October 2008 Archives

Cold and Damp in the Netherlands


Before reading this post, go stand in the shower with the cold water on for a minute or two. Don't take your clothes off. Now settle down and try to get comfortable. That is what Amsterdam has been like for the last couple of days.

Autumn is not a great season for visiting countries along the North Sea, at least not if one likes warmth. In general I do fine with cold weather, but it's also been raining and I have been soaking wet, which makes for misery.

Wet square

In the last day the feeling of the city has shifted: we changed to Winter Time, and a lot of tourists cleared out on Sunday afternoon. The leaves have not really started to turn yet, though.

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Amsterdam in the Fall


Ah, Amsterdam, or for the more sensitive among us, Amsterdarnitall.

We spent Monday night in a bit of a tizzy preparing to leave: when I came home from work it was to find that the fish tank had sprung a leak and the fish were narrowly clinging to life in half an inch of water, which inserted an element of panic into events. (Fortunately, we live in a house full of holes, so the water itself had drained into the basement through a crack in the floor instead of ruining everything we own.)

So four o'clock came even earlier than it seems like it might. That was when the taxi arrived to take us to the airport for the first leg of our flight. The flight itself was very pleasant. We spent some frequent flyer miles and flew business class, which is to be recommended for long flights, especially when you have had two hours of sleep the night before. Then an unpleasant but blessedly short train ride from the airport, and we were in Amsterdam.

We like Amsterdam, especially with the indoor smoking ban (especially because we are here for a beer festival and with some friends who intended to do a great deal of drinking in bars). Unfortunately, there is no outdoor smoking ban, because the sidewalks are basically one huge ashtray. It's as if people think that because you are allowed to do anything you want here, you must do it.

We spent our first day, before our friends arrived, walking around the city being tourists. And behold! Photos!

Here's an amusing take on pigeon control. We have discussions about bird control on buildings all the time at work. I have never seen anybody suggest just netting the entire front of the building.

Netted building

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