Houses on water…Windows of these houses are not ashamed of their insides. They are wide open. A young man is taking a break from working on very important projects. Files, plans, drafts are saved on his private MacBook.
Swans jump from the canal and land on the terrace. They sang a swansong with heads raised proudly. In a while, the man will come out of his water-house and scare the birds away. Then, he will take the cover off the boat. Swans will resent the unnecessary stress. Unnecessary, because only the foreigners can be really dangerous. They yell in unknown languages and their children throw not bread but stones at swans.
Bikes — the quickest means of transport in Amsterdam. Children are never seen riding alone. Only adults and youths pedal. They make an art of it. Bikes are equipped with baskets, boxes, bags, windshields, babychairs and trailers. That kind of equipment is enough not only to transport luggage but also people. Five children are sitting in front-wheel-barrow, one on the handle bars, another on the carrier and wife on the frameset — it is not too much for a rider, who is able to carry an elephant on his back.
Some people have beautiful cars. Ultra-new and expensive or vintage and expensive. But driving on Amsterdam streets is extremely difficult. Narrow, crowded, stacked with tables and garbage — a landscape that only bikes can navigate.
Right of way goes:
1st — scooters
2nd — bikes
3rd — cars and pedestrians (some drivers are not patient enough to give a right of way to pedestrians).
There are 600.000 bikes for 730.000 residents in Amsterdam. On average, 450 accidents are happen and 5 bike-riders are killed every year. As they say: “Amsterdam loves bikes” and they know how to love it quite safely.
Don’t count on getting fancy breakfast there. The culture is to eat breakfast at home, so cafes, bars and restaurants mostly serve toasts and baguettes. Luckily, you can still find excellent freshly brewed coffee.
Coffee-shop is not a café. But both are everywhere. Coffee-shop — weed paradise. Café — coffee paradise. Residents say Amsterdam’s weed is strong, so most of them don’t smoke it. They prefer milder hash. But you can still see many glazed eyes there.
Prostitutes stand in windows like nude muses. Framed models. During lunch, it’s possible to meet one of them, sitting naked, eating the meal in the window.
Flowers. At the end of March. Growing in front of houses, blocks, offices, in the parks, on the streets. Daffodils — everywhere.
Language. Unique hybrid of German, French, English… Sounds strange but it’s nice for ears. Not too soft and not too tough.
Houses on the canal stand like soldiers — straight, consistent, cramped. Sometimes corner houses stand out from the row. Crooked houses. Don’t be afraid — it will not collapse. However, I’m curious, how is it possible, that its windows are still in one piece and doors close tightly.
I’m not sure about the literary scene in Amsterdam, but I’m guessing it’s more of a painting place. Painters can find marvelous architecture, luxuriant nature and good light. Van Gogh and Rembrandt found it very inspiring. But you won’t see much culture variety, which isn’t very good for writers. I guess writing needs some oddity and Amsterdam is more like ‘law and order’ place (paradoxically — with its prostitution and coffee-shops included as a tourists attraction).