apologies for not having updated my blog for a while now. to make up for all the lost times, this will be a super long post. :p
the thing is, almost right after my last post, i caught the flu. again. and it lasted for a long time, again. this time the cough was just so terrible, i literally couldn’t sleep at nights. and yet i pushed myself to go and see my fave Indonesian band, White Shoes And The Couples Company. it was a beautiful day, and they rocked my world!
afterwards, still with my heavy cough, i went to work for another week, and as time passed by i grew more and more worried because my cough wasn’t going anywhere, and my holiday was right in front of me. we were at first planning to have a somewhat ‘cheap’ holiday, stay at a cheap hotel & eat at cheap fast food restaurants, because the main attraction was supposed to be the place itself. but seeing that my cough was quite persistent, and the destination’s weather also looked rather bleak for the past weeks (rainy, cloudy, windy), we finally decided to change our hotel to be a bit of a ‘luxurious’ one, so that in case my cough & the weather would keep us from going anywhere else, at least we would be staying in a nice room, LOL.
and so off we went last week. destination? Amsterdam. 🙂
**1st day. we arrived in the morning, and in the plane the captain already said that the weather in Amsterdam was unfortunately not as nice as in Finland at that moment. and indeed it was cloudy with a bit of rain and a lot of wind. but we stayed inside the airport a bit (to wait until we could finally check in to our hotel room), and i right away found some lovelies at Hema.
when we finally walked out of the airport, the weather had changed to be a bit more sunny! yay! it was a nice welcome! we went with our free shuttle bus to our hotel, and found out nice surprises as we got to the hotel: the free shuttle bus to and from the airport can be used as many times as we like (and it’s always free), and the hotel provides bike rentals for 5€ per bike which we can use for the whole day! the shuttle bus was a good thing, because from the airport there are trains to the central station, and also of course buses to various places in the town.
we got to our room even though it was still earlier than the check-in time, and decided to rest a bit. funny, i didn’t feel like coughing so much there. i was probably too excited about the holiday itself. 😀 some time after 4pm, we finally went to the city, using the free shuttle bus and train. first things’s first: to the book store! for this, we went to Selexyz and the American Book Center (ABC) downtown. here are some of the views from downtown:
it might seem weird or funny, but i actually think of this trip to Amsterdam as a nostalgic one. no, i’ve never been to Amsterdam (or any part of the Netherlands) before. but i grew up reading Dutch books (or, rather, my mum would read it to us, and sometimes teach us how to say the words in Dutch), and eating Dutch foods (my grandmum’s specialties). one of my most fave children’s books was actually one that was translated to Indonesian a looooong time ago, called Tono & Tini. their original names are: Jip en Janneke, of the famous book by Annie M. G. Schmidt. our Indonesian version book was long gone and they never re-publish it in my country, so it was almost like a miracle when i found out years ago that they had finally published the book in English there in the Netherlands. so it became my first mission to get this book, and after years of waiting for a chance to go to Amsterdam, now that i was there it would of course had to be done on the first day! 😀
and i’m very pleased to tell you that my mission was accomplished! and not only that, my second mission, which was to eat at the KFC, was also accomplished! LOL! (excuse my silliness, we don’t have KFC, or any other fried chicken restaurants, here in Finland!)
**2nd day. another sunny day in Amsterdam! rented bikes, but then found out that even at the lowest seat, the hotel bike was too high for me. 😥 we returned it to the receptionist, but then she suggested that i would hop on the back of my husband’s bike. we were nicely surprised by the fact that it’s permitted in Amsterdam, because FYI, before i could ride a bike (= not so long ago), i used to do that here in Finland, sit on the back of my husband’s bike… until one day the police came to us and say that it’s prohibited by the law. :p
anyway, we tried it with one bike, me at the back, and we went around our hotel and beyond, and several times we actually passed by some police cars, but none of them stopped us, so it must have been really okay to do that. we spotted lots of ducks, geese, bunnies, and even bigger birds than geese around the canals. our first impression was that the landscape looks pretty much the same as in Finland, except that the land is much more flat (whereas in Finland there are lots of hills and valleys, etc.). it was so nice to be able to see faaaaar into the horizon because of the flatness of the land. and of course, instead of lakes, Amsterdam has its canals.
around 7pm, we took the bus to go to Amstelveenseweg. we wanted to eat at the famous Indonesian restaurant (my third mission of the holiday), Blauw, but when we got there my husband was still a bit full, so we first walked around the area… and found a nice big park called Vondelpark. turned out to be quite a famous park, but we only found it by accident. 😀 there were lots of cute dogs, and we also managed to witness a bike accident. we’re not quite sure how it happened, but somehow in a big area for bikers, 2 bikers in high speed collided with each other. thankfully, both walked away (or biked away) fine, though not without lots of swearing (heard the word ‘gek’ at least. ;)).
we finally got to the Blauw restaurant… only to find that you would have to make a reservation first, yes, even if there’s only the two of you. we asked if there was any space for the night, but unfortunately it was completely full. luckily there was space for the next night, so we booked it right away. to compensate our empty stomachs, we ate at Burger King, LOL. (another thing you can’t find in Finland… yet.)
**3rd day. this day was a bit cloudy, and the windiest of our whole trip in Amsterdam. we rented a bike again, and went to the other side of the hotel area. we went alongside a canal, and enjoyed the view (actually, i almost froze in the cold… being at the back of the bike on a windy day isn’t so nice afterall.) spent most of the day out, until it was time to go back to Amstelveenseweg. the reservation at the restaurant wasn’t until 7.30pm, but i wanted to check out the Hema store nearby, since it was at least a bit bigger than the one at the airport.
i wanted so bad to have a piece of clothing with Fiep Westendorp’s illustration of Jip en Janneke, but the only ones i could find in both Hema stores so far were only for kids (and i really mean kids aged 2-6 y.o., that i seriously wouldn’t be able to fit in those clothes). in the end i got myself these anyway, thinking that even if the tank top couldn’t fit, i could still turn it into something else. the umbrella is just too cute!
and last treat of the day, the Indonesian food! we both ordered the Selera Blauw rijsttafel, and it was so much fun seeing the waiter explaining the names of the dishes (and seeing my husband’s face when he saw the endless plates of our dishes). we were overwhelmed with the sight of our (plentiful) food at first, but since we had anticipated it by eating small amount of lunch that day, we managed to finish almost all of the food! and sorry we couldn’t take pics of the food, they came and went right away, haha. Google it, and you’ll find the pics for sure. we both highly recommend you to eat at this restaurant if you’re ever in Amsterdam and in the mood to try Indonesian food. 🙂
**4th day. we don’t usually like being like other tourists. in this case that would be: going on boat-rides around the canals, going to the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. however, there was one museum that interested us. it’s called Tropenmuseum, which is a culture and history museum. it interested us, because one of the permanent exhibitions there show things from the Dutch colonial history in Indonesia.
we got there by first using the train to the central station and then continued the journey by tram. the tram stopped right in front of the museum, but we decided to go to the nearby marketplace first, which was my fourth mission: the Dappermarkt. i found this marketplace from the internet as i was looking for flea markets around Amsterdam. the Dappermarkt is NOT a flea market, but a big marketplace with all kinds of cheap clothes, shoes, accessories, make up, toiletries, fabrics, foods, and everything else you can think of. i felt like i walked into Blok M (Jakarta) marketplace as soon as i arrived here. 🙂
it was the first real warm day ever since we got to Amsterdam, i could even walk around without my denim jacket. we went to almost all the shops/markets here, and stopping once to eat lunch (there’s a KFC restaurant too, right in the middle of the marketplace area. lucky me! :D). got myself a lot of things, but i learned one important lesson though: best not to buy anything yet until you’ve seen all the shops at least once. because you might find that you paid too much for those tights or shoes that were actually sold elsewhere for half the price. well, nothing i can do about those mistakes anymore.
after all the shopping in the heat, it was so nice to walk into the cool museum. there weren’t so many people inside, thankfully, so we could enjoy the exhibitions peacefully. it was again quite a nostalgic feeling for me to see the old Indonesian things in the museum. i grew up learning Indonesia’s history from history books written by Indonesians, so now it was of course interesting for me to see the same history from another point of view. we enjoyed all floors of the exhibitions, and were really glad that we decided to visit it.
we had dinner at the KFC again, as this would be the last time for God knows how long. after we got back at the hotel, it was time for a nice warm bath & lots of foam!
**5th day. a day for my husband. again it was a super sunny day, i walked around in my sandals now, and even bought ice cream to eat as we walked. one other nice thing about Amsterdam: no seagulls that would steal your ice cream even if you eat it outdoors! 😀
we went to the Aviation Mega Store, and for the first time in my life, i got to see my husband having the same passion in shopping as i always do in marketplaces/fashion/fabric stores, LOL. yeah, he was in heaven there. in case you’re wondering, this store is huge, and it sells aircraft models (the collectors kinds), trinkets and stuffs that have to do with aviation or planes in general, books & magazines & dvds & blu-rays of anything related with aviation or planes, flight simulator stuffs, DIY aircraft models (the kinds that you build & paint yourself), accessories and necessary stuffs for real pilots, and whatever else… even aviation joke & comic books. 😀 well, you get the idea.
**6th day. last full day in Amsterdam, and it was blazing hot. so we took it easy again and rented the bike for one last day, and went to a nearby forest. it was quite a big forest area that had a camping site, horse field, and bike tracks. again we saw lots of dogs, one of them even looked like a blond version of Romppu, snick. :’) some of the dogs were wet, so we’re guessing they also went for a dip in one of the canals around the forest.
just before returning the bike, we also visited a small KLM shop where they sell all kinds of KLM memorabilia & also old KLM stuffs that they actually used in their planes, like the plastic food trays, mugs, and even the food containers from old KLM planes. we found some old KLM drinking glasses sold for so cheap, like 15€ for a set of 10 glasses or something like that. 😀 we were tempted to get them, but since we couldn’t think of a way to bring them home (we only had one big bag, which was already almost full from all the shopping!), we decided to let it pass.
we spent the rest of the evening at the airport, to get the few last things (like souvenirs) and see the airplanes from the Panorama Terrace for the last time. i bought this puddingbroodje, since the cream just looked so inviting. and it was only 1€ at Hema!
it was big and not as sweet as i thought it would be, much to my delight! it’s like Finnish laskiaispulla (shrove buns) minus the jam, or Indonesian kue soes (cream puffs) minus the rum (thank God).
also bought these to eat at home, more nostalgic sweets:
and then the next day… we were back in Finland. there goes my first batch of holiday, mijn vakantie in Amsterdam. out of all the ‘missions’ i had, i only failed to do one, which was to go to this certain fabric store. but who knows, we might still go back there again one day, as we both loved our trip there so much. all in all, it was a 5 out of 5 star holiday, and i’m really satisfied with it!
PS. my cough is now completely gone too, yay!
PPS. bonus pictures, as if we haven’t gotten enough yet. :p these were from the hotel, there was a small art exhibition at the lobby. love the cute sheeps!
PPPS. half of the pictures were taken by me and half by my husband using our mobile phones (and some using my old camera). we have more pics of the landscape and animals using a better camera, but i think i’ll cut this post short for now (LOL) and post them some other time.