After being up until 2:30 or so the night before (I wanted to prolong my birthday–everyone knows that your birthday ends at midnight or when you go to bed, whichever comes last), we got a bit of a late start on Day 7. As forecasted, the weather was windy, cold and rainy. In other words, it was a good museum day. The Van Gogh Museum was first on the agenda and ended up being the only one we got to. By the time we finished up there, it was around 4:30, and the Rijksmuseum (our other possible destination for the day) closes at 5:00. So, I never did make it to the Rijksmuseum, but I don’t feel too terrible since a large chunk of it is closed for renovations. I prefer the style of Van Gogh to that of a lot of the Old Masters that I would have seen at the Rijksmuseum anyway.
After perusing the menu posted in the window, we entered the Small Talk Eating House, a cozy little restaurant in the style of an English pub. We were greeted by a waiter who I initially thought was kind of an ass until I realized he was doing a bit.
“What’s the soup of the day?” C asked.
Waiter: What day is it?
Waiter: Tuesday soup
C: What is Tuesday soup?
Waiter: sigh and eyeroll
C: It wouldn’t happen to be split pea, would it?
Waiter: Try chicken noodle.
C: Fried chicken noodle?
Waiter: snickering Yeah, fried chicken noodle soup.
C: Why aren’t there pancakes on the menu like there are in the menu in the window?
Waiter: This is the dinner menu.
C: Oh. Can we still get pancakes?
Waiter: You want pancakes? We’ll make pancakes. What kind do you want?
C: Well…can we see the other menu?
Waiter trudges over to the menu stand, grabs the lunch menu, returns to our table, and slams (lighly) the menu down. He leaves us for a few minutes as we look over the menu and returns.
Me: I’ll have the mushroom toast.
Waiter: I thought you wanted pancakes!
Me: I’m not the one who asked to see the lunch menu!
C: I’ll have the soup.
Waiter: exasperated sigh. You’re not getting pancakes either?!
C: I decided against it. By the way, do you think we could have a couple extra of these coasters to take as souvenirs?
Waiter gives C a death glare and trudges away.
Me: Mom, I hope you’re getting pancakes, otherwise he might throw us out!
Waiter returns with an entire footlong sleeve of coasters and places them roughly on the table.
C: We don’t need that many! Don’t you have a sleeve that’s open and we can just take a few?
Waiter opens sleeve of coasters
Waiter: This one is open.
Mom: I’ll have the bacon pancake.
That evening, my mom and I took another canal tour–this one included wine and cheese! The weather was still cold and damp, but the rain had cleared up for the most part, and we had a wonderful view of the streets and canals at night. I also learned some interesting tidbits.
- The waiting list for an apartment in Amsterdam’s city center is approximately 15 years long. At first, this didn’t seem possible, and I didn’t understand how it worked. In fact, I’m still not entirely clear on it, but this explains it a bit.
- According to the Dutch legends of St. Nicholas, bad children are put to work in St. Nick’s workshop for a year, where they learn to behave. Thanks to David Sedaris, I had already known that, in the Netherlands, St. Nick was liable to pretend to kick you or stuff you in a sack and take you to Spain. I didn’t know about the workshop thing, though.
- Amsterdam has approximately 1500 bridges and more than 100 km of canals.
- The Amstel River is the only natural waterway in Amsterdam.
*Pats self on back for remembering all of this after 5 or so glasses of wine.*