Tuesday, 30 September 2008

A weekend of stroopwafels and canals

This weekend Mr Josiekitten and I went to Amsterdam. We flew from Norwich, our local airport, and landed half an hour after take-off! Not worth trying to take knitting on board for such a short flight! Everything went really smoothly - those of you who have been to Schipol airport will know that sometimes you can spend ages taxi-ing around until the plane finally comes to a stop. We only taxied for about 3 minutes! Straight through passport control, luggage some of the first to appear, quick train to Amsterdam Central station, and so within 2 hours of leaving the UK, we were out and about in Amsterdam, finding a rather nice Italian restaurant to have dinner. And the restaurant we ended up in had an extremely friendly resident ginger cat, who was rather partial to cheese, steak, ham, pizza ............ and made himself at home on my lap!
I didn't let a stinking cold spoil the weekend, and as usual, we managed to pack in a fair bit! First thing on Saturday morning we visited the Noordermarkt. It's a fabulous market, packed with stalls selling flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, bread and cheese. We bought some loaves of bread and some raisin and nut rolls to bring back home with us.

After stocking up on Stroopwafels to take back to work, we called in at the local yarn store, De Afstap.The shop stocks lots of Rowan yarn, and also Regia sock yarn. I bought myself a couple of balls of the new Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn, and also treated myself to a skein of Rowan Colourscape Chunky, and four balls of Rowan Cocoon. I paid a bit more for these than I would have done back home, but the yarns came with free patterns, so I managed to save quite a bit that way! The Colourscape Chunky is gorgeous. A little bit Noro-esque, with beautiful colours, you can definitely see Kaffe Fassett's influence here. Both of the Rowan yarns are destined to become scarves. In my view, a woman just can't have too many!

We then caught the train to Leiden, and spent the afternoon browsing round this University city. It's a smaller version of Amsterdam, with beautiful houses on the canals.

I managed to fit in another yarn store, after a bit of forward planning with the Dutch Knitters at the I Knit day in September. Ribbels is located in the centre of the city, amongst lots of interesting side streets (luckily for me, so Mr Josiekitten could wander while I browsed!) The shop is incredible - all the yarn is arranged by colour, so the impact is tremendous when you first go in. However, I didn't find it very helpful for quick browsing. I bought some Lang Mille Colori yarn (another scarf beckoning!), but would have needed a lot longer there to really get to grips with all the yarn! Mr Josiekitten is extremely tolerant of my woolly obsessions, but even he has his limits!!!

We wandered round another market and ate freshly made stroopwafels (YUM!), and also visited the Hortus Botanicus there, wandering around the beautiful gardens in the afternoon sunshine.

We went out to dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, Seasons, and had a delicious meal. I had a Dutch speciality called Stampot - potatoes and leeks with smoked sausage. It was very tasty, and definitely something to try and make back home.

On Sunday we went to a concert at the Concertgebouw, and heard Dvorak's cello concerto and Smetana's Ma Vlast. Wonderful! After lunch we visited Rembrandt's house, and luckily our visit coincided with a very good demonstation on how etchings are made. We wandered along various canals, stopping off for drinks and a spot of people watching at various points,before ending up at the Pancake Bakery on Prinsengracht for a bite to eat before our journey back home.

We had a great weekend. Can't wait to go back again next year!


Kate said...

Now I'm craving stroopwaffles! :-( My corner shop sells them (about the only useful thing they do sell) so I'm going to have to avoid them til the urge subsides. ;-)

I saw the colourful yarn wall on AY, but it is so gorgeous! I think for someone like me who has problems putting colours together, it's probably really useful, but not so much if you're just dashing in for 100g of purple aran weight!

Nessa said...

Your post was really interesting to me as my family live in the Nederlands and I visit every month usually. They have just moved from Amstelveen which was near to Amsterdam to Nieuw Vennep which is further away but nearer to Haarlem. I have visited the shops you mentioned and always find the ladies very helpful.
I also love Stroopwafles and poffertjies...

Jominx said...

Aww disappointed there are no red light district pictures ;D (JK LOL) Looks like you had a fantastic weekend, I am very jealous of your trip to the rainbow yarn shop :D

Shauna said...

have you heard of the book classic elite yarns? they have a lot of beautiful straight foward patterns. I think you could do it! I found it on amazon.com