Monday, October 27, 2008

2008: Week 43

Another week in Amsterdam; we had a few adventures exploring the city and surrounds. First up was a bike ride south of the city where we rode by a rather nice windmill and managed to get a little lost and ride much further than we intended. Fortunately we had brought oliebollen, a newly discovered Dutch delicacy. These fist-sized, deep fried balls of dough sound like they'd be more at home at a State Fair somewhere in the US - the reality tastes much better to me than any funnel cake or beaver tail.

Our next outing was to the Jordaan, where we met a friend who lives in Amsterdam for a walking tour of the area. After a quick stop for coffee and beer at t'Smalle we walked through the streets learning a little more about the history of this part of Amsterdam. Jordaan was once a working class area, but with it's proximity to the centre of the city it has become quite a fashionable place. We visited several lovely hofies, originally built as places for widowed or unmarried women to live, and make a little money by doing laundry. The outside entrance is sometime marked by a sculpture featuring bed sheets; in fact many buildings have sculptures depicting the type of activity found within. These signs allowed a mostly illiterate population to locate spcific house without street signs or numbers.

On Saturday we made our way to the Jaap Eden Ijshal - the skating rink - to see the local hockey team play. The atmosphere was rather different to what we've experienced in Canada. There were probably about 200 spectators, and the level of play wasn't quite up to NHL level. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. As we left the venue we passed a huge lineup of people who were waiting for the game to end so they could skate - perhaps we should take our skates to the next Sens game and see if they let us on the ice...

Best of the week
- a walk through the Jordaan with someone who actually knows the area.
- my first attempt to cook mussels - a complete success.
- watching the Amsterdam Tigers (ice) hockey team beat Groningen Grizzlies, 7-6 in a shoot out.

Worst of the week
- having to buy 5 stamps when I only needed one (yes, life is hard).
- rain, and being stuck in the house - rbiking in the rain does not sound like fun to me.

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