When I bought my house, I spent about a year looking for a place in the right neighborhood, in the right building and for the right price. It had to be close to the city center, with neighbors who weren’t as cookie cutter similar to each other as in my old neighborhood, and the building couldn’t be built after 1930. I looked, and I looked and I looked. And looked some more, before I admitted something had to give, because it just wasn’t happening. Three months later, I bought a shoe-box sized apartment in one of the ugliest 1980’s buildings on the street, right next to the railroad tracks.
I think of it as an excellent deal in disguise. I don’t have to look at my ugly building when I am home and its 1986 vintage means the walls run perpendicular and the plumbing and electricity work faultlessly. The tracks mean I have no buildings opposite me, so light floods my shoe box. What’s more, the house may be small but it has a large(-ish) balcony facing west, so I can sit outside in the evening quite a few months of the year.
And there’s the food shopping, of course. The market around the corner isn’t just any market: it has been voted best market in the Netherlands for two years out of the past three. (Nope, I don’t know who voted. But hey, someone thought it was the best.) There are a few too many stalls selling cheap socks, discount shampoo or ugly synthetic clothing for my liking, but to each their own. And there’s plenty for me too: There are excellent produce guys, one specializing I potatoes and onions alone- oh, how his displays makes me wish I liked spuds. There is fresh fish, and chicken and popcorn. There is a guy baking caramel waffles and boiling fresh corn on the cob. One of my favorites is the Moroccan-owned olive stall, where the salty globes wink at you in a dizzying array of sizes and colors. And there’s a “Farmer Piet” stand, that puts a big grin on my face by selling large hunks of luscious cheese.
Oh, and your sells get wrapped up in these:
Gotta love the market.