zephyr illusions photo by donna October 1992. The view atop Chasseral, Jura Mountains looking across Switzerland to The Alps on the horizon. Fog, intensely thick, rising from Lac Bienne and stretching its fingers high onto the Lignières-Plateau de Diesse after wholly filling the valley below the plateau.

Monday, September 19, 2005

European Adventure 2005 Day 9




let's see what did i do today?... oh, yeah, spent the morning hanging out at hotel before headed into town sometime late-afternoon in search of The Netherlands' (and maybe the world's) first and oldest coffee shop, established in 1968.
Sarasani is way cool :) [check out the Press Release page for description in English] it's in a cave-like basement set under the street alongside the Oude Gracht (canal). the coffee and chocolate are free, the staff very friendly, the smoke very reasonably priced and reknown to be of the best quality, the atmosphere & ambiance totally chilled and mellow. heeheehee, exactly the kind of place that my mother always feared i'd fine one day :p
anyway, the coffee and menu are available to customers upon entering and the lounge area is further back to the rear of the cave where low benches, cushions on the floor and small simple tables made of cementblock and wood line the walls. listening to a Santana concert DVD on the movie screen while spacing out on authentic fluorescent paintings under blacklight took me back in time a bit. Sarasani is very much a timewarp place, for sure.
after chilling in the lounge for a while, i sat at the bar and drank coffee while conversing with a biker guy. he told me all about the history of Utrecht and Sarasani; about going to Hell's Angels parties with Barry Hay (frontman of Golden Earring) and about the political/economics importance of coffee shops to Holland. (we came to the conclusion that the whole coffee shop business finds it's basis on the historical Dutch merchant import/export tradition, and, therefore, has cultural significance... which should be protected by the E.U.. heheehee) he was quite knowledgable and very interesting. turns out he is the bouncer at the coffee shop.
got a very enjoyable education @ Sarasani this evening. nuthin' like interesting, stimulating conversation with the locals over a good cuppa coffee and a smoke :D

4 comments:

  1. Damm.. you visit places i have never been :) Nice to find interesting things about Utrecht i never know. Looking forward to reading what you find out about Groningen. :)

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  2. hehehee, perhaps, you should talk with the locals more? :p
    that's how i find out about the cool places and interesting stuff :)

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  3. Still wondering if i want to talk to a biker bouncer who "smokes" :D.......

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  4. lol, he was a really cool & mellow guy... and, he was drinking tea cos he was working. funny thing is that we talked for something like an hour or more and it wasn't until the end of our conversation that i found out he was the establishment's bouncer. he only told me when i asked him if he was native to Utrecht and visited Sarasani often cos he was very knowledgable about the town and coffee shop.
    he also said that he job wasn't so difficult because most customers who patronize the place are looking to chill out and not get rowdy. his biggest headache is keeping underage people from trying to gain entry.

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