Tuesday, February 24, 2009

wandering Amsterdam part I

We left our workshop at 3:30 pm and ran to catch the ferry to the mainland. We missed the bus connection to the train station, so we took cabs and ended up on the 4 pm train to Amsterdam, with the slowpokes who missed the ferry. The funny thing was that with the exception of a couple of locals our train car was filled with visiting scientists. The Scandinavians all sat together (perhaps because a Belgian teased them that it must already be dark at home). We sat in the Canadian-German-English-Belgian group. Then there was a foreigners-who-work-in-the-UK (Kiwis and Canucks, mainly) group behind us. I enjoyed our conversation and getting to see a little more of the townships and countryside in the daylight. Though conversations started with the usual topics (i.e. science from the meeting, are Canadians really different from Americans and how long was my flight home, language issues) it became quite animated. The Belgians were Flemish so they translated the announcements for us. They wanted to know how our language differed. They claimed that Qu├ębecois french was incomprehensible and I argued that it really depended, though I acknowledged that sometimes it was 16th century and people drove their char rather than their auto. The only English Canadian word I could think of was ribbit, which lead to a crazy conversation about sounds animals make in different languages. Also, strangely, none of them knew the word meme, and thought I had made it up.


After reaching Amsterdam and taking a streetcar to our hotel (in the same neighbourhood as our houseboat from the last trip), we found an Indonesian restaurant, one of the benefits to Holland of their former colony. We were going to go for a beer, but passed a theatre and randomly decided to watch Revolutionary Road. Then Saturday, we mainly wandered and shopped till dinner.
canal with reflections

fist doorknob
Check out the fist door knob, and requisite bikes.
Ernie and Bert
Ernie and Bert down the alleyway...
corner building
must have tulips
The necessary tulips (even if artificial) where we stopped for coffee on a canal.
stylish hotel
There was a beautiful Art Nouveau style restaurant in this hotel.
theatre
stone people
woodwork
more people as pilasters
the Jordaan, Amsterdam
I returned to the Jordaan, because I enjoyed walking there previously. There are many shops and galleries, and artisans working in felt.

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