Team Schöfferhofer has managed its first outing though not the entire team on this occasion, as Felix sadly had other commitments. So it was down to max, steve and myself to light up Amsterdam. And so we did. My school time is now also up as i managed to get to B1 level in just 4 weeks. Next up is King’s day (27 April) when the country dresses up in orange and parties non stop to honour their king.
Team Schöfferhofer: The idea to do something else than just family occasions & christmas parties together came about last christmas. I guess it’s fair to say that everyone was up for it right away. Amsterdam was a good option to start as neither of us lives too far away with steve in Copenhagen and max studying in freiberg. Definitely easier than meeting in say Bangkok or Medellin … for now, anyway.
First up, we nailed the weekend weather wise. Summer temperatures from thursday through sunday. The sunburnt faces of steve and max tell the pretty story well! Thursday we had say good introductory night in the center (which unavoidably includes the red light district being the center). The old sailor and excalibur made for good places to hang out, at least until they closed.
Friday, Steve and Max went on a free tour (see Amsterdam walking tour: Fun facts) while I dragged myself to school on this fine day. By late afternoon we were back together and enjoyed a pretty hot afternoon. After loads of bitterballs (basically our main source of food for the entire weekend) and a few beers we explored town a bit more, but didn’t make it a too big one in the end.
Bitterballen (plural of bitterbal) are a Dutch meat-based snack (similar to a coquette), typically containing a mixture of beef or veal (minced or chopped), beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux. It is usually served with mustard. See wikipedia for more.
Cycle tour in & around Amsterdam: Saturday was again looking great and we all felt in reasonably good shape. Our aim was to get on the bikes and cycle to the Ijsselmeer (great suggestion Max), some 15km away. Technically speaking we didn’t go to the Ijsselmeer, but the Markermeer since the Houtribdijk dam split the original Ijsselmeer into two (since 1975). The ride was pretty enjoyable. First through the north-eastern center of the city and then out into the nature on cycle path along canals and relaxed suburbs.
We made it to Blijburg aan Zee for lunch (=bitterballs) and relaxed in the beach bar. I need to go back there some time in the evening. Seems they have some good parties there! While we enjoyed the views, weather and beers … others went further with many people hitting the water (pretty cold as we would find out later that day). Proper Ostsee vibe! We took a slightly different way back and rode mostly along a dam to get back to Amsterdam. Good decision for we got to see the Ij brewery (Brouwerij Ij) with its windmill, which supplies the beer for my local pub back in Haarlemmerbuurt.
Once back in the city we headed for Rembrandtsquare to watch a bit of footie (ManU vs T’ham in FA cup semi’s) and, would you believe it, ate something else than bitterballs … 3x sushi please! That actually tasted healthy. Football was a bit dull, but after stopping in another cool place (the bushdoctor) the evening kicked off in good fashion.
First Steve succumbed to his 80’s music desire. Just imagine Rembrandt square around which you’ll find plenty of bars. One of them was already pumping late afternoon while the others just got going slowly. It was a bar that let’s say attracted the generation of our parents more than people of younger age … what a laugh! Can’t quite recall which other places we visited (naturally crossing through the red light district again & stopping at my favorite pub -De Sluyswacht) before we eventually headed home.
On the way we also tested the waters of the IJ river. Cold exercise! And good to have Max giving a helping hand to get Max & myself out again. Pretty slippery stuff. I guess the folks in my local corner pub were a little confused by the wet hair given it hadn’t rained in days (for a change). But surely, after a swim in the Ij we deserved a beer from the Ij brewery. Tasty!
And then the first Schöfferhofer outing was almost over. After lunch and a stroll in Vandelpark and Museumsplein, Max went to the airport while Steve & I watched the other FA cup semi – Chelsea vs Southampton (2:0) before he also left for Copenhagen.
Good stuff! Next time hopefully with Felix. Apparently its gonna take us to Tallinn, where Max will study abroad. Can’t wait!
Dutch course done: This week also marked the end of my second level Dutch language studies. Having skipped the A1/A2 course, I ‘graduated’ with B1 (intermediate). It was fun studying with Katya, Abdo & Akin as well as our teachers. Good luck to everyone & hope to see you again. Now we need to put theory into practice. Maar dat is nu geen grote probleem meer, denk ik! And remember: ‘Mannen en ook vrouwen zijn mensen’.