a great walking and shopping city. I always find it such fun
to put on my sturdiest shoes, grab my backpack and just meander
-- through the bustling city center, along the many canals
and across the tiny, picturesque bridges. What a perfect way
to spend one of my travel days -- window-shopping, popping
into stores, browsing to my heart's delight, and inevitably
coming home with some very interesting and unique purchases.
It's pretty pricey
on P.C. Hooftstraat...
York has Fifth Avenue, Chicago has the Golden Mile
and Amsterdam has P.C. Hooftstraat -- home of world-class
boutiques and baubles designed to win a woman's heart
and pocket book. Expect Cartier, Bulgari, DKNY and
Hugo Boss mixed and matched with luxury Dutch specialty
stores. Located just five minutes from the city's
museum quarter, this posh area is very easy to find
and well-worth a visit. Be prepared for wonderful
people watching , terrific trend spotting and very
are some of the shops? At Shoebaloo
(#80), a very upscale shoe emporium, kiddies rubber
boots are 180 euro a pair. Shoppers looking for
style without as large a price tag need not be
discouraged. They can head for Dr.
Adams, a shoe chain located further
up the block with much more affordable prices.
Corner Sweers (#29) is a mini flower
shop with delightfully welcoming service. Those
in-the-know wander straight to the gift nook in
their back room. On offer are charming and colourful
items -- napkins, cosmetic bags, candles -- each
just a bit out of the ordinary, each a wonderful
household souvenir of Holland.
Looking for true
Dutch kitsch? Close by is Kaaks
(#32), an enormous souvenir emporium. Beside the
many postcards, calendars and key chains, there
are t-shirts galore ranging from tiny to extra
big, Dutch dolls in typical dress, colourful wooden
shoes and authentic Royal Delft ware. This is
chic memento shopping at very chic prices.
Is your sister, girlfriend
or daughter pregnant? If your answer is yes, I
suggest a stop at Robbe
& Berking (#130), a Dutch shop
specializing in sterling silver objects. Be sure
to ask about their birth spoon collection. This
commemorative teaspoon - with handle (different
for boys and girls) - is designed so you're able
to engrave the newborn's name, date of birth,
height and weight on it. The price tag for this
elegant gift is 50 euro for silver plate and 75
euro for sterling. Happy to report that service
in this shop is sterling as well!
If little Journey people are
high on your gift list, you'll want to make your
way to the exclusive Oilily
Store (#131-133 ) to see their
colorful children's wear collection. Founded by
a Dutch husband and wife team, Oilily's well-known
whimsical styling calls out to the rich and famous
around the world. Stockings in their signature
combo of pinks and oranges can be had for a mere
10 euro. With these your little darling is certain
to stand out in a crowd.
||Finally, every shopping spree needs
a coffee or lunch break. For that time, Journeywoman
suggests Caffe Fiorito
(#63), where sitting outside in the sunshine is
a real treat. This unassuming spot attracts a nice
mix of locals, shoppers and tourists, and their
snack food menu is very reasonable for ritzy P.C.
Hooftstraat. Take your pick - Dutch delight sandwich
with goat cheese, lettuce, truffle oil and pine
seed on Turkish bread (7 euro) or Dutch Apple Pie
served with whipped cream (3.79 euro). Either one
will be a special treat. Travelling with kiddies?
Let them try what all Dutch children love - white
bread smothered with a rich chocolate paste (2.30
euro). Your youngsters might give up peanut butter
girls love to shop in Holland...
to Holland? Here's a great tip! Make sure to do your
trouser shopping there. The people of The Netherlands
are the modern days tallest people in the world. The
average Dutch man is just over 6 feet, and the average
Dutch woman is just over 5 foot 7 inches. Pop into
any clothing store - they'll probably stock your pant
length in any style and color you choose. I know,
I'm Dutch and I wait until I go home to shop.
Irma, New York City,