It’s been two weeks since I returned from Amsterdam. So I’ve had a good amount of time to consider what I miss about it, even though I’m very happy to be home.
Bicycles have the right of way in Amsterdam. No contest. In fact, I had more clout biking than I did walking. Drivers always dutifully stopped for me. They never honked their horns or waved their fists.
I’ve had to re-adjust to T.O.’s car-ruled roads. And you know, it’s kind of lonely biking here. I miss waiting in a cyclist pack at a red light. Granted that only happened on Amsterdam’s busiest streets. Otherwise, no one obeyed lights. No one minded.
Wear What You Dare
Amsterdamers throw on whatever. That resuls in many fashion atrocities, but also in some rare stunning spectacles. In particular, I remember seeing this woman in a solid purple dress with red opaque tights and yellow chunky sandals. She was all vibrant colours and they worked. Their hues were the same. Everything had the same weight.
I really wished I had managed to bike with my camera in one hand. (I was working towards it: an umbrella was good training. ;)) I saw such great pairings on my daily cycle. Now I know that silver go-go boots simply accessorize a Dutch-style bike.
Anytime I looked around a bar in Amsterdam I was happily surprised by the eclectic age groups. Teenagers sat along side the baby-boomers, who were near the twenty-somethings right by the retirees. Granted they weren’t necessarily hanging out with one another. It’s just that space was at a premium. But it was great to see that people were into going out at any age. We should learn from Europe. Those retirees looked youthful. Joie de vivre combats ageing.
Aside from a McDonald’s in Dam Square and some recognizable stores on Kalverstraat (the tourist shopping strip), there were very few franchises in Amsterdam. Most notably, no Starbucks dotted the canals. And though I did get the occassional pang when I thought of a tall, decaf americano, 3/4 full, I loved all of the unique cafes and stores. I really felt like I was somewhere different. That’s rare in today’s world.