I’m scurrying to wrap up these Europe entries by the end of the year, thus the blitz in posts this week!
After one quick stop in Belgium (just a service station, but I did buy a box of chocolates!) we hit the Netherlands. Our hotel in Amsterdam was right near the airport. After a quick 4-mile run, I took a bus to the airport with Kim, Leigh, Andrew, and Caz, and we rode the train (in first class accidentally, haha) to the city. We were starving, so we prowled the main drag in search of dinner. Luckily for me, Caz and Andrew are fellow Indian-food-lovers, and Kim and Leigh were willing to give it a try, so we stopped at Koh-I-Noor Indian Restaurant. I went all out and got the Thali-style combo. We started with pappadum with chutney and a wonderful dal soup.
I got to choose three (!) vegetarian items for my main course. Not surprisingly, I selected aloo gobi, chana masala, and dal makhani. The basmati rice was fluffy, the naan was pillowy, and there was more than enough of everything to share with my companions.
Oh my freaking yum. I’d been missing Indian food so very much.
Dessert was kheer, classic Indian rice pudding.
We left there completely stuffed, and took an hour-long walk around the Red Light District. Talk about culture shock. We’d been all over western and southern Europe and even treaded a bit around the east, but it was here in nearly-Scandinavian northern Europe that I felt, more than anywhere else, like I was in a whole different world. I’m going to assume you don’t need me to explain to you what exactly the Red Light District is. Oddly, we all agreed that it made us feel sad. So many young girls, pretty girls, and though I’m sure many, if not most, of them are there because they want to be, it was still a little heartrending to see them selling themselves like meat in the windows. But hey—different country, different customs, and in the end, people are free to do what they please. Pictures weren’t allowed, but I snapped this at the edge of the District from across the canal.
Next up, I spend a full day in Amsterdam, and it turns out to be one of my favorites of the trip.