Monday, June 18, 2012

Final Thoughts AMS & MUC

By all means go to the Red Light District if you want to see it.  During the day, it is pretty unremarkable.  The women working looked tired to us and uninterested.  Their outfits were meant to shine fluorescent under black light so in the day it looks bland.  The age of the women surprised us.  I think we were expecting much younger.  We also had to wonder how many people fall in the canal there at night after a few drinks as it was barrier free.

What about the drugs you ask?  Again, you may get a whiff of weed as you pass a 'coffee shop' but most of the time we didn't.  The people we were able to see inside looked pretty laid back, which is the point.  In the 2 times we were in Amsterdam, we've seen maybe 2 -3 people walk not too straight who smelled like they had partaken.  Stoned people are really quiet unlike some drunk people...

Our temporary neighbourhood had their own daily outdoor market.  You could not only buy fruits and vegetables but also household items as well.  There were some prepared food stalls.  The thing that struck us about the set up was the chaotic feel of it. 

People jostled and you had to be assertive to even pay for your food.  After standing there with money in hand to buy 3 melons, waiting to make eye contact, I had to walk around, wave my money before someone took it.  I didn't notice anyone do this, but it would have been easy to walk off without payment because no one took notice of you.

The presentation of the market was 'rougher'.  We are used to seeing beautifully organized fruits etc in France and Germany.  Here, it was just laid out.  The aesthetic appeal wasn't there.  It was purely functional, which is fine.  Kinda like the food we ate in Munich.

In the Viktualienmarkt (Munich), there were a few places you can buy homemade spicy kosher pickles.  I can only say be careful!  The ones we bought when I bit into it, sent a shock through my teeth!  It felt like I was chewing tin foil on a tooth with a filling! 

D kept laughing because I would say 'Ow' each time I bit into a piece.  Once I swallowed it was fine.  He calls them electro pickles and of course they don't bother him.  My teeth checked out fine at my last dental appointment so I don't know what's going on. 

I'm jumping all around the place here... 

Because the owner of the apartment in Amsterdam was a writer, she provided a good collection of books.   I read two of them:  The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Four Souls by Louise Erdrich.  Neither of them were what I would call light or happy reading but if you like delving into the psychology of motivation, give them a go.

Amsterdam does a bang up job with its underground garbage/recycling containers and removal system.  There isn't door to door garbage collection like we have at home.  I'm not going to elaborate on it, it is something to witness in person.

If anyone is thinking of going into the import/export business in Europe, I would suggest they consider importing old bikes into Munich because you'd make a killing.  We saw rusty old granny bikes for sale at 400 Euro! 

Comparatively, we saw very regular (almost Ikea like) furniture for sale in Amsterdam for ridiculous prices ie. put together yourself not real wood chair for 85 Euro!  Yes, this stuff got me all worked up. 

My preferred brand of Slagroom. 
I will not fess up to the total amount consumed...

There was nothing really remarkable about our Munich apartment.
So the only thing I have to offer is a quick sketch of a potted plant
done while D was finishing up his morning coffee.

I am working on a future post about our experiences with apartment rentals in Europe.


  1. Wow... reading your last few posts are bringing back some memories from long ago.

    I lived in an apartment for 6 mos over top of one of those 'establishments' in the red light district; only this was in Antwerp.

    I wish I'd had a photograph of the look on my DW (girlfriend at the time) when she came over to stay with me and we arrived at the apartment... apparently I hadn't adequately described the 'neighbourhood' to her before her arrival.

    Agree completely with your observation. I used to wave to the working girls each morning as I'd walk by to first the bakery, then next door to the cheese shop then next door to the butcher, then return to the apt for breakfast.

    I remember at the time thinking we had it so backwards here in NA with our huge shopping centres buying our food in bulk once a week or so.

    I really enjoyed that morning ritual of getting our food fresh from each establishment; observing the interaction of the staff and customer... like two old friends meeting each day, something we rarely observe now while people are filling up their shopping carts going up and down the rows.

    Thanks for jogging the old grey matter and the trip down memory lane.

  2. @ Sailing;

    I really enjoy reading about your experiences and observations. They conjure up instant pictures in my mind.

    Thank you for rounding out my thoughts and inspiring new ones.

  3. ps. I too think we have it all wrong the way we shop. I like developing that relationship with store and restaurant owners. And the "specialty" food stores we have here seem so contrived, flashy and unauthentic compared to those in Europe. Hard to live in the moment when you buy food once a week...