Our Dam Life

After looking through my posts, I realized that I haven’t written much about the city where we spend the most time- our new home of Amsterdam! Duh Julie! Obviously, this will be a recurring post as we continue to share our lives with all four three of you that actually read my ramblings.

As for the ‘hood we now reside in, De Pijp, we are within a 5 minute walk of the famous Albert Cuyp Market, Sarphatipark, canals and the almighty Heineken Brewery, where we will send you when we need a break- Kidding!. Sort of… Traveler Tip: The Heineken Experience (as it’s called) is alright, but one of those ‘you only need to do it once’ kinda things. You learn about the history of the Heinie (barley+hops+water=beer) and see some interesting (read: old) beer tanks and stuff. Also, the entire tour is in English! They sure know their audience. After you go for a 3-D, interactive ride as a bottle of beer (which was actually pretty hilarious), and take a lesson on how to properly pour a beer (the more foam the better – who knew?), you’re freed. The bar at the end of the tour is supposed to be awesome, but it’s just awkward. Lots of “I think I’m cool” types, which hopefully, we did not get categorized with. Although we were both wearing dark-rimmed glasses… Anyway, you get two beers for free with the tour and I think they hope you have enough buzz when you leave to say, “Wow! What a cool… experience!” …

We also have a bread shop down the street and tons of cute little cafes, pubs and restaurants nearby. Very much fits our lifestyle and taste. There are also several coffeeshops (no, haven’t tried any of these neighborhood ones yet) and a teeny little red light area (haven’t tried that either, thanks), which we heard is called ‘the seven lost hookers’. If you are curious enough, I’ll just have to show you and you’ll understand immediately.

Have I mentioned how awesome the Cuyp market is? Well let me go ahead and do that. It’s awesome. I stroll through it during the day to pick out things for dinner, like the giant bundle of fresh asparagus I bought the other day. For only a euro! Been cooking a lot and really enjoying it. Jaro enjoys it too. 🙂 Traveler Tip: The market has way more than food though. Tons of fresh flowers, all kinds of toiletries, clothing, jewelry, etc. It’s a great way to spend a little time outside on a nice day. And bring small bills to make it easier on the vendors, would ya? When Jaro and I visited in July, we had a great afternoon walking through here, buying a hunk of cheese and bottle of wine, then sitting at a park to enjoy it. We also tried an authentic herring sandwich, which is raw herring (skin and all), onions and pickles. It was … interesting. Now I walk through it on the reg and I’m hoping to get ‘in’ with a few of the vendors. Specifically any of the cheese or flower vendors.

Can’t wait to share more adventuring with you! Have a great weekend. xo

Amsterdam House Hunt, part twee

Time to revisit that little piece o’ news I mentioned a couple of weeks ago and give you guys a little more information about it. We have a spacious, beautiful loft in the heart of De Pijp (roughly pronounced ‘Pipe’ for us Americans). This hip, little neighborhood is located in the Amsterdam-Zuid borough, so we are just south of the canal district. Now for all of you whining about us not having a canal view, I don’t want to hear it. As a visitor you would have had to sleep on the floor since there is no way we could have found a place with all our must-haves like a second bedroom. So really, this arrangement works out better for you, our guests. You all are visiting, right?

We are almost finished furnishing the place and let me tell you, it is no small undertaking. Our initial expectations were pretty low (by that I mean, teeny tiny), so we didn’t ship a lot of our furniture. Boy, were we off! We be shoppin’ up a storm to make this house a home. Last night we bough a beautiful dining room table and, for some reason, that purchase made me feel like a real adult. I mean, it’s teak. Fancy. We still don’t have chairs yet, but hey, we’re getting there. While it will still look pretty bare in here, it’s all intentional as we plan on filling it up with personal items that we will collect as we travel. You all know how impatient I am so this will be a challenge for me. As soon as we are all initially set up, I will post some before and after pictures to get that ‘Oooh’ and ‘Ahh’ effect from all of you. I know, I know, I have been making empty promises talking about pictures for quite awhile, but now that we have our home computer, I can start uploading! Yay!

While we are thrilled with our loft, moving into a new place abroad has had its challenges. Like…

– we have a convection oven. I always saw the instructions on food packaging, but didn’t think they actually exist. You know, like the Lock Ness Monster. Anyway, it’s the size of a large toaster. I made some mean stuffed portabellos in there last night though, I will dominate it soon enough.

– we have huge, 2-story windows. How on earth are we supposed to clean those things? #firstworldproblems

-our TV and computer are from the States and I grumpily happily went to four places before I found a shop with 3-prong converters.

-the metric system. Liters. Meters. Celsius. All things I know embarrassingly little about. I do know that 82 Fahrenheit is the one temperature that can be flipped to 28 Celsius exactly. #nerdalert

That’s it for now.

xxx

Amsterdam House Hunt, part een

Well, hallo there. I have some exciting news. Jaro and I had our apartment search with the relocation agency last week and it was a success!

We looked at seven places around the city and I could not believe the range of sizes and amenities we saw. Some teeny tiny, others colossal. Some about to cave in, others fully renovated. I am so surprised at what we can afford. And where we can afford it. At the end of the day, (can’t believe we were ready to commit after only a day), we were torn between two places and you won’t believe what we picked. We went with a 2-story, 2-bed, 2-bath, design dream for Jaro …. a LOFT!! It is huge, beautiful, spacious and sunny. We could have brought all our furniture from the States. Oh well, it will be fun to buy new things and decorate this place.

It’s the type of apartment we will not be able to have once we’re older with pets and/or children, so we are very excited to enjoy it while we can. Who are we? We even have our very own (enormous) rooftop. I hear it’s the best way to watch the NYE fireworks that explode literally all over the city. It is in the heart of the neighborhood we wanted on a quiet street between a beautiful park and a bumpin’ outdoor market. I cannot even explain to you guys how cool and how “us” this area is. Not that I think I’m cool… Anyway, we move in on October 1st, once our shipping container clears customs and we finally have all our own things.

Hooray for living abroad!

xxx