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A Quiet Weekend in Amsterdam

by admin on December 8th, 2014

I’m back in the UK at U. Warwick, having spent another quiet weekend in Amsterdam. Things were quite pretty at night, when the streets were all lit up for Christmas.

The Utrechtstraat at night

The Utrechtstraat at night

But Saturday was my day for gift shopping, which included a trip out to the Beethovenstraat; I remember the Lissauers lived nearby (Richard Wagner straat? Chopinstraat?) But then it was back downtown looking for a candy store that didn’t exist anymore apparently. Which left me wandering up the Spuistraat in the direction of Café Luxembourg, when I came across an interesting scene.

Spuistraat - Frankreik

Spuistraat – Vrankryk

Now, these two buildings face one another.

Spuistraat - the Snake

Spuistraat – the SnakeHouse

As far as I could tell, the latter was a squat – it seemed to be a “repurposed” parking garage. The alleyway next to it (which I guess was the entrace to the garage) was even more decorative.

Spuistraat Alleyway #1

Spuistraat Alleyway #1

Spuistraat Alleyway #2

Spuistraat Alleyway #2

Spuistraat Alleyway #3

Spuistraat Alleyway #3

All of these were cheek-by-jowl, within inches of one another. I guess the hippie spirit in Amsterdam is not quite dead yet…..

I’d also found a terrific bakery with great coffee near the guest house, just off the Weesperplein on the other side of the Amstel. Made me think of Brooklyn, with the repurposed industrial building….and that’s the main baking oven you see in the background on the right….the whole kitchen area is open and very, very visible. Definitely worth a stop if you’re in Amsterdam in the near future.

Bak Huys - Interior

Bak Huys – Interior

And they had this curious sign just up the street

Note the small print at the bottom.

Note the small print at the bottom.

 

The main other thing I did was finally visit the Scheepfartsmuseum – recently opened after extensive renovations in the old VOC headquarters. The architecture is pretty much worth the price of admission.

Old VOC Headquarters - exterior

Old VOC Headquarters – exterior

Old VOC headquarers – main courtyard

Another view with The Amsterdam at the side.

Another view with The Amsterdam at the side.

At the dock in the rear (the building was constructed on pilings in the harbour and dates to the 1600s) they have a replica of a Dutch East Indies VOC ship, the Amsterdam (the original seems to have made it as far as England before it sunk; I’m not sure that the replica as been even as far as that.) The ship seems v. authentic and the exhibits were great.

The Amsterdam

The Amsterdam

A well-defended ship!

A well-defended ship!

2014-12-07 12.47.29

How did they cook on board a wooden ship? With a brick kitchen!

Hammocks! My favourite!

Hammocks! My favourite!

Jack Sparrow would be proud - I found the rum!

Jack Sparrow would be proud – I found the rum!

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