This has been such an extraordinary time for me. I have found myself doing things I never thought I would do. I have tasted foods that I never, in a million years, would have tried. I have forced myself to step outside my comfort zone in almost every way. Whether it is showering in a fish bowl, climbing insane flights of stairs, walking many miles alone through the city or trying venison it has all been really a fabulous stretch for me.
On Tuesday evening, we went back to Tabac for dinner. It is a little cafe/bar on the corner by the boat. The first night we went there and just had beer and snacks. Tuesday night we had beer, snacks and dinner. I still can’t get over the cheese snacks. To me they are the perfect snack. Fabulous Gouda cheese in a crispy filo like dough. They are served HOT with a sauce that reminds me of a Thai sweet chili sauce that is served with Thai egg rolls. I am not usually a fan of curry but thought I should try something different. I ordered the Xtra Spicy Green Chicken Curry. Oh man, was it hot! It came in a little bowl with a little mound of rice, mint yogurt to cut the heat, a green salad and some odd root chips. It was very tasty; a symphony of loud flavors.
Sima wanted to take me to a cafe she and Ben love. She warned me that it was very small inside. I wasn’t concerned because I have been pleasantly surprised regarding how small things are here and yet I haven’t had a problem fitting. We walked over to the cafe yesterday for lunch. To say that it is small is a HUGE understatement. It is like a cafe for Lilliputians. No tables. A tiny bar that seats 3 on one side of the door and 4 on the other. There is a tiny counter that holds a cash register and a little glass display case of salads behind which is a small kitchen where they make the sandwiches and coffees. Then there are 3 little cubes lining the only available space backed up against the wall next to the cash register. We sat there and held our plates when the food was ready. We had outrageous sandwiches. Sima and I shared two different sandwiches. I have been so pleased with the freshness of all the foods I have eaten here. The meats have been so fresh. Nothing tastes old. I had spicy salami with roasted tomato and zucchini and some kind of strong white cheese. The sandwich came toasted. Sima got turkey, bacon and avocado. It was a great dichotomy of flavors with my sandwich being hot in both flavor and temperature and Sima’s being cool and fresh. The cafe is called Small World Cafe. It is definitely small literally but very, very grand.
Later, Sima and I walked to the Central Station to get a train to The Hague. A friend, who I have known since I was in Junior High, lives and works in The Hague. The train took close to 45 minutes. It was good to see more of Holland. Being here in Amsterdam it is hard to imagine a big city with the tiny streets and tall narrow buildings. The Hague is more of a cosmopolitan city with some of the same old charm as Amsterdam but with some sky scrapers thrown in the mix. Sima and I found a lovely cafe on a shopping street and had a coffee. Then we poked around some stores. Kristin met us and walked us through the Parliament grounds. Then we went to an old fancy hotel for cocktails before dinner. It was a very civilized hotel…very upper crust. After cocktails we walked over to an Argentinian restaurant where Kristin goes often. The service was amazing. We drank wine and ate great food. So often, I find, meals are just a way to get fuel to keep going in life, but this meal was an event. We were there for hours. One minute it was 9 and the next it was midnight. In between, which 3 bottles of Malbec were consumed along with a gorgeous meal. When the tray of desserts that Kristin had ordered arrived, Sima and I gasped. It was a tray covered in a decadent assortment of delights. Then came the port wine. Because it was so late we would have had to take two trains to get home. So, Kristin ordered us a car to drive us back. It was a far cry from the Stop/Go. Nothing short of a miracle, I didn’t fall off or out of anything.
Sima and Ben have a wonderful cat! It has been so lovely for me to have cat time. We lived with a wonderful cat named Chuck and lost him nearly a year ago. There is something completing about having a pet. I think it makes the day brighter having the love of an animal. Sima and Ben’s cat, Gnamish, is such a love! Every night he comes into my bedroom and climbs up onto the bed and snuggles for a little while. He climbs up on my chest purring like a motor boat, then leans down and rubs his cold wet nose against mine. In the mornings, he HAS to climb into my arms while I am trying to write my blog. Everything must stop when he needs attention. He is very demanding when it comes to love and I am more than willing to oblige.
Today we are going to sort out Halloween. Sima and Ben need costumes for their party on Saturday night. I think I am going to go as an American tourist. Yes, I am going to go as me. I was thinking about carrying a picture frame and going as the Mona Lisa. But I think I will just carry my camera and take pictures. I found a yarn store I want to venture to as well. Other than that I don’t know what today will hold. Tomorrow, I am toying with the idea of a museum again. Maybe Escher. Maybe the Rijks. I think right now I am going to throw myself together and walk over to get a fresh baguette from the bakery.