Saturday, 6 February 2010
Abroad Thoughts from Home.
Today would be a perfect Ijmuiden day if we were still living in Amsterdam. Sunny but cold, it's just the day for a long walk on the beach, kicking a football and watching the kites.
But we're in London, so all we can do is think about the things we miss about Amsterdam. And, after eight years, there are quite a few...
There's the Vondelpark, our substitute for a garden, virtually on our doorstep and perfect for walks, cycling, picnics, cafes and playgrounds.
And the Amsterdamse Bos, a man-made forest on the outskirts of town, with a play island just for children.
Indonesian food is almost impossible to get in the UK...but a staple in Amsterdam. The best place to try it is Tempo Doeloe on the Utrechtestraat.
Licorice is the Dutch national sweet (or drop in Dutch...it's my daughter's one and only Dutch word. She grimaces if a piece of fennel sneaks into a salad and says 'urgh...it tastes of drop.' I once bought a drop-flavoured breakfast cereal, which didn't go down well) but what we miss are the marzipan fruits we'd buy on special occasions from the chocolate shop on the Beethovenstraat.
We loved wandering around Amsterdam, discovering out of the way places like the Prinseneiland.
And as we lived just down the road from the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, we could go in and just gaze at one picture at a time.
And then there was the expat lifestyle. The way the kids mixed with all nationalities, and had to stand up and represent Britain, a country they hardly knew (my two are at the front)
And...after four years in a mouse-infested not so great maisonette (but with lovely neighbours) we moved into possibly the nicest flat in the world, on the best street in Amsterdam.
If you're there, go and drink coffee on the terrace at de Joffers on the corner of Willemsparkweg and the Cornelisschuytstraat - come to think of it two more things we miss are the hot chocolate and the koffieverkeerd at de Joffers - and you're looking at my flat. Mine. All mine.
And these are just a few things we loved about Amsterdam...I haven't even mentioned our fabulous friends, the Zuiderzee museum, cycling, the canals, the shops...
it's nice to be home, but sometimes we feel homesick for abroad.
(the pictures ought to be mixed in with the text, but blogger's new editor doesn't work for me. Anyone got any ideas?)