— Feathers and Wax

A day of Dutch antiques and customs

On our second full day in Amsterdam the weather had turned quite a bit colder so we found ourselves regularly holing up in restaurants and cafes to drink Belgian beers and hot tea in between sightseeing and shopping.

The locals went about their business, bicycling through the chilly winds without a care, of course.

The main event of the day was shopping at the Waterlooplein market, where street vendors sell all manner of things, both old and new. I briefly considered buying a vintage dirndl but eventually settled on an antique watercolor portrait and some new, modern sunglasses.

After the Ukrainian portion of our group left for home, the Wisconsinite/Texans soldiered on through the chill to Wynand Fockink, an old jenever and liqueur distillery and bar in the center of the city. Jenever is a traditional Dutch liquor, somewhat similar to gin but a bit less strongly flavored. They also distill a huge variety of liqueurs in practically any flavor you can think of.

The drink is served with the glass filled all the way to the rim, and it’s bad luck to pick it up and spill it — tradition dictates that you lean over the bar instead to slurp your first sip off the top.

As the bar is extremely tiny, the crowd spills out into the alley outside the entrance, where it’s easy to make friends. We met a few locals while sipping our jenever and got some great tips on breweries and restaurants for the rest of our trip.

The traditional jenever bar experience ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. I guess I really just relish any combination of history, tradition and tasty booze.

Only one more day left in my trip, stay tuned for that later this week!

More about my trip to Amsterdam:

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