Last year, over the first weekend in April, Jonathan and I took a little spring escape to Amsterdam. I had already been there once at the end of 2011, but it was Jon’s first real foray into Dutch culture. And what an eye opening experience it was for both of us!
Here’s what you need to know about life in Amsterdam: it’s heavily focused on bicycles, sex, and pot. Oh and tulips I suppose. Everyone rides their bicycles in the city and it’s quite dangerous for pedestrians who aren’t carefully watching their surroundings at all times. Carelessly walk onto the bike paths and you’re a goner. Let’s talk about sex – not only is Amsterdam home to the famed red light district (seedy sex shows in the window for your entertainment) but there also seems to be a general obsession with penises. I kid you not. Stroll into any bakery and you’ll find at least one loaf of bread shaped like a penis. Penis bread! And in the chocolate shops…chocolate penises. And in the souvenir shops..porcelain penis pepper shakers and penis t-shirts and on and on. We didn’t know what to make of it. Don’t get me wrong, I like penises just fine but there’s a time and a place for everything and the place for a penis is not the bakery nor the chocolate shop. As for pot, the smell of it is everywhere in public and it’s just a wee bit revolting. So that brings us round to the tulips – we were fortunate enough to descend upon the region at the start of tulip season. It was so beautiful! We spent a full day at Keukenhof – the regional flower gardens showcasing the tulips and other flowers grown in Holland - and took a lot of pictures.
Aside from the bicycles, penises, and tulips, we also saw (and enjoyed) our share of Gouda cheese, wooden shoes, and windmills. Oh, and strangely enough we met up with one of the boys I went to middle school with when I lived in Roswell, NM in the 80s. He happened to be in the city for work and so we arranged a lunch meeting. A lot to cram into one weekend, but we did it and we had a lot of fun doing it too. Even managed to bring home a few wheels of Gouda with caraway seed (so good!).
Here are my favorite pictures from the trip.
The Jennifer Patisserie! C’est moi!
The beautiful canals and Dutch rowhouses
Windmills, windmills, spinning around..
Oh my God, why are we so happy here? Lunch must have been REALLY good
A canal at night
Here come the flowers of Keukenhof …