I’ll admit that, when I first moved here, Amsterdam didn’t really catch my imagination. Everything seemed a bit artificial and I just couldn’t see the appeal of the city itself. However, I’ve found myself rapidly falling in love with the place. The more time you spend here and the more you explore of the tourist track, the more the city unfolds. Granted, one could say the same of any major city but, with Amsterdam, I’ve really felt that transition.
On Wednesday night I went out with a group to have dinner, belatedly celebrating Sonja and my birthday. As always, the company was wonderful and the food was good too but it was what happened afterwards that made the night, I think, for us all.
It was the middle of the evening, the air was crisp but dry, the streets almost empty, the city lit up ready for the festive season. It was beautiful.
When you escape from the plastic and neons of the tourist specific areas, step out into the night-time atmosphere, you enter a whole different world. This was a romantic world and not one that you see when you step off the train when you first arrive. It was a strange walk as we passed by houses with the ‘perfect’ family sitting scrapbooking in the window, a picture postcard scene; stunning churches which led to debates over the age and denomination based on art history and Dutch history, eventually solved by google; cosy bars with people obviously having a wonderful evening… if you could imagine a perfect evening walk, this is as close as reality gets.
And that is what I’ve realised about this city… Meandering alongside canals and over bridges, walking for the sake of taking the prettiest route you find so much. I’m not sure if we would ever find some of the places again but I am sure that, for me anyway, even if I was to revisit the area it would never hold quite the same magic as in that night.
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