Adventurous Tales, Lego Blog, Poetry, Reviews, Brain Rambles and Assorted Nonsense.
Out of town on my own, I thought I’d lie in and have a very lazy stumbling time of the morning. To my surprise I was up at about ten. That does not qualify as a proper lie in; it’s still morning. I shook off my horror at being awake and basically functional, but was still in no hurry to achieve anything.
On my last whole day in Amsterdam I finally got my head straight – I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, however little I want, if I want. It’s not just my expectations about what others might expect me to do. I’ve got my own inner fool telling me I ought to do things, make the most of my time by filling every ticking second with activity (I’ve spared you the Caps Lock). I guess it’s fuelled by every cultural concept – laziness is bad, doing nothing is bad. I like doing little, or even just small things. I undertake several activities at once just because some part of my mind demands it. Time to amble. Time to wander.
So wander I did. Around my apartment. The incredible bread and cheese I’d acquired from Marqt, which I regret not photographing (despite finding pictures of food dull I have taken several…) made for a splendid breakfast once more. I also decided to crumble a huge bud of Blueberry into my brewing coffee. It’s possible that had an additional effect. I laid my plans as gently as my barefoot padding about the living room. With only a day and a bit left I knew I was going to have to ditch things. I’d already abandoned getting fucked up in coffeeshops, so that left places of genuine interest. There was no way I’d get to the Anne Frank House at a reasonable time, plus I only really want to go there if there’s a ghost train or similar interactive ride.
I eyed my Tripadvisor app, and the brilliant sunshine outside. Time for a proper explore (strictly limited by map and legs). On my vague list of interesting things was the Maritime Museum. I’ve been to several and rather enjoy the strange exhibitions and replica ships you often find. Het Scheepvaartmusuem held similar promise. But it is a bit of a walk out of town, or at least the bit I now considered my home turf. Even further out of the centre, to the east, up Mauritskade is a pub called De Gooier – it’s a windmill with a pub and brewery inside. Perfect. It seemed like the ideal place to go to before looking at boaty things.
Predictably I got lost. Fokke Simonstraat (where I was staying) is a really straightforward place to get directly to the De Gooier from. There is a tricksy bit where the road at the end of the street doesn’t take you to the same place as the next parallel road. I’ve don’t quite know where I went wrong, but I cheerily bumbled somewhere around the Plantage district before figuring out where I was. In part that’s because the otherwise incredibly useful Tripadvisor Amsterdam app won’t let you enter street names or postcodes. I guess that’s because it’s an offline map. So I had to look for shops or hotels that I thought might be on it to orient myself. I’m not great at maps or directions anyway – they just wash over me and I blithely head in the opposite direction.
I saw a lot of bridges, which is one of the reasons I knew I was lost – I’d taken note of how many I should cross, and promptly lost count. Too much gazing about at the general prettiness of Amsterdam. It’s a verdant city, in which they’ve crammed as many forms of transport as possible. I never did get used to looking right when I crossed roads. I did find lots of university buildings and blocks of apartment flats. They appear to be doing as much work on building or renovating tram routes as they’re currently doing at home. It all contributes to a happy sense of familiarity. Eventually I crossed an awesome bridge and arrived at the windmill before it opened. Damn.
What a great place – it’s an original 18th century windmill, one of very few left. Plus it’s a windmill, so I immediately think of the scene in Sleepy Hollow and Grotbags from The Pink Windmill. Thankfully there’s no sign of an emu or a weird green duck in a nappy in sight. Once we were allowed inside (lots of grumpy tourists who didn’t want to sit gently in the sun) I found a spacious tiled bar (not dissimilar to our kitchen) with pumps and pumps of lovely beer. Even better (for me) it was nice and cold inside and all the other patrons were outside. I seized an antisocial cool spot by a window. I realised that one of the activities I love most in the whole wide world is sitting and reading a book. Doing so in nice cool windmill pub is perfect. Had I not had vague plans I would have stayed until closing.
It wasn’t until after I’d had a half of a lovely wheat beer that I noticed they do a similar drinks platter to the three 1/3 pint glasses you get during beer festivals. Here they do it with five 20cl glasses. The beer is supplied by the exquisite Brouwerij’t Ij. The beers are truly excellent and I enjoyed each and every one (from left to right). I also got some fine grillwurst – a fat spicy sausage (served with a fork and chutney), since I’d been walking for a while in the sun and am terrible at remembering to eat when I’m away. The people are very friendly (two of the barely dozen people I spoke to in the whole trip) and enthusiastic about their drinks. The beers made me read more. I think I got through the beer by about half past three.
Once I’d finished admiring the bottles ringing the room and prevented other tourists from sampling the beers for long enough (they only have five sets of the little glasses) I somewhat tipsily tumbled out of the place.
Concentrating hard on my map told me that the maritime museum was slightly north and back towards town, in an almost completely straight line. Bonus.