Some Peace And Quiet
Yesterday Steph and I spent a lot of time in the city, we chose a river walk because it was quieter, but even then Amsterdam is a hectic city. Walking around you need to be constantly on your guard, fully aware of the cars and bikes that surround you in a way that I’ve never experienced before. That constant need to be aware of my surroundings I found to be quite tiring and I certainly couldn’t live in the heart of the city. By contrast move to the outskirts and it’s a wonderful place, with plenty of green space, relatively quiet roads, long sweeping cycle paths and separate footpaths. It’s in this more relaxing space that I spent today.
As this was my last day at the excellent Student Hotel West, which offers a 12pm checkout, I decided to walk around the nearby lake. This was a good choice, the lake offered a lovely mix of excellent paths, great views of the water, wooded glades and interesting architecture. It was very quiet, most of the people I saw were jogging and I walked past a superb swimming pool complex that would be worth a visit had I been staying longer.
When I got back to the hotel I was packed and ready to go much earlier than I expected and I decided to get the tram into the centre, stock up at M&S and then go to Steph’s. I fell asleep on the tram and almost missed Steph’s stop, picking up just in time on the announcer mentioning that we were at the megabus stop. Steph was still home so we chatted over lunch and then I headed out for a walk and Steph went into University for a meeting of the Students for Sustainability group.
My afternoon walk was superb, I crossed over the bridge that leads into central Amsterdam, but I turned left and walked along the waterway for about 4 miles until I finally picked a bridge to cross and walked back along the other bank. The waterway walk was tree lined for most of the way and provided great shade on a sunny day and the views were superb to both sides.
When I got back Steph was still out so I had tea and got stuck into some serious Fringe TV watching and then went out for another walk. This time I completed the last of the walks around the island that Steph lives on, turning right at the main waterway and then right again. I was lucky enough to see a few Herons again and took great delight in watching them flying and landing. Along the waterway I also came across a terrace of houses that Steph had mentioned. They were remarkable for the fact that they were being built in a relatively random order, with gaps being left in the terrace and then eventually filled. The result was a very varied set of styles, all roughly the same size, and all very impressive with wonderful views.
When Steph returned she explained that she’d decided to take the position of secretary on the board and she seemed happy to be involved in something worthwhile that complemented her studies. She mentioned that the other committee members were nicely grounded, not hippies and had been impressed by her experience. She really wanted to be chairman, but decided that as this was all new to her she’d defer to the other candidate who had been in Amsterdam longer.