Highlight Reel

Looking around my house, it appears my trip has exploded all over everything. Two weeks of lived in clothing spill out of the hamper, a suitcase lies on the floor, unopened mail sits on the stairs, and my accumulated treasures and trinkets cover the kitchen table. Looking at the ticket stubs, receipts, and business cards collected, now sitting in a pile on the counter, I can’t help but think of the highlights; the best meals, funniest moments, and favorite sights.

Favorite Meals:
1. Pacci in Buti, Italy. Everything they make is amazing, but the black, squid ink pasta with cream, nuts and salmon is unbelievable.
2. Japanese fish and noodle soup, sitting at the counter of the Stedelijk Museum’s cafe in Amsterdam.
3. And everything at the Korean restaurant Yokiyo in Amsterdam’s red light district. Their miso poached pear with black sesame ice cream. Amazing.


Favorite Activities:
1.Watching the Buti Warriors play a soccer game against main rivals.
2. A walk along the top of the wall in Lucca.
3. Canal tour through Amsterdam.
4. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
5. Wandering
6. Happy Hour cheese and wine, in NY, Amsterdam, and Italy.

Favorite Stores/Items:
1. White, leather side zip Turkish slippers from Nooosugar, in Amsterdam.
2. Soap from Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, in Florence.
3. Jewelry from ambrosiojewelry, on Bedford Street, in Brooklyn.




Oh, Amsterdam. I love your windows and I love your shops. I love the souvenir shops, full of clogs and windmills and marijuana leaves as much as the beautifully curated, small ones, full of treasures I never knew I wanted.

A highlight from yesterday was nooosugar at Oude Leliestraat 8 (www.nooosugar.nl) Full of unique, handmade items from Holland, Turkey, and Morocco, I came away with a pair of Turkish, side zip leather slippers, but had to refrain from a number of things that would never fit in my suitcase.

Not far from there, I stumbled upon The Otherist at Leliegracht 6 (www.otherist.com), a store with an apothecary vibe, full of strange bottles and things you can’t stop looking at.

Between the shops, street markets full of vintage clothing, records, flowers, and jewelry pop up, asking to be wandered through.

On Kloveniersburgwal 44A, I came across Anna and Nina (anna-nina.nl), and yet again had to refrain from filling my bag with notebooks and spoons.

Shops full of both modern, Dutch design and medieval nostalgia abound and, as they are two of my favorite aesthetics, I am in heaven. The guide book had many recommendations for interesting shops, but I find that seeing what I stumble upon is usually best.





Love Letter

Dear Amsterdam,
I know we haven’t known each other long, but I love you. No, don’t laugh. Don’t say it’s just infatuation or lust. I really love you. I love your bikes, your houseboats, your bookstores, your artists (past and present), your shutters, your canals, the way you mix history with the present, not feeling stagnant or precious. I love your bakeries, houses, beer, museums, trams, shops, and that if someone wants to get high or paid for sex, they can. I love watching older, conservative, American couples navigate your Red Light District and that I was able to figure out the tram system with only a little kindness of strangers. I love that your residents are actually still kind, considering the number of bumbling tourists, myself included. I love watching a mother ride her bike with three children in tow, holding an umbrella. I love your entire aesthetic. I know you think it’s a passing thing, that I say the same to Florence, Paris, and Rome, but, really, no, I don’t. There have been a couple in the past, cities that grabbed my heart and made me want to look at the real estate section instead of tourist attractions, but they were long ago and nothing for you to worry about. La Condesa in Mexico City and Austin while working on “True Grit,” but now I see even those were nothing, compared to you. I know you don’t believe me, but I’ll prove you wrong. Just wait. I’ll be back and I’ll prove that you’re the only one.
Love, me