I’ve been sitting on this edit since sardinia, trying to get it into a shape that works as a single post, but really, I was in Amsterdam for a week, a lot happened, and also I’m a little bit letting myself try to make a perfect post rather than just post already, nobody cares if every post isn’t perfect. It’s just a blog. So it’s gonna be four-ish posts, unless someone complains, in which case I’ll post every photo individually, out of spite.
Also, and this is true, I usually have a couple tabs open in my browser with this here blog up, just to remind me while I’m flipping through tabs that it would be good to pay some attention to this space, usually in the form of a new post. But for the last few weeks, at least since I got back from Italy/Portugal (that’s gonna be a lot of posts), I haven’t had the page open at all. So my ADHD ass hasn’t had the reminder to keep it real here.
Anyway, Amsterdam: hell of a town. I worked all day monday and tuesday, and then hopped on a direct flight. I arrived some time in the… morning? I think? and took the train into the center of town. I love when names of things are obviously a linguistic use-path; the central train station and transit hub is known simply as “Centraal.” Beautiful train station I immediately failed to exit, because I didn’t see the ticket machines at the airport and just got on the train. I was already jet-lagged. I managed to buy a ticket on my phone and get out, and the hotel I was crashing at was just across a canal, next to another canal. I know, I just described half the city (the other half being at the intersection of two or more canals).
The whole reason for this trip was Sophie was there for work, so the hotel was paid for and rather nice; it was chosen for its proximity to the office she was commuting to, but that also put it right on the edge of the Red Light district, which was… certainly something. I mean, just very gross before about 10am, when the street cleaners would come through. The thing is, it’s not just the girls in the windows, it’s a huge concentration of tourist bars and shops and the like. Like the French Quarter in New Orleans, or sixth street in Austin, maybe. I mean, there’s also the coffeeshops which don’t sell coffee (they’re for weed and mushrooms), but weed and ‘shrooms are practically part of a balanced diet next to the amount of binge drinking that had to be happening.
But anyway, back to my reasons for the trip. I really just wanted to get a feel for the city, hit one or two big museums, and that was about it. It doesn’t take much to get me on a plane. I walked around a bunch and took pictures. Tried and failed to find cuban cigars. I worked from the room and also the lobby of the hotel, where they had an excellent espresso machine. That and melatonin and my jet lag was gone in record time.
In Ted Lasso, the episode where they go play a match in Amsterdam, the character Roy Kent complains that the whole city feels a little fake, like it’s a set for a movie or something. And I kind of understand that feeling; something about the sameness of the buildings, and the improbable angles they tilt at just gives the whole place a sheen of unreality. It didn’t help that I was staying in the most touristy spot in like all of Europe, either. I’m sure there’s some historical reason the buildings are all the same brick, just like there’s a reason all the houses in Santa Fe have to be the same color (one of five, I think).
There might’ve been a point to all that, but I’m not sure. The giant fish head mosaic would probably agree.