My friend Judy from Findley Lake, our family’s home, arrived around noon and wanted to head right out. Directional coordinates are difficult in a semicircular city where street names change often. And so we promptly got lost which– as every intrepid traveler knows–is (within limits) the best way to discover a city.
Around the corner, we spotted an unusual quilted down garment in the window of a store Riele. Within minutes, the shopgirl was showing us how chic Amsterdammers keep warm (for it is autumn here.) A khaki colored oiled/waxed linen kilt with a big belt and buckle at the hips captivated me. (If only I were 30 pounds thinner.)
The “thing” that drew us into the shop pulled over the head and covered shoulders to below the breasts with a folded neck that could be pulled up to the ears. A down skirt, with curving quilt lines, had an attached knit top that allowed you to place the skirt anywhere on your trunk. (For those who don’t know, I had a down company with two design partners in Aspen in the mid-70!s and thus am alert to any innovations in down design.)
We had a map, Judy and I, but the six-point type naming the streets and canals presented a challenge to our middle-aged eyes. As it worked out, we spent our time in the old original city, much of it highly commercialized.
Nonetheless, we wandered along the Singelgracht Canal lined with the tulip mart. We stumbled into Spui (said Spow,) a square, lined with hip boutiques, and found the American Book Center and its attendant literary center The Treehouse.
I had communicated earlier with their director Donna DuCarme who said that she was planning very little for September and besides, getting people to come to a reading would be an issue. We just missed their show on erotica, which would have been interesting to see in a city so uninhibited about sexual identity.