I went to Amsterdam for the weekend with a group of friends recently and it was a wonderful break, just what I needed. I can’t remember the last time I came back from a holiday feeling so refreshed, so much like it had been a holiday. I spent many a happy hour wandering the streets absorbing as much of the place as possible. The #foundwhilewalking hastag on twitter was everpresent in my mind. It was started by a very good friend of mine, the lovely and talented Kay Sexton, and I often participate. I could not do justice to the number of my discoveries over the three days by posting tweets however, so I have decided to try and transport my findings to the format of a blog post.
I hope Kay doesn’t feel I have corrupted her notion of what #foundwhilewalking is about. I vividly remember her explaining to me when we first met the importance of the discpline of the activity for her; not just noting things of interest, but searching for viewpoints of interest on things we walk past. I can’t help but feel that my overwhelming desire to note as many of the eccentricities of being somewhere foreign (in many senses of the word) some of them large, some of them small, some of them exotic and some of them surprisingly common place is still very much allied with the intention of the twitter tag.
So – #foundwhilewalking in Amsterdam:
Endearingly crooked buildings
Ferocious and unrelenting wind that blustered around me making me feel engaged in battle with it and very much alive.
Time to do lots of thinking while freed from the usual groove of my thoughts.
A bookshop with intriguing titles such as ‘Rationale of the Dirty Joke: An analysis of sexual humour’ and ‘Salt: a world history’ in the window. Given they were books written in English I wondered if this a useful reflection of Amsterdam’s perception of its English speaking visitors? Are these the titles judged to most pique our interest?
Seagulls that floated up in to the air in a cloud as if they were a visible manifestation of the furious wind.
Fab art deco style building, the curves and lines really demanded my attention.
A lovely chap called Dan from Florida who I am fairly certain I mistakenly sent the wrong way when he stopped me to ask for directions; guilt; self recrimination. Sorry Dan, I thought I was right. It wasn’t until I got myself lost I realised I was wrong … it was nothing personal.
Church bells chiming tunes overhead and a dizzying view right up to the top of a tower from right by its base. The photo is of the notice stating which musical pieces the bells are tolling extracts from.
A fairy tale castle, beautifully lit up and majestically situated overlooking a canal by night, disappointingly discovered to be a simple restaurant by daylight.
Starlings, whose iridescent feathers seemed more so than those back home.
Bicycle and bird feeders.
What looked like a string of deflated balloons caught in a tree.
An old man with grey hair walking stiffly down Kloveniersburgwal singing ‘I gotta feeling’ by the Black Eyed Peas as he went.
Eye catching graffiti, somehow it appealed to me on an aesthetic level. It may have been the contrast between this and the neatness of the rest of the street.
Curious feature on building, don’t know what it is but I liked it.
A poster that made me giggle, I liked the almost pop art kind of feeling of it and the play on words.
A real Sunday morning feeling, quiet and lazy in a way that Brighton very rarely is.
Arresting small mosaic, I remember seeing a couple the last time I was in Amsterdam. It prompted some internet research and I found out about Invader.
I actually did a double take as I walked past this shop window, every inch the naive, sheltered country girl …
Paul’s mint (Paul being one of my fellow travellers). We were given mints by a restaurant and Paul lost his. Some time and intoxication later, as we were walking to another bar, his face suddenly stretched in to a big grin and he pulled the mint out of his pocket with a cry of jubilation.
More of my Amsterdam photos can be found on my flickr page.