This afternoon Holly and I moved into a 2 bedroom apartment in the Rivierenbuurt (River neighborhood) which is part of an area called Oud Zuid (Old South). It's still considered the city center but is more suburban feeling than the centrum. That's ok by me because there's a huge park nearby (Beatrixpark), and all the stores I need on a regular basis are within a 3 minute walk. There's a grocery store, bike shop, housewares store, vet, pet shop, nut and cheese shop, Italian grocer, health food store and dry cleaner all within a few blocks, and there are tons of restaurants from Thai and Indian to Japanese, Chinese and pizza.
Transportation is great too. We can walk to the RAI train station in 20 minutes, and have tram service just 5 minutes away. My commute to work is 30 minutes on tram 12, and Brett can cycle to his office in 5 minutes. If we want to be in the hustle and bustle of the city center we can be there in 10 minutes by taking a tram. We're also walking distance from the Albert Cuypmarket and Museumplein where all the major museums are located.
The landlords are also very nice and the wife gave me a big hug as she left. She said that she'd be glad to go out for coffee or take the dog for a walk with me since I don't know many people here. It was a really nice gesture. I continue to be amazed by the hospitality here. In my entire year in California I haven't had as many coffee invites as I've had in 3 weeks in Amsterdam! She's a really interesting woman as well. Originally from Hong Kong, lived in California for a number of years and then married a Dutch man 13 years ago. She promised to give me a great dumpling recipe and to tell me the best places for dim sum in Amsterdam. That's my kind of landlord :-)
I'll post more in the coming days about some of the interesting traits of apartments here and the funny groceries I've seen. Potato chips flavored like barbeque ham anyone?