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Amsterdam versus Brussels, others: Euro frites to the death

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 11, 2008 in Commentary

Sean enjoying a sausage and fries at Curry 36, a food stall in Berlin, Germany.

Sean enjoying a sausage and fries at Curry 36, a food stall in Berlin, Germany.

I try to avoid American foods when traveling. So I can focus on local delicacies; so I can return home and appreciate it all as I stuff my food bag.

But I had to change plans for one of my favorite American foods: french fries. A handful of European cities have stalls that lay claim to being among the best.

We started the pursuit in Amsterdam and Brussels. Both cities have a rich tradition in French fried potatoes, seriously.

In Amsterdam, Mannekin Pis - like the statue in Brussels, confusingly enough - claims the best fries in Holland - and beyond if you ask the right person.

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Belgians say they developed the technique though. We were sent on a long walk south for the best fries in Brussels. They were good - the sausage burgers weren’t - but not worth world renown (video forthcoming).

Then, at a noted sausage stand in Berlin, we came across some more noted fries - Sean’s favorite on the trip.

I think I have to go with Amsterdam’s. Ooh. eating. Anyone have any good Euro-french-fry eating experiences?

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Ep. 4 - Changing your plans

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 20, 2008 in Podcast

Sean and Chirs show you why going with the flow is a necessity for traveling.

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Ep. 3 - Red Light Special. Amsterdam, Netherlands (fixed… super seriously)

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 17, 2008 in Podcast

God help us.  You might as well skip to 3:03.

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Foreign Perspectives: Mattias from Argentina

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 16, 2008 in Foreign Perspectives

What do Maradona and BBQ have in common?

What do Maradona and BBQ have in common?

We first met Mattias after waking up our second morning in Amsterdam. Mattias had just finished a few grueling years of studying while working when he decided to put it all on hold and see the world.  He figured it was now or never, he told us.

We sat down with our new roommate and asked him to answer our questions about his perceptions of America, what all Americans should know about Argentina, and to determine if Americans travel enough.

Listen to our conversation below.

Read more…

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Ep. 3 - The Red Light Special. Amsterdam Netherlands

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 12, 2008 in Podcast

Note: If the embed is screwy, try watching it on blip.  We’re working hard to fix it.  And by working hard, I mean doing it after we see Notre Dame.

Sean and Chris explain the ins and outs of Amsterdams world famous Red Light District.

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Weed and prostitutes: a conversation in Amsterdam

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 9, 2008 in Foreign Perspectives

In Brussels, Belgium since this afternoon - six hours later here than the U.S. East Coast- but too many good things happening to keep locations straight. We’ll work to do better in the future. Here’s a dispatch from Amsterdam, our last stop.

We meet Sander and Neek at the outskirts of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Sean, his brother Brian, and I are on a bridge demarcating where the sex ends and the large, quiet residences begin. A small, sloping bridge over a small canal, 15-feet wide, on which covered bicycle taxis perch to take drunk tourists back to their hotels.

We’re deciding if one more walk through the alleyways glancing at half-naked women in their rented window brothel doorways would be one too many. Half-naked women tap on the glass under red fluourescent lighting - the most give and take you’ll ever have window shopping. They’ll sleep with you for a little money. This is one half of many people’s Amsterdam.

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Trading basketball for directions in Amsterdam

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 8, 2008 in Experiences

Sean likes to say that my only means of social interaction come through athletic competition.

So, when walking back to our hostel, without a real plan what to do, coming upon Vincent (left, with ball) and Justin playing basketball was a blessing. We beat them 11-3, shook hands and then asked their advice about what was really worth seeing and doing in Amsterdam.

Check the video highlights below.

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Arrived in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 7, 2008 in Plans

We got to Amsterdam’s Central Station after noon local time, 6 A.M. there. Took a couple hours taking the long walk to Vondel Park, next to which our hostel sits.

We checked in a day late - because of a transit strike in Brussels that delayed us - so the fine folks at Hotel Annemarie charged us for that night anyway, even though we called once we found out we couldn’t make it.

I could have argued with the manager for a year - but the Blanda boys seemed eager to get done. We are all a bit tired, a bit hungry, a bit eager to move on.

Anyway, I can’t fathom why we found some less than savory reviews for Hotel Annemarie.

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Preconceived Notions: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 7, 2008 in Preconceived Notions

The famed Amsterdam red light district.

The famed Amsterdam red light district.

Las Vegas on acid.

To imagine Amsterdam, I take my perspective of Holland - canals and curving, narrow stone walkways - and add that to gross excesses of hedonism.

The stories of decriminalized drug use and sex parks in a noted party town tend to blossom into legend, a legend that visitors - and I suspect some residents - want dearly to fulfill. How much of that I partake in is unsurprisingly probably small, but I’ll be interested to see how troubled I am with it all.

Sometimes I am just skeeved by such things - seedy underworlds and such.

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