Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Last week in Amsterdam

Hello Friends,

I cannot get my card reader working today to give you new pictures :( . I did want to post this and will do a picture post when it stops playing possum with me.

After such a nice day Thursday on the canal Friday was frankly awful. Very heavy rain and some wind, not nice at all, all day too, little respite. 

I like this picture but others were more descriptive I think.
We had supper, yes, again, instead of lunch at the Uptown Meat Club, a burger split between us, burger itself was small compared to some but very tasty, rather  have that than a bigger one that isn’t. Chef came out and talked to us for a bit, he said the theatre crowd sometimes comes to them before or after a performance, theatre is just down the street. What I heard from him was, there wasn’t much predictability in the business, especially since it’s in the museum district with tourists but they do have their regulars too. 

Yesterday there was construction at both ends between the apartment blocking the sidewalk both ways for Bruce’s chair. He was able to maneuver the chair down but coming back we had to accept help from others to get the chair over the curb and into the building. Going right is no longer an option for him but going left, longer route to get to an exit is open now, just takes a run up and back to get to the other side of where we want to be. Construction to the right is permanent at least while we are remaining here, another week, scaffolding is erected. A bit inconvenient for Bruce and some seem to move things for his passage, others don’t care, blocking the entire sidewalk. 

People with walking problems here tend to ride regular bikes many also use, not so much motorized wheelchairs but modified motorcycles, smaller versions of Bruce’s Pepe le Pew, four wheeled scooters. I didn’t mention, no one, or very few wear helmets here. If there is a way to modify wheels of any sort, here would be the place to find the invention! It is amazing to me what people carry on their bikes, from people riding sidesaddle on the back to large packages, even saw a sink go by the other day. 

Charles dropped off two strawberry tarts to our door at 9:30 at night, on the good side they were delicious but what? timing and … well we ate them, and we are both going back to Freiburg a little bit heavier I think. Next day Omar dropped off more flowers, I caught him in the hallway and said thanks and he appreciated that.

Wandering again into the area of West Amsterdam, actually found a pet store with a beautiful, curious, orange and white male kitten about 10 weeks old, so cute! Wonder what Lexi would think to have a companion, it’s small enough right now to share the travel box with her, if she’d let it, sorry, not going to happen, I envision the box tumbling about with them fighting inside, nope, not going to happen. They sold cat food in a way I’ve never seen before, am I boring you, skip this if so, they put it in 1kg bags, which is handier but of course more expensive, good for us though.

Photo Credit Omar Traore

Omar brought in these tubs to add to the garden, naturally Lexi was curious. I  almost got a picture of her in one, little head sticking out, she's too fast for me... 

This area of town has many small shops and cafes. I had a tuna salad sandwich, toasted with gouda cheese at Vlaamsch Broodhuys, can’t get my tongue around the name but they are known for fabulous bread. Bought a few food products at another bio store which had a friendly ambiance about it. I think I shop in those organic stores for the ambiance rather than the actual product, there admitted!

Passed by a building with a ladder like structure and a male statue standing on the last rung. Another building with triangle like mirror looking sculptures in an open atrium, I read that they were installed to transfer light and move with the sun (like a sunflower does). 

We had dinner at the Irish pub of bangers and mash, side salad, it was tasty, but with bits left over in our dishes a pigeon flew up onto the table, looked me straight in the eye and started eating my salad, thank goodness I was done with it. It didn’t listen to shoo, or my hand gestures, a fellow at a neighbouring table came and shooed it off. Actually two reasons it ignored me, we were face to face, birds eyes are on the side and it was a gutsy bird and used to pulling this trick. It came back for seconds but I caught it in time from mounting the table, same bird. 

Saturday and it’s a nuthouse of hoards of people, Bruce found it quite difficult to drive. That would be my only caution about this city, being that your chances of getting creamed by a bicycle are pretty high, but it will be a tourist riding one I think, the locals manoeuvre expertly. It’s almost a ballet watching them weave around walkers, cars and trams, all at high speed. 

Wandering towards the centre of the city we found Rembrandtplein, Rembrandt Square https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandtplein
It’s a large square ringed with restaurants and clubs. One must be particularly rowdy, because a team of fellows were using a hose to power wash the inside!

We found the only garlic restaurant in Amsterdam! Walking by many restaurants and I liked the ambiance of this one and hadn’t even seen the interior yet which is beautiful in a minimalist way. Many portraits of queens inside, good ones too. www.garlicqueen.nl I had garlic soup which had just a hint of garlic with a broth and cream base, served into a chive covered bowl with a metal flask of the soup. Bruce had a grilled cheese sandwich, come on Bruce! but that was what he wanted and was tasty. Walked back over three canals, after all this is Amsterdam. 

One of the first days we were here and I overheard a woman say “but I don’t see any water”, she had to walk about 100 meters to find it.

Back to The Seafood Bar for dinner, best king crab legs either one of us has had, although we don’t get them often. Last time we can remember was in Tofino on Long Beach, BC, years ago. Usually they come with drawn butter and lemon, these did not need either, so tasty. It is weird I go on and off crab but I figured that this would be a good place to eat it and righto! Sunday and they are turning people way if they don’t want to wait or have a reservation, busy place, always.


We took the number 2 tram up to Central train station and got a good fill of architecture, which was our intent! Cost for one hour is 2.90, daily cost is 7.50 which is a bargain if you are going very much further. Overheard a fellow saying, in London that would cost 15 GBP. There are some stops which require use of a ramp for Bruce’s chair, some not although they say wheelchair accessible, maybe they mean the push type, because Bruce’s chair required a ramp for the beginning station and the one at the train station. Especially at the train station I would have thought it would be accessible. I should probably do a separate post on accessibility in the cities we’ve been in, but for now we aren’t finding Amsterdam very much so.

Had another rather mediocre lunch at an old Irish pub, different from the one we’ve been to before, chosen mainly due to the fact it had heating outside and a good awning. Rain and wind were happening so we went next door to another outside seating area for a glass of wine to wait it out, not a bad thing at all. It feels like fall here now and likely will until we leave on Friday.

I haunted many of the tourist shops looking for actual cards, not postcards and they didn’t have any, just the same goods i.e. wooden shoes, fake tulips, well I won’t go on. Went into a shop that sells all Delft products, wow, nothing but Delft pottery, whole shop was white and blue, and blue and white. Anyway, the fellow told me of a card shop along the next canal. Only in Amsterdam are you given directions by canal! well, maybe in Bruges.

Found the shop and a delightful owner, she said it’s not a Netherlands thing to send Thank You cards, “we’re rude”, but it is changing with more people doing so. Step into the shop prevented Bruce’s entry so I asked if I could show him the selection I’d picked, she said “no problem I don’t expect you to run off with a few cards”. She thought we were brave travelling with Bruce’s chair, I told her it’s just a matter of booking ahead, loosing spontaneity, but better than sitting in one place all the time. She was a "card" in a card shop called Friends of Art.

There was an American/British store on the way back, always fun to see products we haven’t ever or haven’t for a long time. Bruce found some liquid smoke he uses sometimes so we bought that. The clerk in there was nice too and gave me his business card  so we can email them with an order if we want at Eichholtz Delicatessen.

Out for dinner again at the Aran Irish pub after checking out the other two pubs close by. We watched a fellow set up large fake dice coloured gold with white pips along the entrance and wondered, as we do, what event is happening. This was outside the Holland Casino, they advertise as the only one in Holland (not the Netherlands). Here’s another factoid for you, I had thought that Holland and the Netherlands were the same, not so. The country is called Netherlands, Holland is both a North and South state in it, thank Bruce for that tidbit.

All for now, next update will come from Freiburg. We travel to Cologne Friday and then Freiburg Saturday. There is a major break in the rail system at Karlsruhe so we'll have to be taken around that, inconvenient for us, but I can imagine very much more so for hauling freight.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat



Friday, September 8, 2017

Canal Boat Tour and more wandering Amsterdam

We wandered to the bigger supermarket which I found out today is the same chain as the one at the Van Gogh museum, then went out of the mall to find the Albert Cuyp market just there so walked it again and Bruce got more Stilton cheese and apricots. 

I had two missing buttons off one blouse and one off another so looked for a sewing kit which grocery stores and pharmacies don’t carry. We did stumble on an incredible store if you sew, it had the wee kit, and everything from A to Z in the way of sewing products, if I sewed I’d be in seventh heaven and was anyway, even though I don’t. Knowledgable clerks attended to the "real" sewing people in the shop, link  http://jandegrotekleinvakman.nl/

We were both pleased with our findings and came home across another canal. A lot of walking for me but so very interesting, today. 

Quite the building isn't it?
Note the crown on top of the lamp post, the City is renewing them on every post here. 

Lunch at the seafood place again and we are asked if we can be joined by other people, tables are quite small and close together, same as in most cities in Europe. A couple of ladies joined us and were speaking a language I didn’t recognize until the waitress came out and spoke to them, it was Dutch! Wait a minute, here I am in Amsterdam and didn’t recognize the language, why? Because I hadn’t heard conversations in Dutch before, small bits, but not entire conversations. Anyway they ordered a cold seafood plate to share and it as big as the grilled one we saw last week. Funny, they were offered bibs which even I picked up on, understood, said yes and took what I think will be a memorable picture, wine held, food, and bibs, not an everyday experience. We supposed after you got around all the shells it would be a reasonably sized lunch, presentation at this place is well done, an upmarket restaurant with both tourists and business people as clientele. 

Wednesday and it rains all day but we got lucky and went out for lunch of pea soup, different this time but good, while it stopped for a bit. 

We walked  in a different direction twice on Friday, in the morning along the  backstreets, houses are old and beautiful, had a very mediocre lunch at a Japanese restaurant who shall remain nameless, big chain, should  have taken clue from that. Very opulent inside with chandeliers and buddhas, in my opinion they should have spent more money on the chef’s. Anyway after lunch, more strolling and we find the restaurant and nightclub section, streets full of cafes of all different nations but  lots of Italian and one Tibetan, Indian and Nepal restaurant called Sherpa. We looked at the menu there and since we’ve never eaten Tibetan or Nepal food we’ll be going back to try that out, especially the Tibetan momo which is a small dumpling, proprietor was really nice too, always a bonus! 

Found these two, pays to look up! From the Blues Brothers movie, left John Belushi, right Dan Aykroyd
Bruce has been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, he says it's the place to go for great jazz from 30's and 40's eras. 

We found the jewelry making district, mostly handmade and expensive naturally, I enjoy seeing  these works of art and will buy on occasion if I find piece that I really like, but didn’t that day.

Tried the momo’s at Sherpa, and they  were delicious but I found the wrapper on a couple of them a bit thick, okay so I’m picky. Proprietor was really nice and explained everything to us, saw him serving other customers the same way.  It’s a  go back to place for us, but while we were waiting for the kitchen to open we sat at an Italian restaurant of which are many along the street, this one had an extensive menu which would be good to try, and wasn't. Further walking and it seems the streets are divided pretty much by type of food on  offer, steak and hamburgers down one, makes me wonder how to choose without using a rating company.

There are many groups of fellows walking the  streets, I think Amsterdam is a city to hold stag parties due to the red light district, the ability to smoke pot in some cafes and the easy nature of it being okay to drink a beer in the street if so inclined.

Walked into Vondelpark Sunday and two fellows were sitting on a bench, one came over three times to get a light for his bong, he said they don’t make them like they used to, keep going out. Went to the seafood bar again, I felt like I’m missing out on veggies so had a small salad. we sat next to a couple from Seattle, talkative and interesting.

We took a canal tour, I don’t know how many tour companies there are but many, we took Blue Boat. Honestly I think I probably have 50 or so bad pictures from it but did enjoy it immensely. Enjoy the following pictures.

Paddle boats for rent.

Look at those gabled windows and the bikes which look like this everywhere
These shutters indicate traditional "burgher" architecture, built for trades people who worked and lived there.
Magnificent sailing ship
Tower built for defence on the outer wall of the City
Look closely left one leans into the right, it happens here more frequently than you'd think.

We saw the NEMO Museum, fantastic looking building, the green is caused by copper plates.

There is no food or drink on this boat so I made up egg salad sandwiches and we took soft drinks. After we went to the Irish pub for a pint and I eavesdropped on two men talking advanced methods of farming.  

So that is the "lite" version of our thoroughly enjoyed boat tour and a bit about the neighbourhoods we've seen here.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Amsterdam Wanderings

We had the best Dutch pea soup ever with wonderful bread and even butter! At the Uptown Meat Club. We don’t know what aspect of it made it specifically Dutch and I haven’t eaten butter in years but this was fresh I think and very good. 

Interjection here, I hope I don’t come off as a food snob. At least I don’t think I am but do like access to fresh markets and well prepared food. 

Found another market on the net, http://albertcuyp-markt.amsterdam/?lang=en oldest in Amsterdam and walkable to, we’ll be going there for sure.Other things we want to do, flower market, a hop-on-off bus, as above picnic, that’s about it really. We are in the museum district but having seen the line ups and the hordes of tours going and coming, not for us. I would like to take a closer look at the Rijksmuseum, which is very close, just to actually look at it, not to go inside necessarily. Okay, admittedly I’m missing out several wonders of the world, well considered so, but I truly cannot abide long queues, crowds and the selfie sticks that come with, (although I think they are a great invention).

This fellow is holding a flute and wearing "winged" shoes, can't remember his name but liked it.
Walked up to the Rijksmuseum which holds many important past Dutch painters. 

Currently they have an installation named "Who's That Girl'
We walked around the grounds but didn’t go in. There are rather strange, to me, sculptures around it depicting stories they said of people, they are cubist in design and white, with painted black and red lines on them, not for me. There was a different sort of fountain on the grounds though, people could walk inside the circular water shoots and stand right inside the fountain!  

This is a Greek Triton, merman, there were several statues that came from the city gates when they were torn down.
The "I Amsterdam" sign is in front of the Rijksmuseum and people were climbing the letters and generally fooling around it, site of many more selfie sticks. 

Outdoor large chess set, one of a few in Amsterdam
Walked up to the Heineken brewery, original one, didn’t go in that either, sat along the river and watched the tour boats go by under gigantic willow trees with leaves dripping into the water. 



The bridges are lined with petunias, really festive.
Had lunch at a restaurant called Small Talk and it wasn’t really very good, but we are usually so lucky in our choices that one dud out of so many can be expected. This was chosen due to my being tired and hungry rather than a really good look at the menu, so I should just suck it up and continue to a better choice! 

We went to the floating flower market (which doesn't free float, it is moored to a dock) on Tuesday, crowded tram there, many people with large pieces of luggage going to the Central Station, but it was only three stops so not too long at least. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloemenmarkt One thing to note, this is not the best time of year to go to the flower market, there are hardly any real flowers available, best would be to go in spring when the real tulips are in abundance, not the wooden painted ones or plastic. Still it was a sight to see and on a previous trip we had seen it in the Spring so know what’s missing this time. 

Bruce wanted smoked edam cheese but I was kindly informed it’s smoked gouda they have here, doh. Proprietor came to the door, shop is three steep steps down, with samples for Bruce, so we bought smoked gouda, creamy smooth and, yes, smoky. There is a Chinese import store along there also and I’d been thinking to upgrade my sad cotton bathrobe for something nicer, maybe silk. So walking by this shop I see a nice one outside and go in to check it out. Bruce liked one and I liked another so we compromised and bought both, why? I can’t say, but they are both beautiful indecision reigned here and cost wasn’t a factor, not expensive, store was called TA HWA, The canal is called Singel. https://www.amsterdam.info/shopping/flowermarket/

We walked back over three canals which is pleasant in itself. Streets are really crowded with tourists, of course, and again, so many cyclists, some are obviously new at it and it must be a pretty scary experience for them.

Great post from Laurie Mitchell, and her dog Mango in Amsterdam 

I’m reading "Amsterdam, A brief life of the city" by Geert Mak I found in the closet, Bruce and I are still sharing my laptop so wanted something to read while he uses it. Interesting history of the city author seems to have researched from the archives.

There is an organic market close by so we went to check it out, unfortunately stairs prevented Bruce from coming in, we’re finding that frequent here. In Paris you could ring a bell and they would bring out a ramp, but here not so. Trams are good though. Anyway back to the market, nice, good selection of everything but didn’t get the vibe we did in Brussels where you walked in and immediately felt at home and welcomed. This one is more like a supermarket, I think Brussels was an anomaly, although I feel at our local Bio store in Rieselfeld, some of the same feeling as the one in Brussels.

Wandered the streets after, found a card/post office/cigarette shop and bought a card, postage and cigarettes, very handy. The area we walked through seems to be mostly sporting goods stores and health shops; then walked back to the Uptown Meat Club where we had the Dutch pea soup before, not available today so I had the Chicken coconut curry soup which wasn’t available last time, not worth the wait honestly. Bruce had the highest BLT we’ve ever seen, had a steak knife stuck in the middle, really, I should have taken a picture! He said it was very tasty. 

Muggy today so our plans to go to the Albert Cuyp market shelved for a cooler day but we wandered the streets and found a used book store which sold English books, I bought one for 4 Euros, bargain! Then we went back to the Seafood Bar and I had a lovely sole over cooked vegetables covered with a delicate mustard sauce, really good! Bruce had fish and chips again which he enjoyed. The couple who sat next to us, she’s from Jamaica and he’s from the Netherlands ordered the seafood combo grill which was huge when it arrived! Artfully arranged but just so large! Looked good.

Beautiful building, note the top, the hooks are still used for moving goods in and out of the buildings.
We did make it to the Albert Cuyp market on Friday and it wasn’t too crowded http://albertcuyp-markt.amsterdam/?lang=en A real mix of cheap items and expensive ones along with food, as said, a real mix. Many stalls are extensions of real stores so there is much to investigate if willing. Stretches across oh, guessing, 10 blocks and visited by locals and tourists both. Many stalls of thin crisp pancakes and crepes of every description, would be worth another visit to get a savoury crepe and Bruce found good dried apricots and some Stilton cheese, okay Ryan, know we are in Holland, with another 200 kinds of local cheese and he’s still buying British…

After we were informed Apple would not cover the cost of repair of the motherboard on Bruce’s computer we decided to buy him a new one. Apple store here in Amsterdam is really close to the flat so we went Saturday, soon as possible after hearing the news on the non-repair. Met an older fellow named Peter who was good to us and now Bruce has a computer again, backup from the previous one will go to Freiburg and that’s fine too. Peter said it is best not to get a computer repaired that has had water damage, it usually affects something other than the keyboard, good to know. 

We had Indonesian food, a first for us, at Samo Sebo, a small family run restaurant we have stopped by for a drink at. We asked the fellow what was good since the menu is 90% written in Indonesian so he gave us a sampler plate each, food brought home again, but it was impressive in light spice and wonderful taste. It even included a cooked plantain which is different but similar to a banana, honestly I was prepared not to like it much but did.

Outside the WCs, says it all!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Amsterdam Unique Lodgings

Hello friends,

I'll do a separate post(s) about Amsterdam the City but we are living in a truly unique apartment here in the Museums District, next to Vondelpark. It is a converted 18th century building originally built for the wealthy so has moulded ceilings which is pretty much all that's left of the original I think in this suite. 

From the book Amsterdam Architecture, A Guide (2006 Gaston Bekkers and THOTH Publishers) "Successful example of speculative building for the better-off. Fifteen terraced house, in plan and section resembling an 18th century palace, incorporating two wings and pavilions. Louis XVI ornament with meander, palmettos, Vitruvian Scroll, etc. A few vertical accents due to situation, immediately opposite Vondelpark." 

The facade has changed quite dramatically except No. 15 which we are in.  


Koi, from small to large, we think maybe fifteen of them 
We are in the Garden Suite which is aptly named, mini stream runs into a tree lined pond with Koi in it. More in a bit...


Lovely lily pad and flower
The train Paris to Amsterdam, friendly roller taxi drivers at both ends was smooth. At the flat we are greeted by Charles and Omar, so drop the bags and Lexi because we have to wait for the cleaner to finish the flat so we do a small shop and enjoy a glass of wine and watch all the people on bikes riding, make that zipping by. Major form of transport here, as you probably know, but it is quite amazing, so many! Get to the flat and Omar is here to get us settled and show us all the technology that makes everything work, even the inside and outside gas fireplaces. He’s kind of like a concierge, here to make our visit comfortable. Found out later he is also a supreme gardener and photographer extraordinaire, you’ll see some in this blog with his permission. 

Outside looking in. Photo Credit Omar Traore, Vossious Photography (Vossious is the name of the street we are on)
Charles owns the suite, he's the fellow in the video. Pictures and/or videos are worth a thousand words so here’s an artistic video of the flat we are in… http://parkmansion.amsterdam/?page_id=15 and pictures.

Omar is the “go to guy” to get things done. He even made croissants and bread for us to welcome us the next morning. Note comes on a postcard under our door with cheery smiley faces and a bit about the weather expected for the day. Charles came in to explain the rules of the house. Fridge is full of meat, cheese, dairy, beverages of all sorts, drawers are full of sweet and salty biscuits and chips, we won’t starve for sure! Met the next tier, Gilbert, who does the cleaning, laundry etc for the flat, he also helped Bruce plug in his wheels, we looked inside the cabinet we were told to use in the hallway and didn’t know which plugin to use, didn’t want to wreck any of the numerous electrical systems housed in there so called. 

This place is really more on the genre of a hotel than an independent apartment. That means no laundry for a month, Thanks Gilbert!, and minimal grocery shopping, Thanks Omar!, although we like the shopping part, hauling it home isn’t always the easiest. Lexi’s litter is heavy and sometimes so is her food. Oh, speaking of Lexi I heard a growl last night, middle of the night, quite loud! Charles cat Koshka had come into the garden for a “visit”. It is her garden after all, she probably wanted to check out Lexi the intruder, Lexi was rude and protecting her space and people, so Koshka backed off after a while. 

We get breakfast of warm, fresh croissants and bread, yesterday later in the day a complete cinnamon apple pie, still warm, was delivered by Omar, apparently a specialty of the house. 

Wow! and scrumptious! Lots of cinnamon.
Whew, we have a lot of food, tomorrow I think we’ll make a picnic of some and take it to Vondelpark which is close by. Must look at what’s there at the park, looks to be a large one.  

Omar came to do some gardening when we came home and when he’d finished came back and asked if he could let Koshka their cat into the garden for half an hour. Then she hid and prowled back and forth until she came to our door, let her in and out the main door into the hallway. All this time Lexi was asleep in the bed so we closed the door to her. Koshka, the Mistress, of the garden, is apparently quite upset she can’t get into her garden. 

Outside Mistress Koshka
As you can see she's a pretty cat, taupe mostly with a bit of brown on her face, a bit thinner than Lexi but about the same size. So that was our cat drama for the day. I’ll suggest they bring her earlier next time, just after we’ve got home and Lexi is still out for the count for another couple of hours.


Inside Mistress Lexi

More about the garden, it is, as is about six years old. The large trees were grown in a nursery and brought by crane into the garden mature, some are really tall, must have been quite the effort. It’s how they brought in the picture window also, which takes two hours to clean. Omar has planted over sixty plants in this garden and maintains it. More about Omar, father Malaysian, mother Croatian, surname is Malaysian. He comes from Zagreb, Croatia, which I’ve heard a fair bit about from bloggers I read.

Garden lit at night, from above. Photo Credit Omar Traore, Vossious Photography
The garden is lit at night as you can see, ruling is that if you turn on the lights, you turn them off, if someone else turns on the lights, they turn them off, you don't. It's all about sharing the garden with people upstairs. 

We are living with nature in the middle of the city, there is a heron that comes to visit, we saw it looking down at the koi and wondering how to get a meal out of them; I was out in the smoking area which I haven’t mentioned yet, later, about dusk and a small rodent came out from under the bench, mole, vole, mouse, not sure but I didn’t shriek, just thought about Koshka making a meal of it, yuck; several slugs, the small brown kind; so far mosquitos are not a problem although they could be, the water in the pond moves though so that’s probably a help. They seem to have those green parrots we’ve seen in Sevilla first and then Brussels, same noise and Omar confirmed they are, hard to see in all the green but nice to hear.

Smoking area is a U-shaped covered patio at the end of the path from the suite. It has an outdoor gas fireplace, which we haven't used yet. Around the U are cushioned benches with pillows and sheep skins, very comfortable, and that is a good thing since we spend most of our time out here. WiFi works well out there, in fact I'm writing this blog post propped on a sheep skin with pillow at my back, feet up to make a table with my lap, very comfortable. The stream is bubbling beside me and I have a view of the garden, since I'm in it.

As for plants, there has to be over a 100 species, even strawberry and grape, tree ferns (one sprouting a fiddlehead at the moment) with large trunks and delicate leaves; palms of different sorts, a jasmine that smells lovely; lily pads of various sizes; planted round boxwood plants which I thought looked strange in this more exotic garden but actually look nice. And of course the koi, from small to a quite large one that is more yellow than orange.

This flat comes with flower arrangements which we’ve enjoyed and got renewed today. One large for the kitchen/living room and one for the bathroom. I always have felt “rich” to have an arrangement in the bathroom and the only time that has ever happened before with me is when my mom sent me boxes of daffodils, I’d spread them about in my apartment including the bathroom and take some to work. She would fill a shoe box full of buds and mail them, they were so very much appreciated in Alberta in the cold, mushy, dreary, days of March!

Charles brought us a sponge cake, and honestly he does’t get that we don’t eat sweets but that has changed since his bakings have been offered. Bruce devoured the cake, I was lucky to get a slice to taste. Maybe Bruce’s inherent sweet tooth has come out while Dawna, his sister has always had it.

Omar delivered two tarts to us from “the best patisserie” in Amsterdam from Charles, very, very good! 

Both pretty and tasty, not pretty for long!
Charles asked us if a lady from an Amsterdam magazine like “Architecture Digest” could come and visit the garden so she came and was impressed I think, must ask for a copy or link to the article, curious to see what she’s written.

So that's where we are until mid-September, pampered and well fed!

Next post, Amsterdam and enough about food! Well, maybe a little bit about a seafood meal I had that was fantastic...

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the jealous Lexi Cat


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bateaux Parisiens Boat Tour


We took the Bateaux Parisiens boat tour again but no rain this time like this one http://bevbrucelexi.blogspot.nl/2016/09/boat-or-bateaux-tour-on-seine.html . Meal was good, service not as good, okay for us, but the French couple sitting next to us seemed to wait forever for their entree, we were almost done before they got theirs and two waiters checked the chit at their table before they got it. They were fast voracious eaters too so wouldn’t have appreciated the wait. 

Note the little red car on the back of this boat, they're ready to travel either way!
Couple behind us were American and had been on the boat earlier in the week for the dinner cruise, how do I know that, because the woman’s voice I could clearly hear as if she was sitting next to me, well clearly close anyway, and she wasn’t objectionable, just her voice carried. This is where Bruce and I have a bit of trouble, he can’t hear me in a normal range of voice due to ambulant noise and I don’t want to talk too loud like a tourist. Solution would be to whisper into his ear, must try that! Two singers, male and female, both good, same female as last year. So I think I’ll leave you with the best of pictures and that’s all folks for now.

Notre Dame Cathedral
Well that's different! 
Sorry, I don't know the name of this bridge but there are two statues alike and lots of gold.
 
Had to add another of the Eiffel, obsessed? Maybe!
On another note, I found the next three little statues in a travel store window and liked them very much so maybe you will too.

The confidence!
Indifference
Just getting some sun, but not on our heads!
We're now in Amsterdam and staying in a very special property with a garden and pond with koi fish swimming in it, I'll likely do a post about the property alone, next time we "talk". Nice to be back in Amsterdam after a few years, we were here before on a short rainy visit. The biggest thing for me in this city is the masses of people cycling! More on that later too.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat who was let out into the garden by mistake, ate some grass, and you likely know the result of that...