Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hitting the streets

If the weather forecasts are reliable, today is going to be the nicest day of my stay in Amsterdam, so I decided to spend the day walking the streets and getting a sense of the city.  I wandered all over the place, including through the famous "Nine streets" boutique shopping area.

This city loves its hot dogs.  Stands selling them are everywhere.  On the canal bridge nearest the hotel, two vendors sit opposite one another in fierce competition.

Click on any image to see a larger version.

Fries are also big here.  People walk the street eating them from cones.  Toppings range from ketchup to mustard to curry to combinations better left unwritten.  This chain seemed particularly popular; I encountered three of them during my walk.

Bicycles are everywhere, as are cars.  Traffic is intense, with bicycles, cars, trams, buses, scooters, and pedestrians all vying for space and the right to move forward.  Here some parked bikes give you a sense of just how many are in use.

The crown on the building in the above shot is due to Tuesday being Queen's Day, a national holiday celebrating the Queen--and a particularly important one this year, because the next day the Queen will step down in favor of her son, who will become the King. 

The combination of so many hot dog stands, fry vendors all over the place, and intense traffic made me realize that I arrived at this city unprepared.  What I really needed is my motorized Hot Dog Throne of Doom.  If I had that sucker, I could cruise the streets in hot-dog-armored splendor, at speed, while stuffing my yap full of cheese-covered fries.  I could even add a fry cone holder to the hot dog.

If only I'd thought of that earlier.  Ah, well.

Back in the real world, this statue, the National Monument, sits in Dam Square as a tribute to those who died in World War II and subsequent armed conflicts. 

Across the square from it sits the Royal Palace, a lovely building. 

On another side of the square is the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), which like the palace was getting decked out for the upcoming holiday.

Parking on the canal is common here, so having a small car certainly makes sense.  Some cars, though, are just too damn small.  Cases in point:

Graffiti doesn't run rampant here, but some appears in interesting places.  I liked this one.

Hey, Sarah and Ben, a camera store focused heavily on lomography.

And, Ben, a shop that sold primarily bow-ties.

Note the cat sleeping in the window.  Ya gotta love shop cats. 

I loved the mellow attitude the owner put above this door. 

Or maybe it was an existentially correct attitude, such as Dave's.  No way to know for sure, though in a city with marijuana bars--blasts of smoke hit you as you walk down the street, I'm betting on mellow.

The day was indeed perfect for wandering, the sky lovely and clear, the temperature in the high 60s.


Did I mention hot dogs?  I had no clue you could buy them 33 to the can.

An automat!

This theater was lovely. 

Dinner was at an Indian restaurant that proved to be a very good choice.  The food was quite tasty, and I encountered something delicious I've never seen before:  cheese naan.  The server said it wasn't really Indian food but that "you can get it everywhere."

Well, I can't, and now I want to know why.  Cheese naan is awesome!

Tomorrow, forecasts call for rain, and I have no clue yet what I will do.  That's just the way I like it. 

1 comment:

Ben said...

I think you may have found one of the actual retail stores. They have a handful across the globe, and one is in Amsterdam. Very cool.

The bow tie store looked cool too!


Blog Archive