Thursday, September 13, 2012

Work and Play: Amsterdam

It has been a long while since I posted a blog. Apologies about that. I started a new job three months ago and it is keeping me fairly busy, in a good way though. Overall, I am very pleased for the new opportunity and enjoying the work with my new colleagues. Plus I get to travel around Europe and not to Moldova this time! 

Several weeks ago, I went to Amsterdam for a project meeting. I sure picked one heck of a day to go to Amsterdam. First, crew workers uncovered a 500kg World War II bomb near the runway at Schiphol Airport and had to cancel several flights  until they could detonate the bomb. Apparently, Schiphol was used as a Nazi military  during the war. Luckily, my 7am flight out of London City had no delays -- it was business as usual at Schiphol. In fact, I didn't learn about the news until Keenan frantically texted me when I arrived to Amsterdam. Later  in the day, there was a hijack scare due to a miscommunication between the pilot and the Dutch traffic controller. Two F-16 fighters were sent to intercept the plane causing more delays. 

My day trip to Amsterdam was short and sweet. I spent most of the day in meetings but I was able sneak in a fun dinner with my Amsterdam-based friend who I probably see more often than most of my friends in London. I love visiting this quirky Dutch capital, but unfortunately, I have a bad habit of visiting Amsterdam in the dead of winter. But on  this trip, I got to see Amsterdam basking in the glorious sun -- it was a beautiful day. 

My friend and I agreed to meet at Café Loetje, a well-loved institution located in the bohemian-meets-hipster neighbourhood of De Pijp where my friend lives. The restaurant had a lively neighborhood buzz and packed. We were lucky to snagged an outdoor table and enjoyed our meal alfresco. The menu is limited, serving only tenderloin steak, chicken, and schnitzel with a side order of salad and frites. Simple but overall very good.

After dinner, my friend and I took a stroll through his beloved neighborhod of De Pijp, also dubbed as Amsterdam's Latin Quarter. It has a mix of artists, students, and young professionals, as well as dozens of little bars and cafes. There's also street market at Albert Cuyp, one of the oldest and largest street markets in Amsterdam, located right in the heart of De Pijp. The whole neighborhood reminds me a bit of Spitalfields Market and Shoreditch in East London. 

A token bike ride to the tram stop and short train journey later, I was back at Schiphol airport for my 50 minute flight home to London. Shame that my stay in Amsterdam was so short but I suspect I will be back in no time.

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