ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Amsterdam in the Snow

Work takes me to Amsterdam for a couple of days, so I decide to make a weekend of it as I haven't been for over a decade. I first visited in the '80s when I was a photography nazi - I only shot in black and white which I developed and printed myself.

My how times and technology have changed. I can upload things to share in minutes, no sweating over a hot developer in the dark room for hours, luckily. Life moves on a pace and I have no time for that kind of malarkey any more.


Other things have changed too like the coffee shops. There were a hand full in those days - furtive places, where you were never quite sure if it really was OK or not (it was,but... paranoia). Now there's one or more on every street and frankly there's no need to go in, the whole of central Amsterdam wafts with weed. I'm pretty sure if you stood in the right door ways for long enough, you'd save yourself a bundle. Less fun, clearly, but cheaper. Unfortunately this means the city is full of British tourists. I do try to avoid my countrymen and women as much as possible these days. Curmudgeon is my middle name.

The Van Gogh Museum is closed for refurbishment just now, but the entire collection is on display at the Hermitage Museum, which my new local poet friend and guide for the weekend told me was until recently the world's oldest old people's home. Don't let that put you off, it's lovely and the Van Gogh's are a joy. Here you will find The Potato Eaters, his bedroom, one of the Sunflowers, some Irises, lots of blossom, and portraits and on and on. Brilliant in all their jewels colours.

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