On the town

Their complaint about the toilet seat fell on deaf ears at the front desk. They got a mumbled, “Sorry” and a reminder that they had paid for a minimum stay of two days that was not refundable. Muttering their discontent and outside on the street again, Manny suggested they look around for other more acceptable options by looking around the inner city. He thought they would be able to decide what, where and when after a personal approach to Amsterdam. Selma agreed that making a Taylor-made plan for their needs alone would work.

Checking the tourist map from the hotel, they began their walkabout down the Saphartiparkstraat turning right on the Ferdinand Bolsstraat then left at the Stadshouderskade they made it to the Rijksmuseum.

“They’ve got Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” in there. Let’s go in and look around.”

“No, lets do it on the way back. We’ve got some more stuff to see farther in town.”

So they trucked on to the Leidseplein on the Stadhouderskade, walked through the touristy shops on the Leidsestraat past the Bloememarkt crossed the Singel Gracht and took the Heligeweg to a left at the Kalverstraat, right on the Spui left on Rokin and crossed over to the Grimburgwal and on to the Oudmanhuispoort where the scent of centuries of urination overcame their sense of smell. Then and without much of a warning the skies opened up and they were treated to one of Amsterdam’s monumental rainstorms.

Looking for an umbrella was an immediate need. They had some trouble with this and since the rain was unrelenting,

“Lets duck in here. Maybe it won’t last long.”

“Good idea, I’m almost already soaked.”

They sought shelter in the entrance of a shop on the closest busy commercial street. Selma looked in the shop window and said,

“It looks like they might have umbrellas for sale in here.”

“Can I help you?”, was person behind the counter’s cordial greeting. “You look like you have immediate needs.”

“Yes, thank you, please give me a couple of those in the window.”

Sadly, the things in the display window turned out to be something other than portable umbrellas. Hurrying out of the shop, she announced,

“I guess this is one of those Porno places. It was filled with adult toys. Those things I thought were umbrellas turned out to be something else.”

She had entered the shop thinking the things in the window were actually umbrellas. More or less soaking wet, they finally bought one umbrella at the Bloememarkt on the Singel.

Armed and sheltered with the umbrella they walked on in the rain back to the Leidseplein. Wet, happy and hungry and after a brief look around the square Manny suggested they go to a second story Russian place called Kalinka 244 luncheonette.

They shared a bowl of borscht, plates of piroshky, golipsy and pelmeni; and topped it off with a nice Hussar salad. It wasn’t a very Dutch lunch but it dried them out and warmed them up for the hour long trek back to the hotel room with the broken toilet seat. They were exhausted but promised each other that the next day would be better.



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