Black Gold

My Train to Brussels leaves at 12.15pm so this morning was a lazy on of packing and heading out for coffee at Black Gold, the cafe I found yesterday. There are probably other good ones here but they are probably well hidden. Coffee just really isn’t the focus of Amsterdam.

I love the concept of this Café, the black could either refer to the coffee or the vinyl records or even both.

It’s so quiet in the part of Amsterdam, I asked the barista when it gets busy and his comment was on a nice day like this it probably won’t get busy at all.

Like most of Europe, people here have a stronger acceptance of dogs everywhere, whilst I was having my coffee another couple strolled in, with their dog on a leash ordered some coffee, stayed 5 minutes and off they went. Another subtle little reminder that whilst the coffee here is equal to the good ones at home, I’m not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Cruise and Pizza

I’m here in Amsterdam primary to do some cycling, however it has crossed my mind that I can’t come here and NOT do a canal cruise. Walking around yesterday on a whim I booked myself on a Pizza cruise at 8.30pm tonight, if nothing else it removes the decision on what I’ll do for dinner.

I expected it to be a little lame as it’s with one of the bigger cruise companies and I was by myself. However it turned out to be a wonderful experience. There was one other bloke by himself so I was sat next to him and of course he happens to be an Aussie who has just moved to London. We had a great chat about our respective travels over the cruise.

What I didn’t realise was the cruise also included unlimited alcohol (as well as soft drinks) for the duration and they were happily dolling it out liberally for the entire journey so the entire boat was extremely lively after the first hour passed. It was the last cruise of the day and the heat had died down so it was a terrific way to end my last day in Amsterdam.

For the €39 this was a fantastic evening.

Resistance is not futile

On my last afternoon here in Amsterdam I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, had thought I might hire a bike and cruise around when Sander from the bike tour mentioned the Resistance Museum wasn’t far away. The deal was sealed, this sort of museum and history is really my thing so off I went.

Entry is €11 and it’s worth every penny. It covers the history of the Dutch resistance during world war 2 (obviously) however it covers the Dutch WW2 experience from three perspectives : Acceptance, Resistance and Collaboration. I’d argue it adds a fourth dimension with the holocaust as well.

It starts with the premise that the Netherlands expected to remain neutral in WW2 and were shocked when invaded and how they then dealt with it until liberation and the lingering effects post liberation.

As a side note, lots of historical lessons on keeping as much personally identifying information on yourself to yourself until you are certain why it’s being collected and for what purpose. Lots of Jewish people willingly filed out forms on their ancestry thinking it was a benign question and the answers they gave eventually sent them to Auschwitz.

The overall lesson of the museum is that the majority of Dutch people resisted where they could and hampered the German war effort.

With materials in short supply this bike was fixed with a pram wheel at the front. It also meant the Germans wouldn’t confiscate the bike and send it to the fatherland as a repatriation.

When radios were banned, many were hidden to receive BBC and Radio Orange broadcasts.

The resistance patched phone lines through the telephone exchanges for clandestine communication that the Nazis never discovered.