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This blog is named after one of my poems. Even thought its not the best of the lot, I just fell in love with those words- The Psyche Unknown...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life in Netherlands-Amsterdam-A walk of a lifetime!

I didn't think I would post about Amsterdam so soon.. but yeah, today right after being back and even though every muscle of mine is refusing to work after going for 2 days with little sleep, I still want to write this down. The magic word is Amsterdam! The name never meant much to me before, I never understood why people always went ga-ga about it.. But today I realised it. Whatever the others may perceive about Amsterdam, one cannot ignore the pulse throbbing in the heart of the city. Absolutely scintillating to walk down amidst hundreds of people in those bi-lanes of Central Amsterdam.

Unlike Delft, its not calm, green or peaceful but has all the crowd, the traffic, the old buildings sticking to each other along with the canals n boats! A typical European city that complains of traffic and trams..It was such a change from the university's serene surroundings. And I was surprised I liked it! May be it was too long since I saw that kind of madness..:)
Every step I took today(and let me tell you I took lots, I didn't realise the time or where I was headed to) was so gratifying! After the helicopter simulation session in NLR, (its the National Aerospace Laboratories in dutch) Dion helped me sneak through the gates as I didn't have my OV chip like he did. ;) Mike and Robin were also helpful enough to show me the way out of Sloterdijk and the tram stop. I began self exploring the city and it felt wonderful.

I lingered out of the central station finding information in the tourist info counter.. Nothing suited my budget or time so I just set out exploring by myself.. and that was a super decision taken I must say..
Waving in and out, the cobblestone road holding the most eccentric shops I have ever seen in my life unfolded itself with intricate glass chandeliers hanging above a s a part of the christmas celebrations..yeah its started a month in advance!

Some magnificent clothing and accessory display on either side with variety of cuisines lined up next to each other, your eyes just don't get enough of it. Be it "Vijaya Restaurant-Best curries in town" :D or the Argentinian hotels, even the Venezuelan cafe, they all stood so calmly hand in hand adding to the glamour of the streets.. Countless coffee shopsplaced all over..phew, initially the excited me took a picture of almost every coffee shop (that looked quite different from the other) along the way.. But I had to stop it.. they rack up innumerous on either side of the roads and every small lane you turn into!
(I hope you realise I wasn't taking pictures of "coffee" shops.. :D For those who don't know, coffee shops are the places where you can roll up ANY joint you want! Its all legal here! ;))

Then there were roads n roads of impregnable beer shops and wine shops lined so glorious, I just couldn't help remembering Vipin at that time.. :P Took few special pics just so that I can mess around with him(Amsterdam is his dream destination!) :D And of course a thousand casinos and gambling centres all over!

As I moved along, even without realizing, I was in front of Madam Tussuad's. Well, it was almost closing time and I dint want to go in at that time wasting money. Instead I hovered around there and my my! that's some city square.. Bustling with life, activities, tourists and hundreds of pigeons flying upto you nonchalantly.... Literally you could feel a positive spirit oozing out of everything there..The best part in that square(though it may sound silly) was the masked men pretending to be straight out of scary movie. It was quite appealing(I know, I'm weird). I just loved those three guys brandishing swords and silver axes!

I was just savouring the view in the middle of the square when I read a board called Amsterdam Diamond Society.. I started walking towards it and lo! there were diamonds on display.. All kinds, colors and sizes.. Diamond studded watches, brands like Gucci and Rolex made me dizzy.. I was swearing to myself all along! I decided the first thing I'd do when I have a job and a constant inflow of currency was to buy one of these Gucci watches!

And what was that above? Diamonds- wholesale-tax free??!! Like ads in India for rice and wheat grains?! That struck me.. A factory?! What are these people into???

I walked, I walked till I could no longer walk and found a lot of gift shops, coffee shops, flower shops, coffee shops, cheese shops, coffee shops, wine bars, coffee shops, and ah ha! finally tulips!(and of course coffee shops! :P :D) had never seen tulips since I arrived here.. Its the national flower of NL if you don't know! A long winding street full of multi-colored tulips- buds, full bloomed ones and plants which are yet to be sown in the soil!All for sale! Loved the flowers for once!

After another hour of exploring, taking tens of pictures, admiring the art(grafitti on walls-you find lots of it) I was trying to locate the way back to central station. I dunno how, may be the magic of Amsterdam just got me to Tussuad's again. Had never felt happier in Netherlands before.. Don't ask me why or for what. I received a message from Sniggy and I had to call.. I was missing her! Poor thing, bitten by a dog, she must have been wanting some empathy from me but all I could shout out was "I am in Amsterdam, I am in Amsterdam..In front of Madam Tussad's!!" This never was a dream destination or anything, but I was literally screaming into the phone... I wanted her there with me.. :) Again don't ask me why.. It sometimes is beyond explanations you know.. Probably you have felt it too at one point or another in relation to a particular person..

After all this I had to return back..It was getting late and I grudgingly was heading towards the station. Even in the train, my head was filled with the walk through Amsterdam.. I must have coverd a major chunk of it.. Cos' I remember seeing the museumplein and the other museums on tram quite behind and I saw them while I walked too! :)
So many more things I want to say, so many things I saw, I felt...the darker side of Amsterdam..but I don't want to create an impression on the first go! I'd explore more again and then add that up in some other related posts..

Hard fought for sleep and a minor accident the previous day, coupled with all the walking today, My legs refused to carry me home from the Delft station. It was drudgery.. But I loved it.. I was elated. I still am.. I repeated the same story with Vignesh too just now! (The "I was in Amsterdam, I was in Amsterdam.." thingy..)May be I should stop before people throw things at me.
I have always been this way. I feel things others just can't see.. and vice versa...May be if you go there you wouldn't find it all this exhilarating, but its all in the way of how you perceive it you know..;) I reached my room and here I am writing down with droopy eyes and sore feet.. I'd better pay some attention to it. Thanks to few others, I realized what a dumbass I've been in certain matters.. Got truckloads to handle before tomorrow can come to an end! :( God, Can't just one day be perfect?

Anyways, I absolutely loved the place.. Truly worth visiting, and what? I haven't gone into the depths of the city yet! People find Amsterdam attractive for all the "legalized reasons", whatever they say, but I'd say Go Amsterdam! Go Vibe!!



Ann said...

Yes! it felt lik i walked right beside u :) d pictures fueled my imagination too :)
ur blogging style has gotten very professional... yet it remains light n spunky! kudos!!
great job!! :)

snigdha said...

hey sweetie!! i remember the moment too!! n enjoyed n felt as happy at tat moment as u did!! n ur writing is very very gud nw!!:)

aeroyogi said...

gee.. tank ooo ann n snig.. wwaaahh! i wish u guys were here! :(