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Friday, 27 September 2019

Spaced out on Cheese




It’s a fifty-minute flight to Amsterdam and half a lifetime checking through security. Then there’s the train from Schiphol airport to Amsterdam Central. And this is what you see on first leaving the station. 


We arrived at 9 am (don’t ask me what time we got up!) and we weren’t allowed into our hotel until 2 pm. So, we set out to explore the streets beyond the river. It was a noisy business, trundling our wheeled suitcases over old cobbled streets and sounding like the 7th Cavalry on manoeuvres. It was also highly dangerous.
One word.
Cyclists.
Before we set out they looked, from a distance, elegant and romantic, whole conveys of them swooping across streets like Valkyries on wheels. When you’re on the streets with them, it’s something entirely different. They appear from nowhere. You turn to check. The road is clear. Then whoosh, hundreds of them beamed down from the ‘Enterprise’ and you barely escape with your lives as they speed by, razor-like indifferent.


If you’re lucky enough to be on a pavement, not congested with parked bikes, you can appreciate the health giving benefits of a culture addicted to bicycles. It’s a bit like bird-watching made more interesting by the fact that most of the bikes are of the old ‘sit up and beg’ variety. This enforces a straight-back posture, arms outstretched to the handlebars with unfortunate results. It makes the riders look snooty as they glide by in their trickles, torrents and floods. They all have the same expression, one of serene indifference to trams and pedestrians alike.

As we walked farther into the area bordering the red light district, the sweet and heavy stench of cannabis clogged our noses, as did the sex. Hmm, could be better phrased.

 We passed shops selling cannabis ice-cream,  shops selling dildos the size of cricket bats, and embedded into the cobbles, a tasteful bronze sculpture of a hand fondling a breast. There were also cheese-tasting shops. We didn't stop to check out whether the Gouda was laced with cannabis too. Outside of one though, our suitcases  narrowly missed a flattened rat or large mouse, perhaps spaced out on cheese.

After checking in and jettisoning our suitcases, we embarked on a six-mile circular tour of the canals, before pasta, beer and then mercifully bed.


Fine buildings and water. It's indicative that Leopold of Belgium buried the beautiful river running through Brussels with a road. Nothing good has come from Brussels since. 


The first few miles were very nice, stopping at bridges and looking around.





Above and below examples perhaps of subsidence giving the buildings a jaunty air.




Holland's favourite son Rembrandt surrounded by sculptures of his famous painting 'The Night Watch
And who wouldn't want to see a horror movie in this cinema?
 Or buy a cannabis laced ice cream in the foyer?

Tomorrow  Vincent van Gogh - more accurately next week)

2 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

I can't say Amsterdam ever excited me as a destination city, other than to see their art museums.

If I want cannabis, now I can go to Colorado. Fortunately, cannabis is not on my bucket list--and I've already been to Colorado.

So did you indulge in cannabis laced cheese or ice cream?

Mike Keyton said...

We weren't excited by Amsterdam as a city, though there is some lovely architecture, which, unfortunately doesn't make up for the poor food. It was a significant birthday for Bernadette and she is passionate about van Gogh. Re cannabis, no, I didn't partake. Didn't have to, the fumes were enough : )