Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dutch Design - Day 1 - Walking Tour "Hi Swan"

Today was another rough morning, but less so. It was a bit of a hassle for me, Joanne, Steven, and Kenneth as we had to shift hotels again and having to deal with moving our luggages. Steven wasn't able to sleep much and I couldn't fall asleep after I woke up at 4am. We decided to just give up on trying to sleep and woke up at 8am to get some breakfast.

Looking around the Bos En Lommer neighbourhood in the morning

Strolling through nearby Erasmuspark was a nice awakening as we made our way over to a place I found on yelp, Broodje Daan. The cafe was a very gezellig breakfast hangout. You could feel the character of the neighbourhood as you see the locals coming in to have their morning meals. Our waitress was really nice though her English wasn't good at all, but that made it more fun trying to interpret the menu as they only had a Dutch version. The sandwiches from this place are delicious and the overall cost of the meal is cheap. I would recommend the ones with egg and cheese. The one I ordered was a pekelvlees (vleeswaren) sandwich which was some type of cured meat, I'm not exactly sure what it was, but probably pork. Definitely worth visiting if you are in the neighbourhood looking for a breakfast place or coffee.

Broodje Daan
Pekelvlees vleeswaren met koffie

(Random side note: saw a sheep at a local nearby school/playground)
After returning to our apartment, we braved the descent down the stairs with our luggages and trekked our way to the long term apartment Htel Amstelveen. We hit a few bumps in transit getting lost and getting off on the wrong stations but we managed to make it out there on time before our scheduled meeting of 11am.

Stressed at getting lost

Htel Amstelveen
We had a brief respite to get some groceries and rest up before we headed downtown to start our walking tour. Prior to departing, we had a brief meeting to go over our objectives and the general plan of attack for the tour and orientation.

Team briefing
We started by taking the Tram 5 line from Ouderkerkerlaan in Amstelveen to Amsterdam Centraal. We walked down Oosterdokskade to visit the Amsterdam Public Library. It is an amazing sight and I think it is one of the best libraries I've been in. The view at the top is also a beautiful sight to see central Amsterdam from the northern point of the region.

Amsterdam Centraal station

View from the top of the library

Claudy Jongstra designed tactile wall

Claudy Jongstra designed tactile wall
Amsterdam Public Library
Entering into the center of Amsterdam, we made our way down the Damrak and took a brief look at the Beurs van Berlage building. Brief only because we couldn't enter the main hall, but we walked around and through the cafe. Working down through Dam Square and then into more of the Grachtengordel. We encountered a funny sight as we saw a swan minding its own business in the canals being annoyed by two European men who kept saying "Hi Swan" over and over again for 5 minutes.

To get a better view of the city, we took a tour of the church tower of the Zuiderkerk. It was a great experience climbing up the wooden staircases and learning about how the bells operate. The view from the top was spectacular as I got a 360 degree view of the city around the tower. I had a somewhat arduous time going down the stairs due to my size, but it was really fun traversing it. It reminded me a little about exploring the church towers in Assassin's Creed games.

Next stop, Droog! YAY. After two previous trips to Amsterdam, I was finally able to get a chance to check out Droog and the Droog Hotel. This is a designer's paradise for seeing design work. It was really meaningful for me because I have researched a lot about the products and the companies in my previous design classes that were presented and showcased in the store.

Briefly passing by Rembrandtplein, we made our way towards De Pijp and got a quick view of the Sarphaatipark before we ended our tour with a refreshing drink a la fresca at a bar called Chocolatebar.

Beautiful day in Amsterdam!
Food Notes:
I made my own lunch today from groceries bought at Albert Heijn. I really enjoyed my delicious sandwich made from Tijger brood bread, with some mosterd plakken cheese, ossenwurst (ox sausage), and topped with some Calvé mayonnaise. YUM!

I also picked up these delicious cookies from AH. These 'kletskoppen' are AMAZING. They are also known as Bruges Lace Cookies. I had no idea what they were (and I am hoping to continue purchasing  and trying out new random food and treats that I have no idea what they are to explore culture in a food medium). =D

Elan picked up some Vla today which I got to try. It's some type of custard and I'm already wanting to go buy some for myself! Hehe

Highlights of the day:
-Amazing weather
-settled into our apartments where we will be for 3 weeks
-visiting the Amsterdam Public Library was a treat to see a well-designed architectural landmark
-got to visit Droog!
-crazy Europeans saying "Hi swan!"

Overall it was an amazing day as the beautiful weather was accommodating for us and I can only hope the weather will be like this for our entire trip.

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