Amsterdam as a tourist

Aug 17th, 2019, 01:18 PM
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Amsterdam as a tourist

So, it happens that we're house-sitting, my wife and I, for her brother and his wife and son, who are on a trip to the US, where he's lecturing in a summer school. Also, he has multiple myeloma in an advanced stage, and so this is his last opportunity to travel like that. Hence our house sitting.

I'm working on a series of photographs that have to do with displacement and expulsion. And so I photographed in London, and in Paris, and in Amsterdam, but that from the viewpoint of an insider. Now I have a chance to experience and document the tourist perspective. So I researched, on this forum, and also on YT what the typical "sophisticated" tourist experience is. On my checklist, in no particular order.

Going to Winkel for apple pie (with "slag")
Noordermarkt on saturdays generally and then a little wander through Jordaan.
Pancake Bakery
Renting bikes and cycling through the city
Going to the RLD "for the architecture"
Standing in line at the Anne Frank House
Nine Streets

etc.

Anyhow, on to my first day.

I started off by cycling to Nieuwmarkt and walking around for a bit around Zeedijk. Zeedijk has always had a questionable reputation and it's still got a "louche" quality. It's our "China Town", with its Temple and notorious bars like "Het Mandje" side by side. Also, it's the scene of many huge tour groups.


But in many ways, Zeedijk is still quite real. I followed one walking tour group to the Waag building, like a medieval castle in the middle of Nieuwmarkt. He gave quite good information, but the size of that group. Quite amazing. And it's just an unending stream of those groups. Constantly there are attempts to limit their size, but Cruise tour groups don't have to abide by that, it seems, so the large groups stay. Cruise passengers easily recognisable by their stickers. But I also saw this guy. A neighbourhood character, looking like a young Ramses Shaffy.


It was friday (not saturday, important distinction, as it turned out) and I headed to Winkel on Noordermarkt. Disclaimer, we used to live around the corner from here, on 2e Lindendwarsstraat. So we know this particular area of Amsterdam quite well. It looks cosy and quaint on the outside, but it has a troubled past. My research had taught me, that people like to go to Winkel for apple pie. So I was expecting long lines, but no. I sat on the bench outside and they came out to serve me, while I had seen that people stand in line and order inside. None of that. Next to me sat a neighbourhood geezer, a "Jordanees" who was enjoying his morning coffee.


Jordaan used to be one of the poorest and most run down districts of Amsterdam up until the mid 1980s. Squatters have saved that area from wholesale demolition. People who "belong" in the Jordaan usually pass down houses down the generations. So a grandchild will get or "buy" grandma's house, etc.
On my other side was a sophisticated tourist, who knew that the day to go is not on saturday, but on any other day of the week!


But I had to go, because I was going to meet D for lunch at De Roos. And so I cycled to Vondelpark, also to observe the Bike Ride in the Vondelpark. So there's a rental outfit close to the entrance to the park. People go into the park, ride all the way to the end at Amstelveense Weg, do the loop back the other side and bring back the bike at the entrance. Bike ride done. Lunch was lovely and I can really recommend De Roos for a coffee or lunch in tranquility. In summer the terrace is great and in winter they have a lovely conservatory upstairs.


Tomorrow: De Pijp and Winkel on Saturday.
menachem is online now  
Aug 18th, 2019, 12:16 AM
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On for ride
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 18th, 2019, 01:47 AM
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Lovely photos Menachem, and nice report.
Tulips is offline  
Aug 18th, 2019, 02:15 AM
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Nicely done, menachem. Will be following the rest.

P.S. I had no idea people go to Amsterdam for apple pie.
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Aug 18th, 2019, 05:28 AM
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Oh my goodness, the Dutch apple pie with "slagroom" (sweetened whipped cream) it's so delicious!
And wow, those pictures are very nice, thank you for sharing with us.
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Aug 18th, 2019, 06:37 AM
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Wonderful. More please soon.
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Aug 18th, 2019, 07:27 AM
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Signing on!
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 18th, 2019, 08:17 AM
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I know zilch about photography so it may be something common and/or obvious to everyone else but I'm curious about how you took the two bench shots from the angle as if the camera was on the bench. Looking forward to your take on De Pijp.
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Aug 19th, 2019, 12:52 PM
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Thanks everyone. I had an intense weekend, tourist-wise as well. But also lovely lunch with D. and a nice evening walk. Anyway, here's what went down on Saturday and Sunday.

Winkel on Friday was a bit of a fiasco, so Saturday morning at around 10.30 I got on the bike and cycled to Noordermarkt. It's the scene of the hipster boho farmer's market. And of course, there is Winkel. Lots of people combine the market (an off the beaten track "insider" tip) with apple pie at Winkel. There was a crazy line! All the way out the door on to the pavement. Next door, an equally nice place, Noord West, was almost empty! Obviously it's about very precise locations and timings. I strolled around the market a bit, and there's "authentic Dutch street food" there too: "Flemish" fries, Bitterballen, Poffertjes. The trinity of Dutch street food apparently. People were really happy when they emerged from Winkel with their apple pie. The Best Apple Pie of Amsterdam.




Wandered around the market, one stall very old school. And a guy at the Baker's who'd had enough.




Then, onwards to De Pijp for my lunch date with D. We had a sudden craving for very good hummus and thought to find it at Laffa, 1e vd Helststraat, but although they were prepping, there was no sign that they would open up soon. So on google maps we searched for and found Sir Hummus at 1e vd Helstplein and walked there with a little detour through Sarphatipark. It's where we took our son to play in the sand pit when he was three. Sweet memories. Sir Hummus is a fine place. Really good hummus. D had hers plain with tahina, I had mine with ful. Excellent seasoning, good bread and very friendly people. Clearly a neighbourhood favorite and people cycle there on Saturdays for lunch. That's a very good sign.
We decided to walk the Albert Cuyp Market for a bit so D could walk to Deurloostraat via Ferdinand Bolstraat and I would pick up the bike that I had left at Sir Hummus and cycle there.
There it was again: the Dutch Street Foods! But now also the Queen of Dutch Street Foods, the Stroopwafel. People make selfies while holding giant stroopwafels.



I love how she's holding the stroopwafel and how they're in this whole Amsterdam thing together. Doing Amsterdam things.

The next day it rained, and I decided to tag along with a few bike tour groups. These go on, even when it rains, and there were long trains of poncho'd cyclists around, converging on Museumplein where there was an Art Market. Again, Dutch Street Food was in evidence: poffertjes, flemish fries, bitterballen. It was clear that it's a market only for tourists. A manufactured experience: "art market at Museumplein" Selfies in front of the Rijksmuseum fašade. It was still raining and many people braved the elements in plastic ponchos. There's a heroism in that.




As the afternoon went on, the weather got better and I cycled around a bit on my loaner bike. And finally via Utrechtsestraat and Van Wou to Gelderlandplein in Buitenveldert, to the hyper-Albert Heijn they have there, for a particular brand of pasta. I cycled past the synagogue where we don't go anymore, to the location where I was a parttime jewish bookseller. Very weird. Bought the pasta, got back to the house, cooked dinner, relaxed. What a day.


menachem is online now  
Aug 19th, 2019, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
Nicely done, menachem. Will be following the rest.

P.S. I had no idea people go to Amsterdam for apple pie.
I was very surprised by the bitterballen craze. To Dutch people, bitterballen are a bar snack. The kind you order by the dozens at after work drinks and lots of beer. If you eat something like that for lunch, you eat croquettes! On white sandwich bread, with mustard. That's the proper way. Not bitterballen for lunch. Really interesting to see it everywhere (with the rest of the Dutch street food)


This is just crazy.
menachem is online now  
Aug 19th, 2019, 01:02 PM
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Thank you for sharing your lovely photographic essay.
Nikki is online now  
Aug 19th, 2019, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikki View Post
Thank you for sharing your lovely photographic essay.
You're welcome! It's really grabbing me. Because we're all the same of course. So next week I want to share part of people's day if they let me, and follow them around a bit. If there are fodorites in Amsterdam right now, send me a message!
menachem is online now  
Aug 19th, 2019, 01:15 PM
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Our missing friend Pal would love that video. He is (was?)huge Febo fan!
They forgot pannenkoeken. We were in the kingdom of the pannenkoekhuis last week - Lage Vuursche.

I've enjoyed your trip report and your photos. Thanks.
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Aug 19th, 2019, 01:40 PM
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Love! Such a great theme, and your photos are topnotch.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Aug 19th, 2019, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Our missing friend Pal would love that video. He is (was?)huge Febo fan!
They forgot pannenkoeken. We were in the kingdom of the pannenkoekhuis last week - Lage Vuursche.

I've enjoyed your trip report and your photos. Thanks.
A Pannekoekenhuis in Lage Vuursche, that's the Mothership.

Dutch tourism in the Netherlands: the ANWB couple (not subtitled unfortunately, but look at that Febo reference!)

Last edited by menachem; Aug 19th, 2019 at 06:03 PM.
menachem is online now  
Aug 19th, 2019, 09:34 PM
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Bitterballen for lunch! Crazy! Whatever next. Pancakes for breakfast instead of hagelslag on white bread?
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Aug 19th, 2019, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
Bitterballen for lunch! Crazy! Whatever next. Pancakes for breakfast instead of hagelslag on white bread?
I saw Stroopwafels with a chocolate sprinkles dip. Heavens above, the sacrilege!

menachem is online now  
Aug 20th, 2019, 12:21 AM
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Lol menachem - I think she knows my son's in-laws.
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Aug 20th, 2019, 01:16 AM
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For your guide to Dutch food; there's a pepernoten shop in Amsterdam. I don't understand why they call it 'Holland's no 1 chocolate cookie'. That's just wrong.
https://www.peppernuts.amsterdam/
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Aug 20th, 2019, 02:53 AM
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I also had the apple pie at Winkle and thought it was disappointing - large portion but not much flavour. Other than that, I ate well in Amsterdam.
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