Amsterdam: Part II

I desperately wanted to take a canal cruise in Amsterdam

despite the ongoing rain.

I had a free canal cruise ticket that was included with my train reservation (points for the night train) but when I got to the dock early in the morning, no one else was there. 

My cheerful Dutch captain was not deterred, asked me to hop in - and I had the boat all to myself!

The rain and drizzle continued on and off, but I was able to crack open the sliding windows, stick out my camera lens, and make a few shots for you from the perspective of the water.

We passed by many lovely bridges

and I saw more fancy houseboats than I could count.

The Dutch are always friendly and seem to be in a great mood, laughing regardless of what the weather is doing. A positive thing to notice and learn from this trip!

The other important mode of transportation in Holland is the bicycle.

Many are lovingly decorated with flowers

and various forms of ornamentation.

On my way the Rijksmuseum, I was amazed by the massive numbers of people on bicycles for their Monday morning commute. Biking is a way of life for all ages.

Later, I had a stroll by the famous Bloemenmarkt, or Flower Market, in Amsterdam

where you can see and buy flower bulbs from all over the world.

Bulbs in huge bins

bulbs in bags

even bulbs sold in ceramic shoes!

And lots and lots of kitschy souvenirs for the tourists (like me).

After walking around the canals and juggling my umbrella, maps, and camera for a while,
 I decided it was time for another cafe break. 

In this cafe, almost everyone was reading - and it was very quiet. 
Even at tables where 4-5 people were sitting together, everyone had his or her own book or newspaper.  I felt very intellectual, landing in such a place, and very discreetly typed on my iPhone.

I enjoyed one of many glasses of fresh mint tea, served everywhere in Amsterdam. 

But one cannot live on tea alone!
I read in my guidebook that the pancakes in Amsterdam are famous, and Pia recommended this cafe.

 She wrote that she always orders the lemon and sugar pancake, but when I saw that the daily special was made with fresh strawberries and chocolate, I could not resist!

Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I did my best, what a challenge :)


Tomorrow, join me for the funky side of Amsterdam. We'll see artsy store fronts, an old monastery in the middle of town, confusing street signs, and mossy pathways.

p.s. - In case you are concerned about my health as I indulge in all of the local treats, please know that I also eat lots of healthy salads and vegetarian stir fry too. I also walk non-stop for about 8-10 hours per day when I am on the road - which is the only reason I can get away with eating things like this!

Food is a very important part of the cultural experience for me, and I want to try out all of the regional specialties when I am in each place. I often walk for hours searching for just the right place to try them. Really! So come along and enjoy with me without guilt, and I promise to eat like a healthy normal person when I am back at home :) Yum, yum - and cheers to beautiful food and art!