Our third trip this year was to Amsterdam. My shopping trip started at Haarlemerplein. The taxi driver seemed a little worried about me and told me several times to only walk south, not to the north. “There is nothing for you to the North”.
So, I got to thinking later, that must be where they hide their gold. I am definitely going to check out what is to the North of Haarlemerplein next time.
Haarlemerplein is a square adjacent to Haarlemerdyjk. This area of Amsterdam is not to be confused with the city of Haarlem which is just a little further to the west.
Haarlemerplein had a wonderful market with a flower stands, French baked goods, cheese wagons, a traveling butcher and an entire stand with just marinated olives. I mean there were 60 kinds of flavored olives. OK . There was some marinated sun-dried-tomatoes too, but mostly just deliciously savory smelling olives.
To the south or more specifically to the southeast was Haarlemerdyjk and hundreds of small shops just waiting for me. You remember my mission is not just to take a trip but experience something i haven’t before, so, I swore off the nine streets and did not even think about checking out raw materials. Even though I really wanted to.
This cute little store had everything a bakers could wish for. Fondants, colors, decorations!
Haarlemerdyjk is a narrow, barely two lane road with a bicycle path and narrow sidewalks on each side. The buildings are low and classic Dutch style.The neighborhood is everything you would want in the area you lived. There are specialty food shops, chocolates, organic, butcher shops both halal and regular, vegan shops, tea shops and more olives. I came across great specialty kitchens stores and a store with just cookbooks, Dutch and English alike, where I procured the bible of French baking. Oo la la!
I found a specialty bathroom hardware store with a steel bathtub from William Holland, ironically of England. It was spectacular! What captured my attention were the lovely soaps of little dogs in the window, it drew me in and I was not disappointed. Had I a house in Amsterdam that needed renovation I would hot-foot it here tout de suite to pick out a vintage mirror and some indulgent tub accessories, a wonderful mix of both new and old products.
Every shopping area needs a good hardware store.
The quality and character of the shops changed as I crossed the canal and on to Haarlemerstraat towards Nieuwendijk., more touristy and not as appealing to me.
The street runs eventually out to the square not so far from the first Frozen Yogurt shop I have ever seen in Europe. I couldn’t pass this up even though it was below zero outside. Within seconds of walking through the door I was transported to 1987 at TCBY in Uptown Minneapolis sporting an asymmetrical haircut and safety-pin-created skinny jeans. The Cure- Why Can’t I Be You was actually playing and I ordered my favorite with fresh pineapple, melon, kiwi and red grapes.
View my travel route Amsterdam 2012 in a larger map