Our man [formally] of Amsterdam


Time to stop and smell the tulips
August 30, 2009, 20:11
Filed under: Uncategorized

OK, it’s not exactly prime tulip time, as a young Japanese couple discovered at the hands of a rather forthright tourist information office officer today: “No tulips now. It’s out of season. Come back in the Spring.” And with that dismissal they meekly turned and departed. “You could try the floating Bloemenmarkt, down on the Singel,” the official yelled after them.

Analysing amaryllis bulbs, floating Bloemenmarkt

Analysing amaryllis bulbs, floating Bloemenmarkt

It’s Sunday, my seventh day and the end of a very eventful week. For the first time since arriving, I purposely have nothing to do, with the intent of wandering aimlessly, no guide book in hand, no schedule, no to-do list and while on this wayward path the bells of St Nicholaaskerk ring in the distance summoning the pious to prayer so I follow my ears (and not a map) bearing along Prins Hendrikkade (imagine Eddy Ave near Central Railway but about 5 km long) to who knows where. Is the Nieuwmarkt this way? Who cares!

Sunday is a day for families it seems but you are never far from the sorrows of last night’s intoxication as still drunken punters sing praise, not to God but to Grolsh and it’s just gone 10am.

The next bridge beckons so you walk alone soaking up the vice until the melodious harmonies of an a cappella draw your curiosity, but hark, a bookshop, The Thieving Magpie, stops you dead in your tracks, like a red light (predictable simile) and it stocked Patrick White’s ‘Flaws in the Glass” for only 4 euros and you buy but don’t know why.  Then adjourn to a bakery/cafe for pastry and coffee to discover on a shaded bench you share with children licking ice cream the true meaning of indolence and you feel a sort of rarefied blessedness and lightness observing others observe the rituals of the Sabbath.

And on the seventh day I rested.

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