This past Friday, my wife’s cousin and his girlfriend arrived here in Amsterdam. They are moving here for his job. They arrived, much like we did, a little nervous, tired, and knowing very little about their new city. After taking a short nap Friday, I decided to take them on a short tour of Amsterdam. We took the tram to Weesperplein, and then walked down the Amstel River to the Stopera, passing by the location of my Dutch class in the process. We found the market behind the Stopera, and got a quick cup of coffee before venturing further. We continued down Staalstraat towards the Muntplein, and then turned onto Kalverstraat, one of the busier shopping streets in the Centrum.
After taking Kalverstraat all the way to Dam Square, we detoured quickly through De Bijenkorf, the big department store, and then headed towards Chinatown. We got a little turned around trying to find the Red Light District, but ended up at Nieuwmarkt. From there, we decided to call it a day, and walked to Centraal Station to take the bus back to our apartment in Oostelijke Handelskade (Eastern Docklands). After my wife got off work, we took the bus back into the Centrum, and had dinner at a nice Thai place in de Jordaan.
Over Saturday and Sunday, we again walked around the city, visiting Albert Cuyp, de Pijp, Museumplein, Leidseplein, and many others. We had started the day at De Carrossel Pannekoekenhuis for some Dutch pancakes, called pannekoeken. The highlight of the weekend was probably stopping for a quick drink at the cafe on the top floor of the Metz & Co department store. It has a fantastic view over all of Amsterdam, and considering I can’t really afford anything sold in the store below, it was nice to be able to sit for an hour sipping on a Coke.
My parents will come to visit in a little over a month, and I’m looking forward to showing them around my new city as well. In Dutch class last week, we talked about how nice it is to walk or ride down the street next to the Amstel right at dusk. You get the lights on Magere Brug, and the Carre Theater is all lit up. It’s one of my favorite places in the city. Every time I go there, I smile just a little bit.