|One wall at the de Hoek is papered with exotic foreign currencies.|
We began at the Koffehuis de Hoek
and pancakes. Pancakes with raisins, apple, and bacon, to be specific. It's quite cozy and supposedly very Dutch in a difficult-to-define way.
|The proprietor is also named Harry. He's had the place for 50 years, at least according to these photos.|
|Not shown: boat captains who may or may not have been drunk, an entire tour group, and the nearby Heineken Experience.|
We followed this Authentic Experience with the requisite Amsterdam canal tour. I'm usually skeptical of guided tours as they can seem hackneyed. This tour was enjoyable, especially as it's the only way to see a number of local fixtures (oddly-angled buildings, concrete houseboats, and the inner workings of the lock system) without renting a boat or illegally swimming around in the canals.
|My Heineken Experience is usually disappointment and regret about ordering a Heineken.|
|Theft-proofing, I presume.|
|An exemplary façade.|
|Out on the IJ. The wavy building is the EYE Film Institute. It's called that because IJ and Eye are phonetically similar. The nearby tower was once owned by Royal Dutch Shell but is now being redeveloped into offices and entertainment space.|
|The top of the NEMO science museum, looming.|
|The Montelbaanstoren. The prerecorded tour stated that the tower's bells don't ring on an exact schedule.|
|Have I mentioned how nice the Amsterdam city logo is? Here it is on the side of a tram platform. It's ubiquitous yet simple and recognizable.|
We went shopping for some lunch - Marks and Spencer sandwiches - and made our way up to the train station.*
|An ICE to Germany.|
|The atmospheric platform in Essen.|
The eventual destination: Essen, or more specifically some friends' apartment. They're great people.
The next day: rain and the fight for sushi.
*We had left our luggage in station lockers, a precious commodity. Don't count on their availability should you plan a visit.