Amsterdam Part Four: Adios Amigo, We will return

Galleries and Museums done, Amsterdam has so much more to offer and we like nothing better than to stroll around, sit outside cafes and people watch.

In March, the trees are just starting to leaf up and will look beautiful lining the canals in a week or two. The spring sunshine dappled the water and caught the golden spire of the Westernkerk, our main landmark to get back to our lodgings.

We choose to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. Paying hotel prices for services I don’t need isn’t really our style. I’m really keen to try AirBnB . Some self catering, but also people who rent out rooms in their private homes, it appeals as a way of getting a real feel for the country I’m in and the people.

WestViolet B & B was bijou with a very steep staircase! but perfect as we could use the kitchen like our own and make tea and coffee whenever we wanted. Home from home!. The dutch are known for their clean design and I loved the proportions of the modern windows. Almost square but not quite, they are heavy and let in much needed light in narrow streets.

We were lucky with the weather and walking was easy, taking time to stop and admire some of the houseboats and the quirky style of some of the locals.

A canal riverboat cruise is a great way to see Amsterdam. From the the water, you can look up and really appreciate the difference between the houses and the amazing array of different gable ends and angles and on a sunny day a lovely way to relax for a while.

I’d heard about the hidden courtyards and hidden they were. Not that spectacular, they are little oasis in a cityscape and you feel you have discovered a secret. Wooden doors hide what’s behind with just a simple sign on the front and a sign saying ‘push and enter’ . We found ‘Bijenhof’ and ‘Sint-Andrieshof’, but their are many more.

The Canal House Museum, Willet-Holthuysen is restored to its former beauty with rich deep colours everywhere and great artefacts giving real insight to life of the the merchants and art collectors of the early 1800’s.

When it comes to food, there is every cuisine going. We sampled bitterballen, a local snack of deep fried ragout with a mustard sauce and there was good food to be had everywhere, but our favourite was shopping at the organic market at Noordekerk where there were baskets of mushrooms, breads and the best cheeses. Another discovery was Marqt. Delivering quality mostly organic high end food, displayed well with tasters, this new concept of supermarket was the best way to get some great food.

If you get lost, just ask someone. English is spoken freely and they just want to help.

Adios Amsterdam. We loved it here and there’s still so much we didn’t see, we will be back.

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