I find that many a good day begins with a mug of coffee and ends with a glass of wine. Throw some art and fresh bread in the middle, and we’ve probably got a winner.
Yesterday, amid bursts of torrential rain, we ventured to a new area of Amsterdam: Westerpark and the surrounding streets.
From Centraal Station we took the 22 Bus out to Nassauplein and hopped off right at the edge of the Westerpark. We’d counted on spending a bit more time outside in the park itself, but the weather interfered with those plans. This was all right, in the end, because on our two walks across the park we saw a lot of runners, which was nice; but also several clusters of middle-aged men drinking or getting high at noon, and it lent the park a sketchy feel even in broad daylight—arguably hard to achieve for a place with so much green grass and statuary.
We lunched at De Bakkerswinkel, right on the edge of the park. This was an amazing find, and although this isn’t exactly in central Amsterdam, you should really go there if you have the chance. (Per their website, they have other locations, but I can only speak to this one.) Fresh-baked, hearty bread comes with your choice of a few meats, cheeses, and spreads. The menu confused me at first, because it looked like the goal was just assembling an expensive sandwich (the full-size sandwiches were €9,60, so I ordered a “small” one and Tim got the full-size), but when they brought them out, we understood.
The choices were really assembling a platter of sorts, from which you pieced together your own creations. The small size (this photo is the full size) was more than enough for me. And after we finished those, it was still raining and the baked goods were enticing, so we shared a scone and had some coffee.
The main lure to Amsterdam yesterday was a friend’s art exhibit. Tim’s colleague Jacob is also an artist, and his panoramic drawings are being shown in a local gallery this month. (He draws them right on the street—only one shot to get it right. No editing? I can’t artistically fathom this.) The gallery was just above the park, and we were the first people in the door when the exhibit opened at three. We enjoyed the work (my favorite panorama was the one of Broad Street, Oxford) and spent some time there with friends.
Our final stop in Amsterdam was the wine bar Vyne (we took the 10 tram there from Westerpark). The Dutch seem to prefer beer over wine, while Tim and I prefer wine over beer; and often here in a smaller restaurant if you ask about wine they just say, “Do you want the red or the white?” So we had read about Vyne and took the opportunity to check it out. This, too, was a good pick. I am very put off by pretentious dining or drinking establishments, since I never look pretentious enough to get respect in them. Vyne felt classy but chill. (Maybe it helps here that even if we get mistaken for five years younger than we are, we’re still ten years above the drinking age….) A good amount of the 250+ wines are available by the glass and half-glass, and there is a short menu of appetizer-type dishes. The lengthy wijnkaart has no descriptions, so if you need direction you’ll have to ask, but the staff seemed friendly enough. Fair warning: you can rack up a bill here pretty quickly. But we had celebrating to do (see previous post).