Feb252017

Amsterdam Winds and Windows

Amsterdam feels like my safe European home to me. Jump on the tram, resupply food and drink at Albert Heijn, recycle all the beers in the automated recycling machines at Albert Heijn, enjoy a noodle meal at community seating in Wok to Walk, walk canal streets, walk Vondelpark, lounge in cafes, bars and shops and listen to Dutch…and English and dozens of other languages in a heavily touristed urban environment.

We arrived a day before Storm Doris packing steady winds over 30mph and gusting in the 60+ mph range.

We saw bicyclists and motorcycles blown over in the streets. Street lights rocking on overhead wires provided pendulum-like coverage of city streets and buildings in early morning and evening dark hours in street lighting suitable to a horror film set.

Flights into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport were routed over the city and the rumble of large jets was heard from our Park Plaza Vondelpark hotel room all morning and around the city all day.

Schiphol jet

Jet flying over Amsterdam city to Schiphol Airport.

A FlyBe Dash-8 crash landed on touchdown at Amsterdam Schiphol on an inbound flight from Edinburgh.

Storm Doris

Forget trying to use an umbrella during Storm Doris. The city was littered with umbrella carcasses.

One of the safer places to hang out for the day on the streets of Amsterdam, besides indoors, were narrow shopping streets blocked from the gale winds. We spent time staring at shop windows. There are usually interesting things to see.

AMS Toy Store

Toys in Amsterdam

AMS Cheese Shop

Cheese in Amsterdam

Ams blue window

Blue windows of Amsterdam.

Did not pass by any red windows of Amsterdam. Prostitution windows and coffee shops are far less prevalent than they were ten years ago in Amsterdam. Both business models have had their licenses culled and represent fewer than half the spaces they once had a decade ago.

Amsterdam’s Sex Workers: the unlikely victims of gentrification – The Guardian (Jan 15, 2016).

The day after Storm Doris turned colder and brighter. A walk through Vondelpark revealed far less tree damage than I expected. Sometime around 2002 we were in Vondelpark after a major windstorm blew down many centuries old trees. I did not see any fallen giants this week.

Vondelpark

Vondelpark Amsterdam.

Primark, hated the shopping, loved the window view

Department store shopping is not our normal travel style, but Kelley was cold on the streets of Amsterdam and desired a sweater. For a couple of days we had seen dozens of shoppers carrying Primark bags around Amsterdam. We had also seen people carrying Primark bags in London last week.

I looked up Primark on the web to see it is a big department store. We stopped in Primark Amsterdam on a Friday afternoon.

What an experience!

I have never seen a similar size crowd in any department store, except Black Friday or for the busiest Christmas season shopping days. There were literally thousands of people on the five or so floors of the department store. Nearly every step of the escalators were occupied. The real drag going down on the escalator from each floor was the traffic pattern required walking across the floor level through the store to the next escalator. Reaching each escalator level was like filing through a rock concert or sports stadium gateway. There were no signs of economic recession in Primark.

I took refuge in a Primark store window with a seat cushion and view.

Primark-1

Primark view-1

Amsterdam flag flying on top of clock tower.

Primark view-2

Sometimes the best shop windows to view are from the inside looking out.

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. I love Primark and you, being as frugal as I think you are, would love it too. Prices are far cheaper than in the states for clothes.

    Yeah, the crowds in London Primark are bad. Lots of foreigners shopping with carts full of clothes. Kinda amazing.

  2. We have an extensive outlet shopping center with something like 150 stores in Gilroy, California that meets most of our clothing needs. I can only handle shopping for clothing a couple times a year. I loaded up on clothes in 2016 and I don’t think I need anything else for 2017.

    Wife always wants new clothes.

  3. suit yourself. (pun) I like t shirts at 2 Euros each, pants at 9 or 13, and 5 socks for 2 euros.

    plus, you can get clothes that help you blend in better in Europe.

  4. I’ll remember Primark if I need something in the future.

    Never blended in most of my life. I was the punk rocker with long hair and jean jacket in the 70s. I was the tie wearing school teacher in rural fishing villages of Maine and logging towns of California. I am the USA branded tourist wherever I travel.

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