1 • Cycling on flat land
During my stay there I cycled to the beach, lakes, cafes and malls. With the help of google map, of course.
The Netherlands is a flat country with low hills no more than 321m. There are inter-city bicycle paths connect the Netherlands’ villages, towns and cities. It makes sense to cycle than to pay for other public transports. No wonder all Dutch girls have toned legs*.
The Dutch are estimated to have at least 18 million bicycles. More bicycles than inhabitants! The ultimate cycling nation!
*I can confidently announce Dutch has the most amount of good looking legs!
2 • Patat frites (potato fries)
I’m not a fries person.
When I saw people queuing for it in Het Plein Fast Food in Zandvoort, I joined. The girl at counter asked me something in dutch, I just nodded abruptly. Only later I reckoned she was asking about my choice of sauce.
Ended up I had the best frites on earth! It was insanely good! Could it be the sauce that made it so tasty? The curry mayonnaise or what? (from the second picture)
My first encounter with Dutch frites led me to another — Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx, the
best most popular frites seller in Amsterdam.
It came with a traditional paper cone.
Frankly speaking, I prefer my first frites!
The Dutch are so obsessed with their frites that they have top 10 friteshuis voted periodically. Leave me a comment if you happen to know the best (the most voted)!
3 • The merchant houses of Amsterdam
At first I thought it was an illusion. But it was surely not, according to my friend who was also a tour guide in Amsterdam.
Then he performed his usual duty.
As you can see, the houses are tightly packed together, holding each other. Houses on corners are most sensitive to slanting because they have no house next door to lean on.
Traditionally the amount of tax of each house determined by the width of the facade along the canal. Hence every merchant built their houses narrow.
Oh yeah do you want to see the smallest house in Amsterdam?
Is it big deal?
It’s always the highlight of a tour. Everyone does it.
If everyone needs to know it. So do I!
Ta da! Here you go the house number 5! See how small and narrow of it. Only in between those two doors of others.
Other than the narrow structure, the houses sit on uneven soil or some call it swamp. The Dutch built the houses on wooden poles due to it. The rotting of the wooden poles is another reason for the leaning houses.
The houses of Amsterdam were also built leaning forward intentionally.
I kept looking up to observe … these houses making me dizzy ~
Ok I should stop looking up and mind my steps.
Later I found out that it was built leaning forward in order to prevent water enter into the floor below when it rains. It also provides bigger space on top floor. The wider top makes it easy to transport goods by using hook (as shown on the photo that each building with a hook built on it’s top floor). In this case the goods would not hit the wall easily.
Visit Stadsarchief Amsterdam if you intend to search for the city archive of Amsterdam.
4 • The museums of Netherlands
I have to confess that Amsterdam made me a museum person.
Usually I arrived at the museum entrance before 10:30am. It was not a good idea to spend time behind a huge tour group queuing for tickets, or waiting for cloakroom service.
Now you can imagine the amount of tourists invaded into Dutch museums during summer! From my observation, the popularity of Van Gogh Museum attracts the most amount of tour groups.
I think Rijksmuseum must be the biggest museum in Amsterdam. I spent days viewing its huge amount of collections until my brain nearly exploded.
Picture shown above is a painting with the paragraph reads ‘Whoever passes by, look and weep. What you are, I once was, what I am, you will become, I beseech you to pray for me’.
It got me think
The longest period I spent in an item was an ancient globe with 16-17th century world map. I found the map of Malacca and Borneo, instead of Malaysia.
There was a mini orchestra performance in front of the entrance of Rijksmuseum. They made all passersby felt light hearted. The kind of thing that my damaged brain desperately needed.
Here is the list of museums to visit in Amsterdam.
Ps. Update — I think the longest period I spent in an item was in fact a video. The video was in Foam Art Museum documented by the wife of Helmut Newton.
5 • Dutch snacks
You can find Dutch raw herring from haringhandels, the herring truck. The herring comes with raw onions and gherkins. Heavenly good! If you are not into this Dutch sushi, try kibbeling the deep fried fish instead.
Next is bitterballen the deep fried meat ball. A popular snack in every pub and restaurant. I had this bitterballen as an afternoon snack, along with beer, in Vorkenmes.
Don’t miss the super fluffy poffertjes, the Dutch mini pancakes! They are made with yeast and buckwheat flour. Served with shredded butter and powdered (icing) sugar. It felt like cotton when I bit. So light that I thought I had wings to fly.
Hate or love? Or hate with love?
5 more to go!
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