Louise and I met with a large group of other conservation interns and ended up going for drinks and dinner with them. We were the only American conservation students; the others were from France, Norway, Austria, and England. One of the French conservation students is in paper conservation and knew Jean-Baptiste! Louise and I were so excited! Jean-"American men have no style"-Baptiste! The world of conservation really is small.
It turned out that all of the other interns have been in Amsterdam/the Hague for months already and will soon be leaving, returning back to school/graduating, so they already had time to find some really great and unique places.
We started out at what Louise and I called a 'Gin Bar' named Wynand Fockink. We had to ask directions to get to it, which was a little awkward.
The bar actually served a liquor called jenever. Jenever is a traditional juniper-flavored liquor typical of the Netherlands, where it was invented, apparently by a chemist named Sylvius de Bouve in the late 16th century. It is what the more modern gin evolved from. A small glass of jenever is supposed to be accompanied by a beer (no doubt Heineken, as Heineken=beer in Holland), but I don't really do beer.
The Wynand Fockink has all sorts of differently flavored gins. You stand in the pretty little alley outside, placing orders at the nearby window. You can get one flavor or more complicated mixed ones: kind of like how Jelly Belly Jelly Beans suggests eating different combinations of flavors to make one other flavor. Except that it is alcohol instead of a teeth-rotting synthetic.
So many flavors, and all different colors.
The jenever is served in these charming little glasses. This particular flavor is a ginger and lemon combination that tasted like limoncello, though the color was less than spectacular.
The bartenders fill the glasses up as much as is physically possible. So much though that the meniscus of the solution is bulging over the top of the glass. Much in the same way I fill a tea cup: attempting to jam as much liquid as possible in a container of finite size. Because of this, before you pick up your glass to take outside and sip, you have to crouch down and drink some, glass resting on the counter, until the amount of liquid has decreased enough so that you can safely carry it.
Note: despite the French students' capabilities of rapid and massive jenever consumption, the drink is meant to be slowly sipped, not done as a shot.
Louise takes a sip.
This flavor was Japanese Cherry, but it tasted like licorice to me. Whatever.
The Wynand Fockink closed relatively early, as 9:00, which means the crowd was really relaxed and friendly and not at all wild. That was very pleasant. So as the night was still young (the sun doesn't set here until like 10:30, which is still causing havoc with my internal timetables) we headed to a Moroccan restaurant. This place was definitely not Dutch and appeared to be frequented by mostly foreigners as the menus were available in multiple languages, not just Dutch and English. The food was good, and the company was as well. It was really fun to hang out with some other conservation students. Conservation school seems to be the same, no matter the country.
Portrait in the mirror of the fabulously tiled bathroom of the Moroccan restaurant. Observe the tall blond woman behind us: no doubt she is Dutch.