Saturday, October 27, 2007

Zatendag (Amsterdam)...

A comfy bed and tightly drawn shades conspired to create a late rise. Our only true motivation this morning was not missing our complimentary continental breakfast. I had extra oranges ( favorite) and OJ to try and ward off an oncoming, achy cold. At least the cappuccino perked up my mood.

A pleasant mid-fifties today, but we wisely decided to start the day with a quick stop at the Berghen boutique across the street, where Jeff picked me out a colorful striped scarf...perfect to keep the occasional chilly breezes off my neck.

Today was a walking day. We wove in and out of narrow streets and canal-ways...vaguely making our way towards Dam Square. The square isn't notable really...lots of people and a couple of gray landmark-ish buildings...but really just a stop on the way to somewhere else.

We grabbed lunch at a minuscule eatery--'t Stuisje--with 6 tables. Portions were also tiny...but good quality. We agreed that my "authentic Dutch meatball" was worth seeking out again.

Wandered towards the Anne Frank House. Even at 4pm, the lines were way too we wandered off into the nearby Jordaan neighborhood...chock full of charming buildings and canals. Passed by the yummy Rainarai restaurant, with fresh, doughy pizza-like dishes in the window. Sat outside by a canal eating spicy slices of tuna+olive and mushroom+tomato.

Returned to the Anne Frank House. Seems that everyone tried the "lets come back later" trick. We left again to return on a non-weekend day.

The late afternoon sun actually peeked through for the first time in several days. Gave the yellow-leafed trees along the canals a slight, but dramatic boost.

A quick pause at the hotel to freshen and kick our feet up. With dusk upon us, we decided to take a longer-than-expected walk to the infamous Red Light District for a peek. The area is MUCH larger than we expected, with dozens of streets and alleys crawling with customers and curious tourists...and what an odd tourist trap indeed. So odd to walk by window upon window where women thump on the glass to get attention, like puppies in a pound vying for adoption. Our conclusion: somewhere between bizarre and sad, with a tinge of ick. (Yes...we left the Red Light District for dinner...somehow the falafel stands don't have as much appeal with live shows going on next door...double ick.)

Dinner was hearty Italian at the simply named Ristorante Romana. The food was early tip-off was the heavyset Italian patriarch and his two sons working the kitchen. Jeff had a wonderful tagalini bolognese, and I had an oven-baked tortellini bolognese al forno. Finished the meal with espresso on the house, and a cheery arivaderci.

After dinner drinks with a pre-Halloween flair. A quiet walk home. A hot shower to ease tired muscles. An Advil and Airborne for the lingering cold symptoms.

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