Saturday, 23 November 2013
Condensed Amsterdam #1 - Hajenius
I was productively idle in Amsterdam recently, enjoying the city and allowing the experiences to be had in the city to fall like ripe apples about my head.
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach
What I'm trying to say by borrowing Andrew Marvell's words is that it's not hard to have a good time in Amsterdam, pleasures are easy and abundant—unlike some cities, where you really have to work hard to winkle them out.
So the exercise with the Condensed Amsterdam series is to try and distil the diversions into a manageable weekend-sized chunk.
Strolling Around the Negen Straatjes
Let's base ourselves within an area of the Centrum district of Amsterdam between De 9 Straatjes and the Rijksmuseum [walking]. We may venture out on occasion, but—as with Salamanca in Madrid—we have everything we need here.
De 9 Straatjes is a beautiful area of canalside houses, connected by bridges, with many independent shops and restaurants (and no plasticky American fast-food and fashion chains to offendeth thine eyes). The area is like stepping into a Vermeer painting, with the quiet from the lack of cars and the light from the canals reflecting onto the 17th century gabled canal houses. And who amongst us wouldn't enjoy that?
Take a look in at Sir Maxx who stock some of our favourites for shoes and accessories: Crockett and Jones, Alden and Swaine Adeney Brigg.
Elevenses at Hajenius
Assuming you'll be having late starts in Amsterdam, elevenses at Hajenius cigar emporium and lounge is a good way to kick-start your day and a decent base in which to plan walks around the city.
The recommendations for elevenses from the Hajenius staff are hard to argue with. The mornings I was there they matched a Macanudo Café with a vintage port from Grahams . Another day it was a Leon Jimenes Gran Corona from La Aurora with a coffee.
The Hajenius smoking lounge is a quiet refuge. The Dutch will tend to smoke pipes and enjoy a good book in there. Brits will be sitting in groups smoking cigars and throwing back bottles of wine.
When the lounge emptied, I had the opportunity to listen to Radio Dismuke through the WiFi. It made for quite the perfect moment.
Appointment at the Tailor's
Come, let's now stroll towards the Rijksmuseum. We've an appointment at the best tailors in Amsterdam...