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Pia reporting from Amsterdam

Monday, 11 October 2010 by Irene Hoofs


I’m a wanderer.  I love to wander wherever I am and try to make the time to do so as often as I can. My new home is Amsterdam, and I am head over heels for it’s quaint bridges, canals, and wonky old buildings. I love putting on my strolling shoes and wandering in Amsterdam, and this is one of my favourite wanders in this gorgeous city:

I start at utrechtstraat which is a strip of fabulous re staurants, cafes, homeware stores, music stores and delis. I then wander up towards rembrandts plein (’plein’ means ’square’). Then I continue up over the bridge of the amstel until I reach the beautiful staalstraat (’straat’ means ’street’) bridge:
Once here I turn right onto staalstraat which is full of gorgeous design shops including droog …
which is one of amsterdam’s destination design stores. Even though this is such a little street you could spend hours wandering between the stores. At the end of this street is one of my all time favourite amsterdam cafes: Puccini’s. The menu is fresh and delicious and no matter what time of day you wander this way, you must indulge in a puccini hot chocolate. I will not say anything more about this hot chocolate except that you must. Puccini’s also has a chocolate boutique just a few doors up so you can take home some gifts (for yourself).
So, after my chocolate comatose I turn left along the canal and this is where you will find all sorts of quaint painted apartment doors which to me, is so Dutch ‘keselic’ (homely) style. (Irene, I can’t remember how to spell this word, do you know the one I mean? Could you spell it properly for me? Px)
It’s along here that I change my path to discover new streets, so you just keep meandering and see what you discover along the canal, but keep to your left as you walk on ahead (you will spot such places as wonderwood, and some beautiful street art)…
and you will make your way to Nieuwmarkt which is another big square and marks the end of this walk. But don’t leave just yet as right in front of you is In De Waag,
an incredible medieval looking building turned restaurant which was once the Amsterdam ‘gatehouse’. Inside are beautiful beamed high ceilings, the whole restaurant lighted with candles. It is magical. Here I indulge (again! always with the indulging) in a glass of champagne and a little plate of Dutch bitterballen - I think these are some of the best in town. They also serve delicious cheese croquettes. You must arrive before 5pm though as the bar section closes to make room for dinner guests. I suggest you aim to arrive here at around 2-3pm as they change the candles in the huge chandeliers and that is quite a sight. You can also sit outside In De Waag when it is a sunny day. Bliss.
I hope this little ‘wander guide’ comes in handy for some of you, do let me know! I will share more of my wanders on my blog in coming months.

* * *Pia Jane Bijkerk blog
* * *My Heart Wanders project by Pia

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