Thursday, 27 September 2007


Here we are in Amsterdam.

The trip was long, but pleasantly uneventful. Even the 1-hour layover in Singapore, which had the potential for a bit of Race-Around-the-World style airport dashing, was straightforward, mainly because we arrived from Melbourne half an hour early.

We got into Amsterdam at about 5.30am on Monday, breezed through Customs (which makes sense . . . who's going to smuggle anything into Amsterdam?) and caught a double-decker train into the city.

We weren't going to be able to check into our apartment until about midday. But that'll be ok, we thought. Surely a party town like Amsterdam never sleeps.

Actually, it does. Between about 4am and midday on Monday is when everyone seems to recover from the rest of the week. Nothing opens until midday. In the three days we've been here we've not seen the place as dead as it was when we first arrived.

Eventually we find our apartment, get in touch with the agent, and get them to let us in. Like most Amsterdam houses (and people), it's tall and thin. The staircase is about 80cm wide and goes up at an angle of 70 degrees. No point wasting space on things like staircases. This'll be tricky after a big night out, I thinks to myself.

(Side note: apparently it's a tax thing. Between 1200 and 1900 or thereabouts people were taxed on the width of their houses, so the standard house design is tall, deep and thin. You can tell the really rich areas cos it's where the houses are wide.)

Tuesday we decide to get a bit of culture (it can't all be red-light district, can it?) and go to the Van Gogh museum. Actually, it was only Sarah and Greg and I that went. We lost Kate and Shannon in some market along the way. I think deliberately on their part.

The Van Gogh museum was interesting, but clearly made up of the bits and pieces no-one else wants. None of the really famous painting are there, except for Irises and one of the Sunflowerses (but not the good one). It was all arranged in chronological order though, so you can see him getting madder and madder. Which was nice.

What amazed me was that he was only 37 when he topped himself. He looks about 70 in those self-portaits.

This morning we took a cruise around the canals. The cool thing about Amsterdam is that you're never more than a block away from a water view. The uncool thing is that it's also the sewer and serves as a reminder that it's all going to disappear under the ocean before the century's out. Still, we can enjoy it while it lasts.

Or maybe they can make the dykes bigger. Actually, now that I think about it, Amsterdam will probably be the one place to survive the rising oceans, given it's already below sea level.

That's about it for the moment. Sorry about the lack of photos. Unfortunately, I can't seem to upload from this particular net cafe. We've taken a bunch, though, so stay tuned.


Budge said...

days!! Days i say since you updated your blog. A lack of respect for your readership; that's what it is.

Matt said...

And a lack of online facilities.

But yes, certainly a lack of respect also.