Tulips! Today you get a picture of tulips!
My frustrated (or lazy) inner gardener loved Amsterdam and the gorgeous array of tulips. The Dutch have a lovely design sensibility - the parks, the architecture, the inside of people's homes I looked at through the window (stalker). They were super friendly too; the neighbourhood restaurant where we ate on Saturday night offered us invitations to a local party, free cider and a stream of interesting chat. Love!
Below is the obligatory be-sunglassed photo of me, waiting at the tram stop to go home. This was at the point I realised that while I had a lot of pictures of tulips and P next to bicycles, there was no proof I'd made it to the Netherlands. I was going to ask you to excuse the fluff-halo, but you should know the truth. Fluffy hair is par for the course.
|THE ONLY REALLY DUTCH THING IN THE PIC IS BIKE IN THE BACKGROUND.|
ALSO, LOST THAT SCARF TWICE THIS WEEKEND, ONLY RECOVERED IT ONCE. STUPID SCARF; I'M SURE IT'S ONLY, LIKE, 50% MY FAULT.
Storytelling 101 would suggest that I focus on something really interesting that happened in Amsterdam and use it as a basis for discussion of the themes/feelings of the trip. Some stories from Amsterdam shall remain untold on the internets EXCEPT (because I can't follow my own rules) to say that on Sunday I felt like I hadn't seen any of the debauched side of the city, so we patrolled the Red Light District at lunchtime. WOE for the bored-looking and scantily clad ladies on display being peered at by tourist looky-loos off the street, surrounded by pubs playing the Man U game. I felt like an ENABLER. It was vile but far too complicated for me to discuss on a Monday morning without further processing. Clearly, I'm failing at picking a single incident to discuss so here is an edited bullet point list of highlights/lowlights for the weekend:
- Vondelpark: such a lovely public resource. So many dogs and yet not a poo in sight. Amazing. Points off only for the enormous scary waterfowl. P and I agreed that from what we've seen so far, Dutch public gardens are second only to the English. I'm sure both nations feel satisfied that they've now passed the A test of botanical approval. It's based on more than a lack of poo, though I must say that's a factor (Paris, I'm looking at you. Your shared public spaces are monumentally let down by doggie doos).
- Bikes and bike lanes: also awesome. However, very testing for the lazy pedestrian used to using aural senses for road crossing (I hadn't realised we were so heavily dependent on hearing traffic coming before crossing, but apparently our eyes are not enough alone!).
|LADY ON A BIKE WITH AN UMBRELLA, OBV. MORE LUFFERLY!|
- Canals: these are awesome and full of bikes.
- Navigating a different public transport system for the first time late at night with some YAY FRIDAY booze in your bloodstream is NOT conducive to marital harmony. LET THIS BE A LESSON.
- Tourists are terrifying. How many Madame Tussauds' are really necessary, Western World? Why would you queue for it?*
- Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum: splendid. We had a short-ish wait to get into both and while we resented the hordes of others we were forced to share the artwork with (SO SELFISH I AM), the splendour of the pieces was something else. My favourite was Vermeer's Kitchen Maid:
|SHE'S LUFFERLY. EVEN MORE SO IN PERSON; CAPTIVATING.|
- Cheese. Yes, MOAR PLZ.
- Poffertjes. These wee things turned up absolutely caked in a solid inch of icing sugar and practically a slab of butter but were pretty tasty underneath.
|THESE BUT WITH MUCH, MUCH MORE SUGAR AND BUTTER. MMMMM, TASTY HEART ATTACK|
- Language: I was embarrased by having no Dutch but the locals were so kind and accomodating - an embarrassment for us mono-lingual lazy English-speaking types.
Anyway, loved Amsterdam.
*I recognise that I myself was a tourist. Clearly a superior-feeling-sort of tourist, but a tourist nonetheless, getting annoyingly in the way of bikes and occasionally dawdling on footpaths (dawdlers! Is there anything more frustrating when you're a local walking somewhere IMPORTANT and WITH A PURPOSE?!)