Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring, and Going 'East':

Later this year I am going to Hong Kong, which is located in China. Having never been further east of HungaryBudapest, to be precise–I am very excited to step foot on another unfamiliar portion of the world. Everything is unfamiliar when far away from home. After Hong Kong, it's onwards to Singapore. Where I'll be staying at the Marina Bay Sands, the world's most expensive hotel genesis ever, at just over $8 billion. (Update, January 2014: I ended up staying at the fabulous Wanderlust, located in Singapore's 'Little India'.) The whole journey from Europe to Asia, and the 12 hour long flights that it at times entails, should prove their worth through the highly rewarding enrichment the trip will offer up. Asia, here I come. A bit early this year, in July, I'll be going to Italy. To Positano, to be exact–where I'll be sipping limoncello on the beach and laying in the sun all day, rounding the evenings off by engulfing endless amounts of lasagna or other lekker Italian dishes and delectables. Italy, here I come.

But even until then, Amsterdam continues to enchant and delight. Rendering no need for an Italian or Asian get away just yet. Spring has finally arrived, here in Amsterdam. The sun has finally returned.

Every year I assume the sunlight will never return to this city on the North Sea. Yet every year it does. The dark days of November-March leave space for the imagination to take hold during those days' lack of light. The clock springs forward at the end of March, and during April the sun quickly rises in the pastel filled springtime sky. Every day the sun creeps just a bit higher; every night the light lingers for just a little longer. The trees in Amsterdam are droopy. Their branches heavy and stressed from the countless showers the city has experienced over the last month. All vegetation along the city's canals and in city's the park appear luscious and endlessly shaded with lighthearted hues of bright yellow and light green. As if on the edge of an orgasm, the city's trees and flowers are on the verge of coming into bloom.

The façades of the centuries-old townhouses lining Amsterdam's inner city canals are all still visible, as the trees standing just meters away, don't yet have their leaves. However, in only a few weeks, once those same trees have burst and bloomed, those same façades will disappear, and the image of happy boaters floating down canals will once again take hold of the city stroller's eye. Amsterdam's buildings are beautiful in winter, because they're exposed; its canals are stunning in summer, because they're brimming, with life.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Midnight Roadworks in Amsterdam:

The roads of Amsterdam are constantly being ripped-up, re-organized, and re-paved. Last night, around midnight, after cycling home from Westerpark, I spotted the city's newest roadworks, at the intersection of Mauritskade and Zeeburgerstraat.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Rijksmuseum Returns!

On Friday April 12, 2013 the Rijksmuseum of the Netherlands, after an extended period of dormancy, reopened its doors to a select group of Dutch citizens, and their friends) for a special 'preview' evening. Completing the festivities was an oversized flower tower (it was at least 3 m tall and fabulously fragrant), copious amounts of wine and champagne, and a nearly empty brand-new museum, for the other and I to explore. The highlights of the early evening hours were the Rembrandt's, Johannes Vermeer's, and Hendrick Avercamp's. While slightly later in the evening, after a few wines, my highlight was inhabiting the same gallery space as Li Edelkoort. She was, perhaps, a meter away. Any other time I would have extended a hand, said hello, and started to chat. But on this night, this very special night, the museum's private visitors were 'amongst friends'. Anyone who is anyone within the Dutch cultural scene was there, Irma Boom included. The tiny booklets she designed for the reopened museum reflect its refined content and redesigned home: simple, yet elegant.

Monday, April 15, 2013