Sunday, December 17, 2006

Argentinian steakhouses, bikes, canals and dildos

Apart from 4 days soon after I got married 22 years ago, I don't really know Amsterdam except from 2 days spent there recently. One was for my interview a few weeks ago, the other yesterday when I was looking for a flat to move into when I move there on New Year's Eve.

It's still a beautiful city with beautiful architecture and my lasting memories of the place are unchanged except that there seems to be less dog shit all over the place. The canals are still there, as is the red light district and the numerous coffee shops full of tourists. Bikes, bikes and more bikes - they are everywhere! But, what is it about Argentinian steakhouses that there are so many of them? I don't recall them from my visit of 22 years ago. Their ubiquity reminded me of how I was struck by the huge number of orthopaedic shops in Madrid when I visited many years ago.

I walked all over the city yesterday, trying to get a feel for the areas that surrounded the two flats I was going to see.

gabled canal housesgreen wallscanal iguanasiguana
gabled canal housesgreen wall17th century canaliguana sculpturesanother iguana
wall fishbikes and bikescopulating bikesmore copulating bikesmore bikes
wall fish
bikes everywhere
bikes copulating
more copulating bikes
bikes standing
asleep or dead?dead bikesex toysmrs balls chutneyportuguese restaurant
sleep or dead?
dead bike
sex toys for all
Mrs Ball's chutney
Restaurant Portugalia

There are lots of sorely neglected bikes around - I wonder what happens to the dead ones?

It's good to see that Mrs Ball's chutney is available and nice to see a Portuguese restaurant as some Hispanic competition to all those Argentinian steakhouses. It's next door to a gay hotel called the 'The Golden Bear'. I was reminded of Nyasha (*) when I saw it. The restaurant, that is.

Both flats were great but I chose the one closer to all the action. It's on the first floor as opposed to the fourth floor as was the other one. But those weren't the main reasons for choosing it.

It's very spacious, beautifully furnished and is the only flat in the whole building. It has very high ceilings, lots of lovely original features including heavy antique doors that separate the living room from the rest of the flat. It's on Leidsestraat, a very busy shopping street and is very close to a tram stop. So, unlike the other flat, it's going to be rather noisy. But, living over a club as I do now shouldn't make that too much of a problem. Leidseplein, a tourist trap heaving with bars and restaurants is nearby, as is Vondelpark and the book district. The Rijksmuseum is 5 minutes walk away so I'll have no excuse to not be cultured. And, if I want to be uncultured (probably more likely) there are numerous sleasy gay venues nearby.

I suspect I'm going to enjoy staying there.

leidsestraatamsterdam map

(*) Nyasha's usual blog seems to have disappeared so now you need to go here to find her.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds perfect!! Now you be careful in those Amsterdam clubs ... :))

12:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all sounds suitably decadent. I'm envious!

7:07 am  
Anonymous cristina said...

oh, we are most definitely coming to crash at yours!! and we will try that portuguese restaurant! ;)
still here, just keeping one home instead of two!
looking forward to your Amsterdam posting! them wild wild nights you will be having!! :D

9:06 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

Isn't that wall fish weird! And of course there are more bikes in the background....

I won't ask what you bought to put in your Christmas stockings... but I will ask...

Do your stockings light up?

According to some nephews of mine that's their most important feature.

1:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're going to love Amsterdam! I sure do.

3:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a whirlwind tour of Amsterdam one January a couple of years back on a layover to SA; that photo of the canal is similar to one I took then and it brought back the memory of how bitterly cold it was that day!
Glad you found a new home - it sounds great! Good luck with the move.

4:43 pm  
Anonymous xmichra said...

wow, that looks cool.... and there are a lot of bikes! I suppose that is helping the ecosystem though.

The labels on the food is strange. it is the same idea, but different packaging. I will have to take a picture of our Kraft bbq sauce to show you. It's just cool to see the difference. And of couse being in Canada, they don't market the American aspect.. lol!

5:01 pm  
Blogger Dawn said...

I am envious - you are going to have a great adventure. VEELS GELUK and GEFELICITEERD on the new apartment - sounds fantastic. Visit the Canal House Hotel, Keizersgracht 148 - my brother used to own it many moons ago. Two great eateries for coffee and sandwiches, just around the corner on the Prinsen Straat. With your back to the Canal House, turn left and continue to the bridge - bakery on the corner, take a left. A little further along you will come to Dimitris - BEST sandwiches and I got stung on my tit in the loo there. Over the road, forget the name, but directly over the road is a great place for traditional breakfast called UITSMIJTER - Dutch version of ham, egg and cheese - very yummy. Continue down to the next bridge and two GREAT bars, DE ROODE LEUW and I forget the one opposite. Over the bridge to the left, awesome vegetarian restaurant called DE BOLHOED and jusst a little along from there, a house boat called STAD ZAANDAM - which was my home for 6 months. More suggestions to follow in an email and I learnt on Saturday night that I will be attending my nieces wedding in A'dam in the summer - have to make sure Nyasha is there at the same time. Happy Moving. xoxox

10:12 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

rhino75: I will be careful in them as many of them seem to veer towards the leather scene and sleazier things than even I’m interested in.

DougZAR: Perhaps 2007 will be my year of plumbing new depths of decadence.
cristina: You are more than welcome too. The Portuguese restaurant is round the corner from the flat.

I can understand why you may only want to keep one home but why demolish the other one?

Caroline: I don’t have any but if I were to get some, they’d definitely light up.

James: I think you’re right. I sure hope so.

Terri: The Netherlands, like the rest of Europe is unseasonally warm at the moment. All may change, however, when I move.

xmichra: You can’t believe how many bikes there are! I wonder what if British Kraft BBQ sauce is packaged any differently?

Dawn: Thanks for those tips, I’ll be sure to make use of them.

9:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so do you have a bike yet?

11:52 am  
Anonymous kamagra said...

Excellent post, and I've been looking for it because I love this city, many new suburbs, such as Osdorp, Slotervaart, Slotermeer, and Geuzenveld, were built in the years after the Second World War. 23jj

6:51 pm  
Blogger Tiago said...

I love Argentinean steack houses but when I lived in an apartment in buenos aires during 2005 I realized that after all Argentinean meat is better in Argentina hahah

10:40 pm  
Blogger Brad Hogg said...

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2:02 am  

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