Friday, October 05, 2012

A day out in Amsterdam.

One of my good friends moved from Rotterdam to Amsterdam earlier this year, and she still always makes the effort to come to our group's parties in Rotterdam. So we thought we'd repay the gesture and drop by Amsterdam one afternoon.

We decided to go to a cafe, IJ-kantine, in Amsterdam Noord, for high tea...

Okay, stop press. Every time I have to say "high tea" when I actually mean "afternoon tea", my stomach turns over and I feel a part of me disintegrate. Let me just make it clear to my readers.

"High tea" is a working class meal served after 5pm and consists of heavy dishes, such as meat, fish and vegetables.

"Afternoon tea" is what everyone else who doesn't know better means when they say "high tea".

But, as the menu at the cafe and all my friends who aren't familiar with afternoon tea call it "high tea", I shall have to use this term so as not to cause confusion.

(Still, you read it here. Afternoon tea is where the scones, cakes and light sandwiches come in. Please know the difference and don't call it high tea anymore if you can help it.)

Because the cafe is in Amsterdam Noord, we had to take a little ferry ride across the water from the train station. Here are some pics.

The cafe is right next to the ferry stop, so we were there within a few steps. But first, let's sit on a boat bench.

The interior of the cafe is very much like the typical Dutch grandcafe. One of those old factory or warehouse buildings that gets turned into a restaurant or a cafe. It's nice and modern inside. Unfortunately, the service is typical Dutch. Slow. They have one waitress for every 20 tables. Absolutely ridiculous. And don't forget that the waitresses have their own lives as well. They're not just waitresses. They have to chit chat and sigh and laugh and do whatever it is they do to prolong your waiting time for the menu.

On the whole, though, it was a pleasant experience, if you accept Dutch standards of service as they are.

Now a little behind the scenes story. During our Facebook discussion, when Lenka (the one who moved to Amsterdam) suggested for us to have high tea, we enthusiastically agreed. I then later checked the price of the high tea and discovered that it wasn't very cheap at all, especially for someone who's very soon out of a job. But because I had agreed to have high tea, I just closed one eye.

However, when we arrived at the cafe, two of the girls had no idea that we had agreed on high tea and they didn't know the price. Being students, they were worried that it was a little expensive, and there was a tiny bit of friction over us having agreed or not to have high tea (we have to book in advance for it at the cafe). In the end, it was sorted out to everyone's satisfaction.

Then the discussion about what high tea is came up. Lenka said that before that afternoon, she had thought that it was just tea being served with your choice of hard liquor. Yes, this is coming from the girl who likes to bring vodka in her bag to parties, just in case the hosts have nothing stronger than beer and wine. So, not surprising. Gave us a good chuckle!

And that is when Adél also admitted that she had thought that high tea was tea made with marijuana, much like space cake or space brownies. Well, that made a little sense, seeing as we are in Holland after all.

See? This is why it's called the elegant "afternoon tea" and not "high tea" (which, incidentally, is because the meal was served on a high table you could stand around). Makes a great story, though, right?

After our delicious meal - by the way, they only served normal cream and not clotted cream, the bastards - we hopped back onto the ferry and walked around the city centre, by way of the filthy red light district. And by filthy, I mean, the roads and the people dropping their shit everywhere. I was constantly afraid to be stepping on gum and spit. Ugh, Amsterdam.

Because we had no place in mind, I suggested visiting the relatively newly-opened Apple store, which is supposed to be the biggest in the Benelux or Europe or something. It was the morning of the iPhone 5's release and I'd been hearing about the queues.

Well, as you can see, the queues had cleared up by that time.

So we just acted like total losers and took photos in the Apple store, of all places.

The end.