Thursday June 19
We transition from laid back Portugal to pulsing Amsterdam.
We arrive in Amsterdam to a completely different energy from our last unhurried days in the beach town of Cascais.
We arrived early evening and grab a cab directly from central station to Bussia, a modern Italian restaurant. After hours of travel and the infamous KLM food, Bussia had me at the petite genius of their amuse bouche! That was followed by a four course menu of jewel-like food that tasted amazing. And was nothing like the bacalau and boiled potatoes we’d grown both fond and tired of in Portugal.
But it was also quite clear that from the moment we actually set food in Amsterdam that A.’s role had changed. He was no longer the driver but the person responsible for making sure that I don’t get run over by the raging, rampant, racing bicyclists who come out of everywhere at once. His main assignment is to grab me by the collar, the backpack, the arm or any other body part at every street corner as I obliviously walk the treacherous streets of Amsterdam. As my kids well know, I am not the most aware person when faced with pretty distractions and this city is just one bright, shiny distraction after another!
Good thing, also, is that even when A. gets slightly impaired by a bit of local herb as he did, his faculties and reflexes are still better than mine stone cold sober. He has total job security here– keeping me from being run over.
After our wonderful Bussia dinner, we were off to bed at the Park Hotel, a trendy and well-located hotel for our next six nights. And once our heads hit the pillow, we slept till 9 am!
Friday, June 20
Today, we walked 25,825 steps according to our pedometer! That’s a lot of life saving vigilance that A. was required to provide in just our first 24 hours in Amsterdam!
First, we went to the Rijkmuseum for a couple hours to enjoy Dutch painters from Rembrant to Vermeer. Then, off to find lunch at Lombardo’s, purportedly the best hamburger joint, where A. indulged and I had some Indian soup from another shop next door in an arty little canal neighborhood.
After lunch and gelato, We walked to the floating flower market, then to the flea market, then to the “coffee house” neighborhood where A. tried the local herb. Afterward, we blithely walked back with many detours including a visit to a Camper shoe store where I acquired sexy red sandals and Andy blithely paid. And, finally home after eight hours of walking, eating and shopping to relax a bit before dinner at Koh I Noor, which delivered as promised ( thank you once again Tripadvisor)the best Indian food in town.
The cyclists here are insane I tell you , but we are loving this throbbing, busy, young and old city. “Stayin’ Alive” will be my theme song!