I don’t know if our last few hours in Amsterdam deems a blog post but I figured I could wrap things up with a random hodge-podge of photos as I did take over 1,200 and it has been well over a month since we were in Amsterdam.
For starters, this shop (below picture) claimed to be “the only Russian giftshop in Holland”. You can actually see those exact words on the blue sign on either side of the shop. My first question: How on earth do you confirm something like that?
Pictured below is the Rembrandt Square (Rembrandtplein). The gold statue is one of Rembrandt, thoughtfully looking down on passersby. In 2006, in celebration of the famous artist’s 400th birthday (which is weird because I thought he was dead), a bronze-cast representation was made of his most famous painting Night Watch. I’m surprised I managed to get a decent photo of it with only one tourist because each time we passed this, there were kids hanging off the swords or climbing on the backs and tourists taking pictures of each other doing weird things with the statues.
Okay, I don’t know if I’ve talked enough about the Argentinean Steakhouses. They are everywhere. There are at least 2 on every street, probably more. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time speculating and researching. We hypothesized that a wealthy Argentine rancher traveled to Amsterdam and decided to bring all of his cows with him.
Someone apparently asked the question I was thinking on a TripAdvisor forum (What’s up with all the Argentine steakhouses in Amsterdam) and someone from Amsterdam said, “We love meat.” Like that was an explanation for anything. Upon further research, one particular traveler started asking around and found that most people who owned these restaurants are Egyptian and they open these places because it’s popular and cheap to run. While they charge expensive rates for the steaks, they buy them frozen which is actually quite cheap.
While all of this was interesting and explains why there are so many now, it still didn’t answer my question of how this phenomena even started. Looking deeper still, I found another blog post written by a woman who is married to a man who migrated to Canada from The Netherlands and they are now retired in Argentina. They spent 3 weeks in Amsterdam and whenever they mentioned Argentina, the Dutch would smile because (here’s the kicker) the heir to the Dutch throne married an Argentine princess in 2002 – which would inevitably increase the ease of trade between the two countries as well as the popularity of all things Argentine. Read more of this well-written blog post here.
While this is not a full in-depth explanation, it is enough to satisfy my curiosity and give a decent enough explanation other than the fact that the people of Amsterdam love meat. Whoever thought that was a decent explanation has never eaten bacon. I did not see copious amounts of bacon being sold or really any other kind of meat. Regardless, I am happy to give you and the curious people of the world some satisfaction.
The story behind the photo below is quite amusing. We heard the story while on the canal cruise but I wasn’t able to take a good photo until our last day in Amsterdam. In order to build the Victoria Hotel in such a strategic location (directly across from the train station), the architect and others had to purchase many houses along this corner. The woman who owned the two houses below was so stubborn, that she refused to sell her two houses for anything less than a largely outrageous sum. The architect didn’t think it worthwhile or couldn’t afford it, so they simply built the hotel around these two houses. Moral of the story: Don’t you mess with a stubborn old lady. The train station is pictured below. We took a train in from the airport (and back out again to leave) and this is also where we caught a train to Zaanse Schons. Finally, here we are on the flight back home. It was a weird relief to re-enter Prague. We were happy for the familiar but, at the same time, it still doesn’t feel like home.