April 05, 2013

The Little Monkey


TRAVELLER almost sees red


The Little Monkey and an even littler
monkey which hangs (sound familiar?)
 inside one of its windows
I'm sure you all know, or at least know of Amsterdam.

It's the capital of Holland,and  it's an old seaport full of canals, trams, bikes, diamonds, legal drugs and legal prostitutes. But besides all that it's full of history: the former homes of Rembrandt and Anne Frank are now both museums.

But the historic part of Amsterdam isn't really that old. Most of it is between 300 and 400 years old, and the reason for that is fire. The city suffered several catastrophic fires until the city fathers banned timber buildings. As a result there are only two timber buildings left, and one of them is the Little Monkey (In 't Aepjen). It's a pub at one end of a road called Zeedijk, which is built on top of the original sea dyke that provided the road's name. Somewhat appropriately, there is a famous lesbian bar in Zeedijk, and the infamous Red Light District is literally a stone's throw away.
" the menagerie may have gone, but the building still celebrates its history and thus there's a Hartlepudlian feel to it"
However, despite having already mentioned several things that may be of interest to Poolie tourists, this article refers specifically to the Little Monkey, which has been welcoming diners and drinkers for centuries. It gets its name from the time several hundred years ago when visiting sailors were allowed to pay their outstanding debts to the landlord in ...monkeys!

As a result, the pub ended up with a monkey menagerie. These days the menagerie may have gone, but the building still celebrates its history and thus there's a Hartlepudlian feel to it. Not only is it filled with all manner of monkey soft toys and paintings, but also it has a black-painted frontage that wouldn't look too out of place on the Headland.

And that's my excuse for having been only a stone's throw from the Red Light District last week!