Blog of Alexander Mamchenkov

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Amsterdam. Few days later

Posted on August 20, 2012 in Personal

So here i am, few days in Amsterdam, already used and know few ways around. General impression – I like it here, but I wouldn’t live here permanently.

Vincent: Yeah, baby, you’d dig it the most. But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?

Jules: What?

Vincent: It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just…it’s just, there it’s a little different.

 Here few things that we noticed compared to Cyprus:
  • Weather changes very fast and frequent
  • You actually need to by plastic bags in the shops, they are not given away for free
  • Transport system is really good, but it is quite expensive (2.70 euro ticket for an hour, or 2.20 euro to get from home to the office using OV anonymous card [prepaid]).
  • No free parking places. Though I didn’t have chance to check it personally, I heard it is about 3 euro/hour, even if parking is by your apartment
  • WiFi is not everywhere (talking about pubs/restaurants). It is more like exception rather than a rule (from what I have seen until now)
  • Rich nature: everything is green, water channels with birds all around and so on. Spiders all over around as well
  • Food is different: a lot of half-finished food in the shops for cooking in microwave/oven. I heard locals don’t really like cooking at home. There is not that many sandwich/kebab places like in Cyprus, so you need to find food, especially when not in the center of the city. But there some regions  with lots of restaurants. So one need to find a way for food
  • Bicycles, they are everywhere. Small, big, cheap, expensive, different.
  • 3G and any other kind of mobile internet is of great use here. Foursquare check-ins, instragram, Google Maps, 9292 (very handy app for transport info in NL) are of great use here. Since we have only one mobile with 3G (mine), I use WiFi tethering to share internet with my wife anytime she needs it.
  • Lots of walking. We don’t do that in Cyprus, we drive, and everyone has a car. Here is different. Having a car is expensive (I bet), while using metro/train/bus involves a lot of walking around.
  • Sky is covered with airplane traces. Sometimes it reminds me of Tic-Tac-Toy board :-)
  • Apartment numbers: this is tricky! There are no number on the houses. There are numbers on the apartments which are street-wise. Meaning that one house on a street will have apartments from 1 to 57, and the next one will have from 58 to 93 and so on. You can not predict which floor an apartment will be at each given house. Each house (especially with elevator) will have a plate with a map, telling which door is at which floor. Never seen such thing before, but it makes sense if you know how to use it.

Now, this is what I have on my mind strait away. If I remember/notice some more things, I will post it later in separate posts.

For the past few days we’ve been to few places and here some notes:

  • Ganzenhoef metro station (we stay near by) is a region with mostly black people, not restaurants (few local bars only), pretty quiet. It is ok there, but sometimes we feel strange and strangers there
  • Science Park (we work here) is a place with lots of IT stuff around as well as students
  • Leidseplein (we went there for a beer): crowded place with lots of bars/restaurants and huge Apple shop on the corner. Noisy, but if you like such things – I think you will enjoy it. We had some beers and food and it was good
  • Rembrandtplein: very nice place with lots of restaurants for steaks and grills. I think this is a place I gonna have all my future dinners :) Had amazing steak yesterday evening. Plus some live music in the center of a square.
  • Amsterdam Centraal: this is a place with lots of tourists. Very crowded (obviously), but nice to walk and watch around. Channel boat tour is something everyone must take. We went once and we are going more, since we wanna sit on the other side of the boat and watch other channel shore. There are some nice candle tours, where you go with the boat, night time, with candles, wine and so on. Gonna try it some time later.

Now, with regards to photos: we have a good camera, but carrying it around all the time is not handy. We took it this Saturday since we knew we gonna go for a channel tour, but mostly we use Instagram (my wife registered there as well) and pics are posted to Facebook/Twitter/VK.com. Pics from camera go to Flickr, but we are lazy, so don’t expect daily photos apart of instagram ones.

As we are working day time, most of things will be happening at the evening, as we are trying not to get stuck at home and make some use out of this trip. One thing that pushes us to go out of home is that we are looking for proper hot food for dinner, as we are having sandwiches on lunch in the office. So stay connected. More posts should come as well.

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