Last year, in autumn, I was in “New Amsterdam”, as they used to call New York. I didn’t even dream how similar is the energy of that city to this “old Amsterdam”, and how much that energy suits my own sensibility. You conquer some cities, while other cities simply enchant and seduce you. As love at first sight, breath, step, first bicycle ride. That is how Amsterdam conquered me…
How I came to love umbrellas and raincoats
There is a saying-similar is looking forward to similar, and as NLP coach (NLP-neurolinguistic programming) I learned both in theory and practice that when we recognize ourselves or something of our own in someone or something, sympathy and closeness happen instantly. When that coincidence and recognition gets to the higher lever, then it is not important anymore that climate here is like in London ( they are on similar geographic latitude), with rain which falls almost every day, excitedly unpredictable, because you never know when it is going to start raining and when it will stop. At the beginning, it disturbs your plans for sightseeing of this city, city which awakens all your senses. But then your own innate flexibility awakes and you adjust so easily, so that the sight of multicolored umbrellas and raincoats becomes one of your favorite, and you enjoy being part of that scenography and choreography yourself.
Riding a bicycle in Vondel Park
Amsterdam is home to about million inhabitants and twice that number of bicycles. To experience Amsterdam riding a bicycle is magic, and only then you can completely realize the charm of this city because the bikers are true rulers of the streets of Amsterdam and all other traffic users adapt to them. That fact, I must admit, drove me away from the idea of riding a bike through the city, but I was riding around the block where my Amsterdam home was and in nearby park, like a little girl who just learned to ride a bike. And it was not just any park; it was a fairy tale park, as if it just came out of the story about Sleeping beauty. How lucky are people who live near that beautiful place, as I was happy myself for those couple of days while I was here. That park used to be named New Park, but it was renamed later into Vondel Park, by Joost van den Vondel, poet and drama writer. It is arranged so that everyone can find something for himself, and there you can really recharge your energy, ready to fully take in every breath …of your own life.
Van Gogh-life passion
“With every new experience, you paint your own painting, thought by thought, choice by choice”. Oprah Winfrey
I chose on my very first day in Amsterdam to visit Van Gogh museum, carried away by the thought to fulfill my purpose in life and impulse to find a way to express everything that I carry in my soul. In my apartment I have reproduction of his picture, famous “ Sunflowers” at home, they are my everyday inspiration. He said that while he was painting them he simply wanted to catch that fire, flame, blaze… and I completely understood his intention. I became conscious what means fire of life and passion for life and how to transform that into art. The museum carefully preserves most of his famous and less famous works, sketches and paintings, as well as letters which he wrote mostly to his brother Theo. Reading them, one can understand what he has been going through, while painting his master pieces. I nourished once more artistic side of my personality by visiting Rembrandt’s house, regretting that I could not be the pupil of this comprehensive artist, collectioner, drawing-master and explorer in making and mixing paints.
Visiting Madame Tussauds
In Amsterdam, one of main tourist attractions is house of Jewish girl, Anna Frank, who described in her famous Diary agony of life and hiding in an attic during World War II. This house is a museum now, and if you want to visit it you must book tickets months in advance. So, unfortunately, for me, visit was finished in front of the door. But I still found out how her hiding place looked like, in Madam Tussauds museum, which is placed on main square-Dam. In this museum, you can also find out many interesting things about famous people worldwide, but also people from Holland. Not only you can enjoy yourself in the museum itself, but looking from huge oval window, you can enjoy wonderful view on the main square, feeling the lively atmosphere of this capital.
Cannabis and red lights
In casual walk, near Dam square, my road took me into narrow streets, where there was unbelievable crowd and mass of people, who were walking slowly, who were stopping every now and then. It didn’t take me long to understand that I have found myself in a well-known district, named after dominant color of the lights. Walking through such controversy surrounding, many feelings and emotions mixed in my head, ending up in understanding. I understood that sincerity and openness, as well as showing things as they truly are, won in this city. It won over hypocrisy that was rooted, and stayed rooted in other places. Since Amsterdam cherishes the tradition of museums, I was not surprised to see museum of prostitution and museum of cannabis. Since some stuff was legalized, there was no euphoria about it. And therefore, specific and intoxicating scent of smoke all around you on the streets usually comes from great number of tourists who use this kind of freedom abundantly.
“There are thousands of canals through which beauty of your soul can float, past your thoughts. Above all those canals, you will recognize one fantastic, central canal, canal of love.”
Amsterdam consist of 90 islands, connected with over 1500 bridges and canal system which goes in concentric half-circles and that why it is considered one of the first planned cities in Europe. Because of those numerous canals Amsterdam is also called Venice of the North. Riding in a boat while sightseeing is something one should not miss, and one of the attractions is so called “Thin bridge” (Magere Brug) over Amstel river (famous beer is named after it). It was named like that because at the time when it was built it was the thinnest bridge.
On the only sunny day of my stay in Amsterdam, I reached by boat the island across main railway station. On this island, there is a building 100 m high and on the top of it there is a swing, on the very edge of the building (those who know me, know how much I love rooftops). The pleasure of swinging was filled with adrenaline, completed with enchanting view on the whole city of Amsterdam and its surroundings, on fluffy clouds, and the view stretched all the way to the North Sea, whose land was “stolen” by these extraordinary people.
Tulips and sunflowers, rain and sun, art and adrenalin, imagination and cruel reality, riding a bike and walking, classic and avant-garde… Amsterdam is the most perfect city of contrast which encourages and inspires two strongest parts of my personality-romantic one and extreme one, because I am the mixture of that myself. The city, where I will surely return, for inspiration, encouragement, amazing feeling of true freedom, because, the exchange between us has just started. I Amsterdam.