Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Amsterdam: 4 July

Day Two in Amsterdam - and it has rained both of them, but that didn't stop us. We hit the streets around 11:30 - we just enjoyed the apartment in the morning - writing, mostly and being slow. However, for the next five - yes, five hours we walked the circumference of Amsterdam. Not entirely by plan. It's just that once you get going - and get to the other side of the city, your only way back is to complete the circle. Kind of like walking my own little Lake Harriet by my home. Once you start, you might as well finish. We just didn't quite realize it was the better part of a five-hour walk. We stopped once at a juice bar and once at the Van Gogh museum.

We still think this is an amazing place. It is more complex than the small neighborhood we explored yesterday. It is truly has its New York diversity central crowded street, slightly shabby moments - sort of the Times Square part of New York. It also has lots of little neighborhoods - also like New York - that have their own wonderful character. The cute, slightly hippie family neighborhood with children in Oilily clothes, the stoner laid back 20 something neighborhood (and yes, mom, they really do have hash and marijuana bars and no, mom, I didn't inhale), the edgy let's hang out in the street cafes and read neighborhoods, the "suburbs" which were built in the 18th century - just beautiful canal and tree-lined streets and I don't know who lives there but it would be me if I lived in Amsterdam.

So a funny story from last night. We are coming out of the restaurant and a homeless person stops us and starts speaking to us in Dutch. We look as dumb as we really are and he gets it that we are American, so switches into his fluent English to ask for change. Now, after the whole event while walking home, Lee turns to me and says, "God, even the homeless people are multi-lingual."

Finally, I mean no disrespect here and this is my disclaimer 1. My maiden name is Krebs - German - so I have NOTHING against the Germanic languages. 2. I LOVE Amsterdam. I think this place has major COOL FACTOR as well as people without attitude, which is my favorite part about the city. But, I have to tell you, I am so out of it with the language. I just don't have a feel for it. When I try to say anything in this language I sound like my cat, Pinky, with a hair ball. I'm sticking with Italian.

That said, never ever ever pass up a chance to spend a few days in Amsterdam. It is what life in the 21st Century should be everywhere. Only a little less rain.

Tomorrow we are off to Firenze. Home. Ciao.

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