August 10, 2014

Flower markets & Boca's

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On our first full day we decided to take on the city by foot. After having a delicious breakfast at our hotel (I had pancakes tossed in icing sugar, and he had the cinnamon french toast) both our favourites and perfect start to the first day of exploring.

We started off wandering the many beautiful canals and with the help of our guide book went on the hunt for some of the more unusual historical points hidden within the city.

The VOC, (the Netherlandish equivalent of the East India Company) is an extremely important part of the cities past and often over looked and forgotten with its famously lax attitude with sex and drugs.

We stared at the VOC cafe, the main entrance into the city and once of its main ports. this gable stone above the door depicts four ships that are about to enter through the cities port. 

This particular entrance was also said to be the place where wives and children would come to say goodbye to their husbands and fathers before they went off to sea, many of whom never returned. 

After a good coffee refuel and a lovely bask in the surprisingly burning sunshine we went off in hunt for some more beautiful windows and the famous floating flower market. 

After about a 10 minute walk, a few missed turnings and wayward directions we made it to the floating flower market. Here you can buy flowers, blubs of almost anything and of course every species of tulip that ever existed! Very impressive, an amazing hub of flowers and culture floating on the canals. 

After the flower market we headed to a little secret garden, a haven away from the heat, hustle and bustle of the otherwise very busy canals.

This garden was created in a courtyard surrounded by beautiful houses. This is one of the lesser known secret gardens and it is known as the Van Brienen Hofje.

It is told that this little haven was built after Baron Arnoud Jan Van Brienen found himself locked in his strong room and after praying to God to allow him to be freed he vowed he would build a hof for the poor and homeless.

Those who were housed here had to go to church, take part in daily chores and in return would be able to live in this little haven.

Soon it was time for some lunch so we headed over to Boca's which was just a little further up Prinsengracht, one of the more famous canals.

A little restaurant in the Jordann district this place is worth a visit next time you are in Amsterdam. They serve up little bread rolls and you can pick the most exciting fillings. There is something for everyone and it is brilliant value for money. 

We both went for the hamburgers with foie gras sliders and truffle mayonnaise. Delicious and kept us going for the rest of the afternoon. I also went for honey cream cheese and truffle, while he went for spiced chicken and goats cheese. 

They also have an evening menu too which we didn't grey to try but I think is equally tasty and delicious from a quick squint at the menu. 

After a slow meander home we spent the early evening lounging in the park just behind the Rijksmuseum, a perfect first day!

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