Sunday, 8 June 2014

Jazz, Amstel Gold and life in Amsterdam.

As the clock ticked away on my 12 hours in Amsterdam, I headed along the Hoogstraats (old and new) to Jodenbreestraat where I bought myself a vintage Italian tie.

I think this spot opposite The Rembrandthuis is my favourite view of Amsterdam. The old pub is actually a crooked house. Then I went to the fleamarket at Waterlooplein and then on to De Dokwerker.

By now I actually was tired, luckily I finally found a cake shop. I must admit it was a bit of a struggle. I had been led to believe that Amsterdam was famous for its Patisserie – I think I was misled.

However this is where I ended up;


It’s The Goa, and very relaxing it was too. Nice restrained design, eastern influenced in browns and black. Very modern but not too elitist. Comfy chairs and all kinds of refreshments including;


Yes, a small range of cakes! I have no idea what the labels were about, no matter – by now I was hungry.

I had a nice rest in The Goa, watched the world go by, recovered a little and found myself endlessly fascinated by the leaves on the trees on the opposite side of the road. The music was House but not too extreme, the clients more mature than usual and the atmosphere very definitely urban.

I enjoyed it……quite a lot.

I then hit the Nieuwmarkt on the edge of the redlight district, had a look at the market, went into Albert Heijn supermarkt and then off to an urgent appointment at The Cotton Club;

This was for a few hours of Jazz, an injection in the toilets and a quantity of Amstel Gold from the bar. This is a Saturday afternoon institution in A-Dam, quite a tough pub at times but some great music.

Ruth Geerse was singing a selection from the ‘Great American songbook’ and a few compositions of her own, backed up by her disciplined band;


Then in the evening I headed down to The Zeedijk or Chinatown, even if a lot of it is now Indonesian or Vietnamese.

I call it ‘Eat as much as you like Zeedijk’, because you can well, you can eat as much as you like.

Here’s my favourite restaurant;

And this, I’m afraid is what was only the second plate of my ‘Eat as much as you like in an hour’, Chinese food.
It was delicious, even if a party of Chinese people stormed in and ate all the Dim Sum in about 20 seconds. I am afraid I am no innocent myself in the world of 'eat as much as you like'.

As I left, I was barely able to walk. Hmmm scrummy.

I walked and walked and walked. I went all around the canals; The Singel and the Three, it was a charming evening.
I’d hoped to have a short while in The Jazz Café Alto, but I was far too early. Here it is;


It has some wonderful memories for me – always a good night at The Café Alto.
Still there were other diversions;

Finally at 11-00pm, with blisters on my feet and tired beyond belief, I staggered back to catch the coach.

I still had some cake with me and for a moment I thought it might be a nice gesture if I kept some to give to those sweet dogs you see at Border Control. But then, of course, I couldn’t because there was some chocolate and that would cause them harm.

Oh well, I just had to finish it off myself.

Thanks Amsterdam, old friend, for a magical 12 hours. I have other photos and stories, I'll save them for when I'm tired or bored.
Click on a picture to get a slideshow.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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