Birthday In Amsterdam
It was Steph’s birthday today, last year she spent her birthday in Japan, this year it was Amsterdam but at least I was with her today. I had a good nights sleep last night and woke about 8am, I’d bought breakfast with me so I had that sitting in front of the amazing picture window in my room, soaking up the view. Just as I’d set off for the tram to meet Steph in the city centre at 10am she messaged me to ask if we could meet up at the Botanical Gardens at 10:40 instead. Plugging that into Google maps on my phone showed that if I went by tram I’d be really early, but if I walked I’d be right on time, so I walked for about 70 minutes, which was very enjoyable.
As I was approaching the gardens I saw Steph admiring the views from the middle of the nearby bridge, a few seconds later the alarm sounded indicating that the barriers were about to close and the bridge open. I saw a look of panic on Steph’s face as she tried to figure out what was happening and where to run, she figured it out just in time and I smiled a birthday greetings across the canal as we watched the bridge open up.
I managed to get a nice picture of Steph, even if she was looking into the sun and shading her eyes, it was better than the previous attempt with me pointing the camera into the sun.
The botanical gardens can be best described as cute, being more of a personal plant collection in a large back garden, but while it was small it marked an enjoyable start to the day and as I’d already done a good days walk to get there the change of pace was nice. We both particularly enjoyed the butterfly house and I got some great pictures!
We then decided to pop into the centre to pickup a picnic lunch from M&S (selling all my UK favourite foods) which we munched on a bench overlooking the canals.
I really fancied walking along the river Amstel, which Steph explained is how Amsterdam got it’s name. Amsterdam being located at the Dam of the river Amstel or Amstel-dam. It was a good choice, the river is very majestic and walking along it’s banks is much more relaxing than coping with the canal walks, which have many many more road crossings. We walked as far as the Waternet office block. Steph was delighted to discover that this was the location of one of the few green roof projects in the city that she is studying, so she got a good picture. In the picture below I’m sitting with my back to those offices looking out at a basin where the river joins with several other waterways. As is always the case we had a great chat, ranging from discussing her options for a job or PhD, the merits of principles over laws, the pros and cons of a green roof and much more.
We then swapped river banks and walked back towards central Amsterdam, stopping off at Steph’s University campus, where I got the tour of the place which is very modern and ‘yellow’. After a short relax on another of Steph’s favourite benches we parted ways, Steph going to a meeting on her current project and me heading back to the hotel on foot, via M&S for more supplies. Steph is going for a birthday meal at a Japanese restaurant with her friends later, Japanese food = lucky escape for me!
I’m writing this in the hotel, well fed, with my feet freed of the blister plasters that have kept them protected today, and looking forward to some good TV.