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The magical market of Amsterdam

One thing that I have absolutely come to love about Amsterdam now (and which I did not like earlier) is the speed of life in the city. Things move at a leisurely pace. A quite contrast to the life-by-nanoseconds in Mumbai! It helps me sit around; sip my coffee and smell the beans too...most importantly, appreciate the concoction that has just been served with a sweet cinnamon biscuit. Also, there is a touch of history and the ol’ country charm that I would really miss about Amsterdam, should I have to move anywhere else. This is a kind of place that would inspire story tellers from around the world to weave their most magical tales.

One of my favourite places in the city is its famous Albert Cuyp (AC) market. Situated bang in the city and accessible to anyone from anywhere; this is the busiest part of the city. Set your foot here, and you will feel as if you have stepped in the bazaar of Agrabah. Surely you will look around for Aladdin and the gang. Traders bustling around, finding a buyer for their wares, colourful stalls beckoning the shoppers with the eclectic goods and displays, and vendors selling fascinating merchandise ranging from party poppers—costumes, masks, balloons and confetti—to everyday items and also edibles like smoothies, (reminds me of falooda and juice & gola gaadis at beaches and at every nook and corner) fries and mayo, sandwiches and so on. Fries with Mayo is a favourite snack of the Dutch and the stall selling it in AC is equally famous, with people swarming in a queue to grab their share of  the bite.

AC reminds me of yet another famous magical market—The Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. You can get everything in this one place, be it the Diagon Alley or the AC Market. Like the Alley, this place too is bursting with people and activity. There are the round-the-corner-cafes, eateries and grill rooms, serving the special of the day and also stalls that sell all-coloured juices. And while you may not get your wands and cauldrons in AC, but you sure will find regular clothes, shoes, jewelery, fabrics and textiles, cheese, bed linen, to lingerie, toys, pots and pans and furniture. etc.

The most fascinating of all are the sea food stalls. The freshest of clams, mussels, fish, shrimp...All placed so well in front of the buyers..........yum yum yum. The sellers are good people too. Eager to help out and make a sell, they encourage unsuspecting buyers like me to try new things. I bought some unknown variety of fish, which turned out well after cooking (the seller gave me cooking tipsJ). My old neighbour from Thane—Teja Kaku would have loved this place. She is known in our society for making the best sea it bangda/bombil/paaplet/tisrya, so on. Then there are stalls that sell the freshest of all vegetables and fruits.

And how can a market be complete without the flower sellers and local musicians? You can hear the faint notes of an accordion while you are exploring this market, adding to its charm and charisma.

This amazing place, the Albert Cuyp market, makes me wonder, if Jack too came here to buy the beans for his bean stalk, or if Little Red Riding Hood bought her lovely crimson hood at one of the stalls here or whether the Pied Piper of Hamlin ever played his flute here? Whether Belle's (the heroine of Beauty and the Beast) father had tried checking this place out for his only Rose, or if Johnny tried his luck at buying a bunch of blue ribbons to tie up my bonny brown hair? For if they would have, they surely would have found it all here, in the hustle-bustle of the magical Albert Cuyp Market.


Mansi at: Mar 13, 2010, 9:45:00 AM said...

The fries and mayo stuff is really post a pic of the market if possible.

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