Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Good day good people, and thanks for joining me today. I write to you on a rainy summer's day, having been on a long weekend break in Amsterdam. It was raining when we left the UK and raining when we got back, and has done so steadily ever since. Oh, well, at least we got some Vitamin D, albeit for only a few days in Holland.
Amsterdam is built around a number of canals and although not the most beautiful place to visit like Paris or Vienna with their grand buildings, boulevards and parks, has a unique charm of it's own. I found the canal boats on which people had made their permanent homes extremely quaint and interesting. The city has become so overcrowded that people living on these permanently moored boats have built extensions, connected them to the mains for electricity, gas and more recently, the sewers, and have settled down to a life on water. They have built little gardens with pot plants and garden ornaments, and sit on deckchairs in their gardens seemingly oblivious of the tourists who gawp at them as they walk past.
The bicycle is ubiquitous in Amsterdam and one has to skip nimbly out of the way to escape the ignominy of being run over by one, and to avoid being sworn at in Double Dutch. Worn out bicycles are apparently recovered from the canals at a rate of fifty a day.
This is a combination of a bicycle, shopping trolley and stroller - I thought it was a joke contraption until I saw a woman riding one with a child strapped into the seat!
As the sun's warmth got stronger, people came out of the woodwork like roaches, shedding their clothes and lying on the banks of the canals and in the green spaces of the city.
We found ourselves in Amsterdam just as the Red Light District had put on a free Jazz Festival. The girls remained behind their glass windows, and the rest of us jived to the sounds of the trumpets and saxophones played on every street corner. We went from one street party to another, having a grand old time till the wee hours of the morning. This is a little video clip I shot using my new phone, I uploaded it to YouTube so that I could share it with you. I feel rather grand now that I have my own YouTube channel!!
The famous Bulldog Cafe, named after the owners dog, now deceased
We walked and walked until our little legs wouldn't carry us any further, stopped at kerbside cafes, and took taxis on to the next point we wanted to visit. We managed to cover a fair bit of ground in that way, spending as little as possible on taxis and had time to pursue our favourite activity - people watching, eavesdropping on snatches of conversation and making up stories about them. I bet the stories we made up were much more interesting than reality.
I hope you have enjoyed my little glimpse into Amsterdam - I'm sure you are wondering where the pictures of the Rembrandt museum and the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum are among others that are glaringly absent from this album - well, we got so carried away by the jazz that we spent a lot of time in the Red Light District, walking along the canals, and cafe hopping that we had no time to go to the museums on a three day visit. Perhaps we will go again, Amsterdam is only 55 minutes away from Birmingham airport. This is my fifth visit to Amsterdam over the years and each time I have discovered different delights - Mike however has never been and was simply entranced by the relaxed way of life along the waterways. Wilfred, our cat was certainly pleased to see us back so soon from our Adventure in Waterworld.
That's me for this week, folks. Take care of yourselves, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.