Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Memories Of Amsterdam
If President’s Choice ever comes out with an Amsterdam addition to their “Memories of…” sauces, I highly recommend some of this stuff here.
So I have returned home and am doing a final recap of my trip to buy time while I get the music part of my brain back online. Some of you may find it interesting, some of you may not, but either way, we should be back to normal tomorrow. But until then…
I think the thing I found most surprising about Amsterdam was its modernity. While respectful of its history, it doesn’t seem beholden to it. There’s no attempt to preserve the past in a time capsule – tram lines are laid down cobblestone streets hundreds of years old and 17th century canal houses are just as lived in as they were 400 years ago, with clubs, restaurants, shops and homes. The central part of the city is also incredibly dense and no friend to right angles – there are so many small streets, canals and bridges that trying to make use of any as landmarks is kind of futile, or at least I found it so. Much of my time was spent just wandering aimlessly, looking at stuff that I may well have already looked at before, but couldn’t really remember if I did. I also found everything especially grey and drab, but that’s surely a consequence of my being there in mid-February, when most of the northern hemisphere is grey and drab. I’m sure it’d be a much more striking and colourful town in the Summer. And less cold.
I’d been told before I went that language wouldn’t be a problem, that everyone spoke English. This was true – however, their signs were all in Dutch. And their menus. Which is why I subsisted mainly on a diet of french fries with mayonnaise and shwarma for the past week – besides the fact that anything fancier is pretty damned expensive, those were about the only things I could reliably understand what I was getting. the Dutch people were generally very nice and understanding when I didn’t realize that you have to push the button to open the tram doors. They’re also incredibly tall, every last one of them. Maybe something to do with growing up below sea level (less gravity?). I dunno.
I’d like to thank Blogads and Holland.com for putting together this Bloggers In Amsterdam junket and for sending me on it. I was pretty much left completely alone while over there, so I hope they got what they wanted out of it. I certainly had a good time of it, wandering, museum-hopping, catching some shows and meeting other bloggers. And ingesting way too much starch.
And one final question – why, when the country’s flag is red, white and blue, is their national colour orange?
np – Beth Orton / Comfort Of Strangers