Friday, October 18, 2013

Holidays 2013, Netherlands and Belgium pt 2: Amsterdam

During my stay in Amsterdam, I had a great apartment in Oud West. It was a 30-40 min walk into the heart of the city or a quick 10-15 min tram trip. The apartment was small but bright. Importantly it had everything I needed, a bed, shower, toilet, kitchen and washing machine!
Yes, practically speaking I felt that a washing machine was very important for this stay away, because last time I had to mostly hand wash clothes in hotel bathroom sinks!

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, interestingly  (or maybe not..) the Dutch government sit in the Hague, rather than in Amsterdam. The word Netherlands translates to something like, low country/lands and part of the country is below sea level. In fact the Schipol Airport was built on a reclaimed lake and is the lowest airport in the world, at 4 meters below sea-level! (gee as I write this I am hoping that tour guide was telling me the truth!). The tour.. yes, I think  I was the youngest person on the couple of bus tours that I took... and truth be told, I am not that young. Recently at work one of my work colleagues was freaking out that it had been forever since he had finished high school.. like a whole 5 or 6 years and now, OMG he was feeling so old!!!...he then talked about how time was just slipping away.. jeepers, I finished high school.. 20 plus years ago!!!  LOL anyway, back to my holiday!!!

I walked around Amsterdam so much and was constantly, wonderfully surprised by the beautiful sites! The canals are just gorgeous and though I tried not to stop too much and stare like a total tourist (there are lots of signs warning of pickpockets!), there were times I just could not help it.

Nothing says Amsterdam more than Canal houses and Tulips (well, and bikes, and the red light district, and weed and......). Funnily enough, though I missed tulip time in Amsterdam, back home in Australia, the tulips were all in bloom! Anyway, at some daggy tourist place that we (the bus tour) stopped at, I decide to ditch the group for a while and went to the cafeteria to get a coffee and stumbled across some dodgy plastic tulips placed in front of some black and white wallpaper of canal houses! I just had to take a photo:

One morning I awoke really early and headed out into town to take some photographs. This is the intersection around the corner from where I stayed. I love the early morning greyness of this image. The bicycles lined up waiting, still asleep like most of the residents. The early morning tram scuttling off screen and the coffee shop on the corner, lights on, waking up and getting ready to caffeinate the masses into their day:

 From here I walked into town and took many photos of the canal boats in the early morning calm:

Heading into the heart of the city. The early morning light was so beautiful and created a kind of haze:


More photos of canals:

A canal houseboat close to the heart of the city:

I stayed near this next canal and loved that at the seeming end of it there was this chimney from the power-station, continuously polluting the environment and spoiling the scene. There is something about that juxtaposition of the scene we want to see as a tourist (beautiful canals, swans in the water etc) and the reality of  modern life and what is needed to make things run... (power station... etc) that I find exciting... yes, I am odd!:

For something different I took a photo of some canal houses and their reflection in the canal. I then thought, oh, it is so predictable!  So I decided to make the photograph black and white.... and then on a whim decided to flip it upside down to disorientate everyone!

All photographs copyright matthew schiavello 2013.

1 comment: