Socks and Shoes

We are halfway through our last stop on this tour. We have had a great time, but that big bed is calling our names.

Yesterday we exposed Ria and Scott to their first Vietnamese coffee, complete with the obligatory condensed milk. The owner of the shop moved here 10 or 12 years ago and 2 years ago opened her coffee shop, La Purete. She imports the coffee from Vietnam and roasts it herself. It was as good as anything we ever had in Vietnam. For those  unfortunate souls who have yet to have the experience, you have no idea what you are missing.

Get off Tram 16 at the Keizergracht stop and walk towards downtown on the east side of the street.

Get off Tram 16 at the Keizergracht stop and walk towards downtown on the east side of the street.

We were wandering through the shopping area – which is pretty much all of Amsterdam that isn’t a bar and came upon this little shop. The owner was delightful. She has been selling vintage clothing and accessories in this place for 25 years. The number and variety of socks and tights was fantastic.

Fabulous patterns on the tights

Fabulous patterns on the tights

Colour? You want colour?

Colour? You want colour?

You name the pattern, she's got the pattern

You name the pattern, she’s got the pattern

But our favourite were these – a package of three.

Mix and match the faces each day!

Mix and match the faces each day!

We had some time to kill before our appointment to go through the Anne Frank house so stopped for a drink at a little cafe. Now, you need to know that for some strange, unfathomable reason Scott has a thing for accordion music. He just loves it. Imagine his glee when this gentlemen strolled across the street and began playing right next to us.

Now imagine his dismay when the woman in the next restaurant came out and threatened to call the police if he didn't move on. I was surprised, he wasn't really bothering anyone and you could just say no when he approached you for some change. Poor Scottie.

Now imagine his dismay when the woman in the next restaurant came out and threatened to call the police if he didn’t move on. I was surprised, he wasn’t really bothering anyone and you could just say no when he approached you for some change. Poor Scottie.

Then we visited the Anne Frank house (no photos allowed). It was quite the experience. After Oskar Schindler’s factory, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Jewish Memorial and Jewish Museum in Berlin, this seemed to bring it all together. I think because it was so incredibly personal in that we have all read her book. What was surprising were the sizes of the rooms. They were quite large. When it was turned into a museum, Otto Frank, the only survivor and Anne’s father did not want the rooms furnished as they had been, so the most powerful items were pages from her actual diaries and books. The Frank family were betrayed by someone who has never been identified. I suspect it was one of the people closest to the families living there since the hiding place was so well hidden.

Strangely enough, the single most emotional item there for Terry and I was the actual Oscar award given to Shelley Winters for her portrayal of Mrs. Petronella Van Daan, one of the women who lived in the secret annex. When she won, she told Mr. Frank that she would keep it for a while and then give it to the house, which she did. Somehow, seeing it at the end of the tour just tore both of us up.

Someone else took this photo - I just stole it from the internet.

Someone else took this photo – I just stole it from the internet.

From there it was meandering until dinner to be followed by the infamous red light district at night.

We sat at a street side bar/cafe and watched the Dutch go by.

But first, I get what can only be described as a healthy pour of what turned out to be a very nice wine.

But first, I get what can only be described as a healthy pour of what turned out to be a very nice wine.

Terry took all these photos.

Next up, a fashionista on his way home from work

Next up, a fashionista on his way home from work

Focus man, focus

Focus man, focus – or is it “Get out of my way!”

This gentleman appears to be happily singing - probably also on his way home.

This gentleman appears to be happily singing – probably also on his way home.

Sing it out, sister

Sing it out, sister

Just groin' to the tunes

Just groovin’ to the tunes

Guy watching' girl...

Guy watching’ girl…

...and girl watching' guy

…and girl watching’ guy

Finally – even in Amsterdam there are distracted drivers riders

Pay attention!

Pay attention!

After dinner at a very nice Thai restaurant, owned by a sardonic Chinese/Dutch fellow who has only one Thai person working for him, it was off to the “sights”. Here’s the problem. It doesn’t actually get dark until after 10:30 and we finished dinner at about 8:00. We’re old and the chances of us being up at 10:30 are negligible. We assume most of the action starts when it is dark, so we didn’t see the traditional sights. However, at street level in many little alleys are glass doors behind which sit minimally dressed women. There may have been 15 or 20 of these rooms which were “in operation”. There were many others waiting for a woman to start work.

I want to say that I felt quite uncomfortable walking through here for the 15 – 20 minutes we were there. I’m far from a puritan, but the entire atmosphere was demeaning. From the hordes of drunk guys on stags marauding through the streets, to the middle aged tourists – me included – to the parents with children it was like we were alien visitors to a zoo, with the unfortunate women in glass cages. It was the ultimate degrading tourist trap.

Saturday we headed off to Zaanse Schans. This is a typical Dutch village which dates from the 18th and 19th centuries. We watched how they make wooden shoes – it now takes 10 minutes on a couple of machines to make a pair as opposed to the 3-4 hours it used to take. We saw many many windmills – most of them still working. We enjoyed a nice lunch and walked through along a street of traditional homes. All in all it was a pleasant experience – right up until we got on the bus for the very hot, long forty minute bus ride home.

Anyway, there’s the wedding wooden shoes

Wedding

There’s the steppin’ out wooden shoes

Saddle

There’s the artsy wooden shoes

Arty

And there’s the travellin’ wooden shoes

Roller

A couple of the traditional homes.

House1

There are lyers upon layers upon layers of the green enamel paint.

There are layers upon layers upon layers of the green enamel paint.

We always seem to have our picture taken on a bridge...

We always seem to have our picture taken on a bridge…

The Shoe Blog

What else?

The "Stiletto" wooden shoe

The “Stiletto” wooden shoe

 

6 thoughts on “Socks and Shoes

  1. Val

    I love the wooden shoes. I have a pair that belonged to my dad. I have no idea how he came to have them. Perhaps they have a future as a planter for succulents once I figure out a liner system. It seems like you have had a wonderful holiday. I guess it is nearly time to get settled into that new place in Kelowna.

    Reply
    1. ggwatt Post author

      Penticton Val, Penticton. You and Bob coming to visit now we are closer? BTW – I suddenly thought -do you have a piece of artwork for us?

      Reply
  2. Peter Therrien

    1. Scott should have paid the guy to stay.
    2. Love the Kennedy “set”.
    3. What a great pic of you two on the bridge.
    4. We had two pairs of wooden shoes in our house when I was a kid, but they never fit me.
    5. yes, time to go home!
    6. Positive responses to the dates. for guys.

    Reply

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