Vacation ‘23 Day 2: Amsterdam

After a reasonably good night of sleep although there were some mid-night awake hours, SMS and I woke up around 1015 (!!). That is so late for me, although of course all bets are off with the time change. We had breakfast at the hotel, which was a nice buffet breakfast with breads, jams, yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and green salad. For the size of the hotel (small-ish), it was a nice spread.

SMS and I were a little low energy. We decided to head out. Our ultimate destination was the Van Gogh museum where I had tickets for a 3:15 entrance time.

First, we went to the Monday flower market featured in the recent NYTimes article highlighting non-touristy things to do in Amsterdam. And even if you’re not going to Amsterdam soon, I recommend the article since there are a fair number of comments by grouchy anti-tourists who clearly think they’re smarter than the rest of us b/c obviously even if it was a “hidden Amsterdam” activity, it’s certainly not after being in NYTimes. It must be very hard for them to be so smart and forced to live in a world so full of idiots.

Then we walked into Leidesplein, a pretty touristy area and ended in a slightly less coffee shop and fries area end of it. We had drinks and snacks at Cafe de Waard, which was fine. SMS had a coffee, I had a beer, and we split sardines on toast & rice crackers w/peanuts. A little strange for what should have been lunch but neither of us were particularly hungry.

During lunch, we decided to book a canal tour. Flagship Amsterdam had good reviews/best SEO so we booked an hour tour. It was beautiful. It was so nice to see Amsterdam from the water and the day was absolutely gorgeous. The two guides weren’t exactly expert docents of the city, but they were fun and in good spirits.

Also, SMS and I kissed under the skinny bridge so now we’re going to be together forever. And if this is a clever spin on “love locks” to prevent locks being clipped to Amsterdam bridges, good job Amsterdam tourism bureau!

Then it was time for the Van Gogh museum. I am glad we saw it. They really have a nice collection. Admittedly though, I am completely spoiled by the recent Met exhibit I saw on Van Gogh’s cypresses. That was so well done, digestible in size, and not too crowded.

In the Van Gogh museum, I did enjoy his studies a prep work for the Potato Eaters. I felt the museum also highlighted the need to create art that would sell. Commercial success was definitely one of his aims, shared by his brother and sister-in-law.

There was also a super cool painting of underbrush that initially seemed very dark but as I looked at it more, it was so light with so many patches of light working their way through the overhead canopy. It was so well done and really beautiful.

While in the museum, I received an email from a friend who had lived in Amsterdam for about 18 months. It was full of excellent recommendations. It pushed us to do one thing I had been considering and steered us to a restaurant for dinner that ended up being absolutely spectacular.

First, we had been considering a walk in Vondelpark, but she said it was a must-do on a day with good weather. Well, the day was amazingly beautiful so we walked over to the park. We walked along a few main paths, paths through the woods, paths through a garden, and paths along a few lakes. We probably saw about 1/4 of the park and would definitely have been a great place for a bike ride.

Instead, we sat on a bench for a bit before deciding to head to dinner. Several restaurants that we were considering were closed on Mon/Tues so that ruled a few out that were on her list. But all of that led to our lucky find of Daalder Streetfood.

The best thing about Daalder Streetfood is the location. We had a table that was built into the wall overlooking the canal. Table-wise, it was similar in specialness to when I had a similar style table in Nepenthe overlooking the shore of Big Sur. Obviously, the two places are quite different but the table really made the meal in both.

BUT, both places also had amazing food. We ordered a spicy tuna tarte flambé, ravioli, and French fries. Again, pretty eclectic order for the day but everything was so good. We had the most relaxing time on a beautiful day with a gorgeous view and ate delicious food. As my father-in-law says, it doesn’t get better than this!

After dinner, we were going to take the tram but we decided we had to take a walk! So, we went back to our hotel room, which was lovely since we walked along the canals in golden hour. It was a great ending to a really special day.

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