You will, no doubt, recall from my previous post that we arrived in Amsterdam to an almost "end-time" display of weather. The restaurant to which I have just referred was a run-of-the-mill establishment which supplied wholesome, down-to-earth nourishment, just the kind of thing we were looking for, with the chance of a quick scamper back to our apartment, should the heavens once more open. The restaurant, which had a basement, a mezzanine floor and a ground floor with one long table to which we were escorted, was served by two waiters who seemed to be everywhere at once. That latter comment might also be applied to the friendly, black and white cat who made a beeline towards us. You could almost hear him (I assume 'him', but could have been a 'her') thinking that an English sucker (me) had arrived.
Now I have a great respect and fondness for cats, and I swear that when he turned his gaze on me, he was subliminally making my choice of dish for me. Anyway, he did enjoy the fish titbits I gave him, when no-one was looking. My meal, which consisted of one course, was red snapper, prawns and mussels, and vegetables. On the side, and this I must not forget to mention, were quartered potatoes, roasted with garlic and rosemary. All this washed down with a reasonably quaffable wine.
The following day, the rain didn't really let up. But we couldn't spend our holiday cooped up in our apartment, so we went walkabout. We visited a number of canals which were busy with water buses ferrying their occupants here, there and everywhere. These boats were just - but only just - able to slip under the bridges.
Along the way were many small boats moored along the canal walls. We discovered later in the week that houseboats could be bought but not for less than half-a-million Euros.
On our walk we paid our first visit to the Rijkmuseum (Rijk being pronounced in a manner similar to the German "reich").
On this occasion we dropped in only for hot chocolate and cake, having had - in my case - a warming, spicy lentil soup for lunch. (Later on in the week I was delighted by pickled-chicken soup. Never had that before!)
I was impressed by the building, but in particular by the waiters and waitresses, all of whom seemed to be in their twenties. I cannot quite put my finger on what impressed me, but there was something about their friendly, organised and professional manner which greatly appealed to me. Maybe it had to do with 'service' in its highest sense. In my experience, ageism is not a problem in the parts of continental Europe that we have visited, and the same was true here. Maybe I'm just getting old and, heaven help me, a little mellow.
By now it was becoming obvious that if we were to travel around Amsterdam, we were going to have to use the trams.
Although there were buses, the main mode of general transport appeared to be trams and bicycles. The Dutch seem to have developed a range of adaptations to bicycles, each designed for a particular purpose. From a pedestrian's point of view I would simply say, "Walker Beware!" Cyclists travel quite quickly with an apparent total disregard for pedestrians and 'zebra crossings', or whatever the Dutch equivalent is called. More than once we escaped being run down only by a fraction of a second. As the day moved towards early evening, we were glad that Lucy had booked a restaurant a short two hundred metres from our apartment. And after a description of that lovely evening that I am about to describe I will bring this session to a close.
This restaurant, split into two halves with each half on adjacent corners of Lutmastraat, provided a very attentive service for seated clients in one (our) half, and what appeared to be a more buffet-style in the other. On this particular evening, after a Riesling aperitif with paté, the entree was lobster claw, garnished with salad. Our host offered a suitable glass of wine with each course, the choices being quite excellent. The main course was roast duck breast with Yorkshire pudding stuffed with pumpkin. Now duck breast can be arrive in any state from too red to slightly overcooked. I have to say that on this evening the duck was perfect. The final course was 'tarte tatin' followed by coffee.
I do hope that my references to food and drink do not come across as excessive, but one of the joys of holidays is the chance to visit restaurants which we could not otherwise visit. For most of my life I ate to live; now in some measure living is about the joy of eating. And that joy says something about my state of being. I might add at this juncture that my weight, when finally we returned from holiday, was no heavier than when we went away.
Next time I will share my thoughts and feelings about music and candlelight.....and food! For now, a couple of examples of Dutch humour.
And now, just because I want to,