I saw this cool looking record shop in Amsterdam. Upon poking my head in I met this guy. It was like walking back into Liverpool. Cool place.
So this year we visited Amsterdam. I loved it. Every single day we some something bat poop crazy. As an industry standard British man it was kinda eye opening how casual the place was. Sex shops presented their wares like having a pneumatic dildo window display wasn’t insanely insane.
We saw a man walking round dressed in baby gear at 4pm on a Monday. I don’t have the foggiest idea why. Kids were body boarding in the canals being dragged by a boat. People transported anything they could get their hands on via bike. Planks of wood? Sure why not. I saw a man having an early morning Saturday rave in his living room in front of everyone passing by.
Then there’s the Red Light District. That place is just unreal. You’ve got tourists there like its Venice but with women shaking their wobbly bits and then banging on the window like some trapped mime when they see a camera. We stumbled into a sort of Thai massage street one Sunday looking for the cat rescue boat, de Pozen Boat. It was Sunday day time and we thought we were a few canals over from the Red Light District. Suddenly a large angry woman in her underwear is shouting at me for taking photos of buildings. Looking around we noticed lots of red curtained windows. Where the fudge where we?! Man, it was crazy town banana pants. Kids were walking by with their parents because it was a lovely Sunday morning. What is going on!?
Honestly, Amsterdam was huge fun because it was bonkers.
Amsterdam has an interesting range of architecture. The older traditional looks the way it does for a variety of reasons. Houses are thin and tall because of cost. If you had a wide house you were quite rich to afford the land. So most are thin and tall. The buildings lean over the street a little. That’s not a structural issue it’s a design choice. It helps with the cranes on the top of each building and lifting goods in. They have to do this because houses are thin and tall and the stair cases are useless for pivoting a couch around. Pivot! PIVOT!
There’s some lovely modern architecture in the form of the Eye Film Institute (pictured above and below). Lovely lines.
I miss Amsterdam. I really really miss it. Something always happened there. But more than that I feel like its the first holiday I’ve had where I actually relaxed. Before your mind goes there, no. Beer, chocolate and I’m slowly getting into whiskey. Thats all. No crazy coffee shopping. I couldn’t afford the laundry bills.
Anyway. I genuielly relaxed there. It was like home but without responsibility. So I was able to have all the fun I would at home without the “Oh work next day.” or “Better head home and do the laundry.” It was a week of street photography mixed with architecture and beers by the canals. If we wanted to stay out till 12am to do more street photography and afterwards relax with a beer by the canal till 1am we could. Man I loved that freedom. It was so liberating.
I’ve been on lots of holidays but I always seem to put loads of pressure on myself to get the perfect photos in the perfect light. I get food anxiety. I worry about everything. I do have a great time. I loved our honeymoon around Europe. A Leica in Venice. My wife was there too. We do beach holidays where you’re supposed to relax and I sort of do but Amsterdam was definitely different. I guess because it reminded me of home it was like being at home but someone had lifted all the weights off your shoulders and you could simply enjoy life for a bit.
It was also our first holiday away with the Apple Watch and a local sim. Normally we go away and I try to ignore the internet. I consider that part of going away. But having the Apple Watch and a local sim with data access was a huge plus. We were never lost. At any moment I could say “Hey Siri. Take us to the apartment.” and it would with a gentle tap here and there. No map getting in the way of seeing new photos. If we went off the route because we saw something it would work it out. Again, freedom. If we wanted to go somewhere the Apple Watch would gentley guide us there and again we could see the world instead of concentrating on a map.
My battery issue with my X100s was resolved with the aid of 5 new batteries and 2 new chargers so I enjoyed getting back into using that camera. It’s my favourite digital camera and I’ve missed it.
All in all there were a lot of reasons why I was able to relax, to actually relax on this trip and enjoy life for a week. Apple Watch. X100s. Beer. That was until women in their underwear banged on windows. But that’s another story for another day… Here’s 7 days in Amsterdam.
Cycling in Amsterdam is so common place and such a popular form of transport that you see some crazy things. It’s an interesting look at a society that has really embraced the bike. Maybe one day we can be this bike crazy.