Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Amsterdam-France - day 2

18 September

I slept quite well, but I think Xena's jet lag was pretty bad because she woke up at 3 am and declared that she was hungry! Her being hungry and even better, declaring it, is such a rarity for us that we instantly woke up and gave her a banana. She ate about a fourth of it, went back to sleep but woke up at 6:30 am, raring to go. I was still sleepy so Viv entertained her while I slept for 2 more hours.

We had a late start to the day but I was feeling refreshed and had synced with the local time. We decided to go a supermarket nearby and pick up some basic food items. The supermarket was just like any other, but we were amazed at how cheap some of the things were compared to Singapore. A pack of spinach tortellinis, which is about $11.90 in Singapore, was selling for €1.90! It did strike us as odd that the cashier asked us to take out the things from our basket and put them on the counter. She also didn't give us a bag to put everything in, until we asked. She just kept everything on the other side of the counter after scanning them. How on earth were we supposed to take everything home? Really weird. I wondered if they were super environmentally-friendly and everyone took their own bags to buy groceries, or whether it was just the cashier having a bad day.

We got back and had breakfast of sandwiches and juice. Xena ate a slice of cheese and a small tub of yogurt. We took a walk to KinderKookKafe, a concept cafe where kids cook the food they eat. You won't generally find it listed under Amsterdam attractions unless you're a parent who starts her travel googling with terms such as 'kid-friendly places in Amsterdam' which is what I'd done.  The place was just a few minutes on foot from where we stayed.

Xena poses outside KinderKookKafe. 

They had a few options for Xena to cook - muffins, pizza, etc. but we chose pizza because we thought she might actually take a bite after making it. We were given the ingredients and a guy who didn't speak much English, explained to us what we needed to do. 

Xena greases the pan...

...rolls the dough...

...with a little help from her Poppy.

All rolled out!

Now it's time to cut the veggies...

Some toppings go on the pizza...

...while some go directly into her mouth (yeayyy!!)

Say 'cheese'!

Xena is all set to hand her pizza to the 'oven uncle' for baking. 

They told us it would take 15 minutes for the pizza to bake, so Xena spent that time in the adjoining playground, which had swings, a slide, a sand pit and many many toys that the kids could choose and play with. 

Xena dragging a toy along

Down the slide she goes!

At the swings

At the sand pit

As she played and the pizza baked, Viv and I sat at one of the tables and shared a coke. Viv remarked that it had been quite long, and whether our pizza was burnt. Suddenly, one of the guys in the kitchen violently jumped up and ran towards the oven and took our pizza out. We were sure it would be a mass of charcoal. Surprise surprise! They handed it to us and it was perfectly baked!

Our pizza!

Xena shows off her creation. 

Xena ate a bit of it and ran to play. But Viv was determined. Not only did he manage to feed her the pizza, one micro bite at a time, he even got the toppings in - olives, mushrooms and red peppers!

Mommy and Xena pose for a picture before leaving KinderKookKafe. 

It was close to her nap time, and though we had planned to take her to the children's playground in Vondelpark, we decided to get back and let her nap and go in the evening instead. 

We went to a pizza place to pack lunch and asked the owner if he had anything vegetarian. He immediately asked Viv where we were from. "India", Viv said, and the guy said, "I thought so. Only desis carry their kids like that." I suppose he was referring to me carrying Xena on my hip. I was pretty sure that he was not Indian, but Pakistani. (Since my awesome trip to Pakistan, I have a radar). So I asked him where he was from and he confirmed that it was indeed Pakistan. 

After our food was ready, he picked up Xena and asked her to pick a drink. "My mummy already bought me one." She said, making Viv and me soooooo proud. But the guy insisted and had her pick a small juice carton and refused to let us pay for it. The desi connection. :)

We got home, finished our pizza and within 5 minutes, both Viv and Xena were fast asleep, while I wrote out this account. Tiger was lying on the table in the patio, sunning himself. 

In the evening, we decided to go for a canal cruise. We chose the Blue boat canal cruise, which was not too far from our place. It was really nice and scenic and they had earphones with audio commentary on what we were looking at. 

Xena insisted on a pair of earphone, but realised soon enough that it was super boring for her. 

So she decided to just sit and relax, and enjoy the view.

The view was enjoyable indeed. 

We saw houseboats along the canal, and at one point, we even saw this guy row past us!

Xena and me enjoying the cruise

Our boat was moving along peacefully when suddenly, another boat bumped into ours. The passengers panicked for a second, but then our co-captain coolly announced, "Don't worry, this is Amsterdam. We have bikes and we have boats. And sometimes these things happen." Of course, I immediately thought of the DDLJ line, "Bade bade deshon mein aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain."

The audio commentary was in the form of a couple reminiscing about all the things they had seen when they were young. It was actually quite lame I though. 

After the cruise, we took a stroll around Leidseplein Square, which had lots of bars, pubs and shops. We went to the Apple store but they didn't have the iPhone6 yet. Not that we were going to buy it, but Viv wanted to take a look. 

We walked back towards our apartment as we'd been eyeing an Ethiopian restaurant called Abyssinia for dinner. 

Abyssinia restaurant

On the way, we saw this tiny two-seater car. We saw a lot of these during our trip. Very cute!

At Abyssinia restaurant. They had coke in a glass bottle! I love coke in a glass bottle!

Viv had the St. George beer. 

And this was our main course + sides. The base is a bread called injera and the meat, vegetables and sauces are served on top of it. It was slightly sour and totally yum!

Click here for Amsterdam-France - day 3



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