Ten years ago we lived in Amsterdam, and damn it was fun. Lots of dinner parties, a brownie every now and then, but really, our location was ideal. We lived a block from some of Europe’s best cafe culture, where we’d sit at Cafe Luxemburg and watch the world cycle by…
It was just a tiny block from the main flower market, and, as if it could not get any better…every Friday morning I walked downstairs into the main square, it was right there….and spent the morning browsing old, rare and second hard books at Spui Square. Books from dozens of booksellers, books about everything for any kind of connoisseur or dilettante. Every subject was covered, in English, in Dutch, French, and German along with pamphlets, posters, documents and periodicals from across the planet.
Our flat sat on a street called Voetboogstraat, a narrow street I could never pronouce, but it did boast the very finest made Belgian french fries. This tiny place was called ‘Vlaam’s Friteshuis Vleminckx’, lliterally a hole in the wall, where you could walk by and buy the finest fries you’d ever find. Large, light crispy fries salted to perfection. Served with mayonnaise or ketchup – who cared – they were hot and tasted like heaven.
And you know it’s the town for Van Gogh…. but I couldn’t find my favorite – I had to take a train to Otterlo, outside the city, a small suburban village out of of Amsterdam, where you can see how they really live. And my goodness, it was worth it, there was my favorite Van Gogh, “Cafe Terrace at Night”. Just a train, and a bicycle ride and you’re deep inside the National Park De Hoge Veluwe at the Kroller Muller Museum. Plenty of masters, including Monet, Picasso, Seurat, Braque and Cezanne….it’s really worth the trip.