Suddenly it’s Chirstmas

Sinterklaas, which happens on the 5 December, is bigger than Christmas here. There’s the added advantage that the Christmas stuff doen’t really start until after that. So suddenly there are lights up all over town and the market is full of Christmas trees.

Drug Warning

A serious post; 3 tourists have died and more than a dozen have been hospitalised following taking cocaine that is actually “white heroin”. The city council as put these warnings up around the centre of the city, deliberately in English to target tourists who will not have seen items on the Dutch news. It’s a very Dutch approach to an issue – focusing on the welfare of the individuals rather than the criminality.

I had an early morning start this week and saw one of the billboards of lights; this one is at the top of Singel, but I’ve seen others on Leidseplein and near Weteringschans.

On the train again

I nearly missed the train this morning, but there was a guy even later than me. He was running and jumped on board just as the doors closed.

Running Man

Does this train go to Utrecht?

Train Guy

So first you jump on the train and then you check the destination?

Running Man

Er, yes.

Train Guy

Today you’re in luck – this train goes to Utrecht.

Test of Friendship

I was wondering along Haarlemmerdijk (the dodgy end) behind two old tramps when one of them spotted a half-smoked joint lying on the ground.

Tramp 1

Aaaw, look, look here

Tramp 2

Thanks, don’t wanna lose that. (picks it up)

Tramp 1

Just looking out for you, bro.

Saturday Market – Deli shopping

Years ago my aunt introduced me to the joys of delicatessens, the range of cheeses, cured meats, olives and prepared foods were richer and more aromatic than the usual home-made fare. There’s a similar shift in the stalls at the market, with Spanish ham, Greek olives and Italian pasta for sale next to tasty pies and spicy fish mixes. Yum.

Saturday Market; Sculpture

This sculpture stands at the corner of Lindengracht and Brouwersgracht, and it shows Theo Thijssen. He was a teacher, education reformist, writer and politician who was born in the Jordaan. This week the sculpture was decorated with autumn vegetables.

market0410

Saturday Market; Autumn Aromas

I love the Saturday market, it beats supermarket shopping for quality – and entertainment. It also keeps you closer to the seasons, today there were some more signs of autumn. We’ve had a long dry summer, by Dutch standards, it’s about time for the clocks to change and the temperatures to drop. It’s my favourite season even though there’s always a slight sense of loss as the days draw in.