Memories of…” sauces, I highly recommend some of this stuff here.

So I have returned home and am doing a final recap of my trip to buy time while I get the music part of my brain back online. Some of you may find it interesting, some of you may not, but either way, we should be back to normal tomorrow. But until then…

I think the thing I found most surprising about Amsterdam was its modernity. While respectful of its history, it doesn’t seem beholden to it. There’s no attempt to preserve the past in a time capsule – tram lines are laid down cobblestone streets hundreds of years old and 17th century canal houses are just as lived in as they were 400 years ago, with clubs, restaurants, shops and homes. The central part of the city is also incredibly dense and no friend to right angles – there are so many small streets, canals and bridges that trying to make use of any as landmarks is kind of futile, or at least I found it so. Much of my time was spent just wandering aimlessly, looking at stuff that I may well have already looked at before, but couldn’t really remember if I did. I also found everything especially grey and drab, but that’s surely a consequence of my being there in mid-February, when most of the northern hemisphere is grey and drab. I’m sure it’d be a much more striking and colourful town in the Summer. And less cold.

I’d been told before I went that language wouldn’t be a problem, that everyone spoke English. This was true – however, their signs were all in Dutch. And their menus. Which is why I subsisted mainly on a diet of french fries with mayonnaise and shwarma for the past week – besides the fact that anything fancier is pretty damned expensive, those were about the only things I could reliably understand what I was getting. the Dutch people were generally very nice and understanding when I didn’t realize that you have to push the button to open the tram doors. They’re also incredibly tall, every last one of them. Maybe something to do with growing up below sea level (less gravity?). I dunno.

I’d like to thank Blogads and for putting together this Bloggers In Amsterdam junket and for sending me on it. I was pretty much left completely alone while over there, so I hope they got what they wanted out of it. I certainly had a good time of it, wandering, museum-hopping, catching some shows and meeting other bloggers. And ingesting way too much starch.

And one final question – why, when the country’s flag is red, white and blue, is their national colour orange?

np – Beth Orton / Comfort Of Strangers

By : Frank Yang at 8:54 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this post12 Responses.
  1. Ryan Waddell says:

    I think the Orange thing comes from the House of Orange-Nassau (…) – the family that organized the original Dutch revolt against Spain which led to an independent Dutch state. Just a guess though.

    As for food – you definitely weren’t eating at the right restaurants. Every single restaurant I ate in had a dutch menu and an english one. The english might have been smaller, or in a different part of the menu (many of them had a dutch section at front, english at the back), or a separate menu altogether, but we were always able to get an english menu.

  2. Frank says:

    thanks for the orange info. And the language thing wasn’t as much a deterrant as the prices…

  3. Miss E says:

    Oh man, frites sauce. I was in Amsterdam briefly six years ago, and I still haven’t gotten over fries + frites sauce + the chaotic streets around the Leidesplein

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh, man. For the best Frites and sauce combo, you gotta go to their homeland: Belgium.


  5. Five17 says:

    I believe Ryan is right. I recall being told that the only reason carrots are orange… the Dutch

  6. Karl says:

    I saw that picture of the Heinz bottle and immediately thought, "Pulp Fiction."

  7. Quinn says:

    As a fan of fries, I think I definitely need to get my friend who’s on exchange in Amsterdam to bring me some of that back.

  8. Jessi says:

    Oh, I love my country. Especially when you write about it! *grin* Come back anytime.

  9. LadyMoonlight says:

    Yes, everyone is soooo tall, but then I am short so it was kind of the normal thing for me.
    Amsterdam is a magic city, I enjoyed every corner of it but specially Van Gogh museum. What really surprised me was how expensive and difficult it was to get a parking space.
    Now, if you go to Amsterdam and do not try the fabulous Febo kroket you will be missing a super flavor and it takes only one Euro to open one of those little windows with such a suprb gift for your tongue… Yummy!!!!!

  10. BetweenTheBars says:

    Hey, I’ve been happily enjoying your site for at least a year now. Recently started a blog of my own and mentioned you in a round-up of my daily music surfing, so I thought it’d be nice to link you. The site: The blog isn’t nearly as organized or consistent as it will be, but I’m making progress. Comments welcome and encouraged.

  11. Abrab Strap-s Last Romance says:

    Yes, Amsterdam. The hookers are amazing!

  12. Arne Mellaard says:

    Orange is the colour of the royal family (Oranje-Nassau). Good thing you enjoyed Amsterdam and the Netherlands!
    Great Blog!