Sunday, September 6, 2015

Notes on Amsterdam

I don't have time or energy after a long day to do a proper post but here are some notes.

Swami liked the yellow boat
Swami has his eye on the little yellow boat

We are staying across the IJ River (eye river) from the part of Amsterdam known as the old city. It's the area dating from the 17th century through which the grid of canals was built. M. tells me that Amsterdam began as a favorite fishing hole. I can imagine how that went. First some guys just come to fish. Eventually their wives start bringing them lunch, then decide to set up fire pits and, because it rains a lot, shelters and so on. Eventually they start digging the canals to drain the land. Today the canals are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not the city itself. Some of the buildings look like they are slowly sinking into the ground, judging by the way they lean this way and that but, if they are, it's only happening over centuries. 

Also, if you are a pedestrian, WATCH IT! The bikes whiz by like bullets. Pedestrians are the bottom of the pecking order here. When planning this trip, we thought we'd rent bikes in Amsterdam but hell no! They all ride like devils so no one can also watch out for ice cream eating, selfie stick waving tourists. I've nearly been mowed down twice and didn't have either.

Good advice in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam, bikes whiz by like bullets.

3 comments:

Roy said...

My son tells me that if you actually have the nerve to drive a car around there, it will only make you angry, because you have the last/least right-of-way of anybody. It kind of sounds like fun, but I guess you have to be on top of your game.

asha said...

This comment from Reddit about sums it up, though I go a step further and try to avoid eye contact with cyclists altogether. I'm sure that individually they're nice people but, on the bike lanes, everyone has the devil on their ass and drive like it. When crossing any street, however quaint and narrow, I look five ways twice.

"Be ready to furiously hate any dumb ass tourist that rents a bike or walks on the bike path or looks at you wrongly. Been living in Amsterdam for a while now, it's nice. But avoid the centre at all costs, it's a touristy shithole like any other (bullshit souvenir shops, bullshit lines for everything) but outside that Amsterdam is beautiful and has a great vibe."

Roy said...

I guess it would be annoying to have your home town invaded by tourists. We don't have that problem here! When I go to Santa Cruz (CA) I notice there is some animosity, like bumper stickers that say "Welcome to California. Now go home."