Amsterdam, like its newer ex-namesake New York, is a city that invites walking … and walking and walking. When I first visited NYNY in 1988, I left the Chelsea Hotel each morning by 9, grabbed cawfee and donuts, and then pounded the pavements until I sat down for a proper meal between 10pm and 1 am, and then did it all over again the next day and the next for over a week.
This morning I had a 10am coffee audience with my friend Alfred, who I hadn’t seen since Bondi and I came here in 2005. The 2km walk to his new penthouse apartment in the World Fashion zone was an excellent opportunity to stretch Munson’s legs and get his ablutions out of the way for the day.
About half the walk was through Rembrandtpark, giving Munson a great burst of green space to sniff and let his eye wander to every dog and duck.
Alfred was in fine form, showing us around his new apartment. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I’d done a Google streetview of the building before arriving so that I would recognise my destination on arrival, and saw that the place looked like a construction site with cement mixers everywhere. Checking in with him yesterday on this matter he revealed that he and his husband had been living inside one of these mixers for a year and a half. It sounded rather gritty but I thought it would at least give them something concrete to build from.
When Munson and I boarded the “industrially themed” elevator I remembered that one of the Netherlands’ most famous horror films was called De lift. The horrific element for most Dutch was the nosebleeding experience of being taken one floor or more above ground level. I believe it was the film 2012 which prompted Alfred to move out of his 4th floor apartment of 19 years to a 6th floor apartment that would actually be above sea level.
After a few hours we left Alfred to his sweeping views of of the submarine city and headed back towards the city centre via the Vondelpark. It’s a very busy place and I’m sure I’m not the first of its ten million annual visitors to have to dodge a businessman riding a bicycle hands-free while clipping his fingernails.
By the time we’d zig-zagged through streets, parks and over canals to Alfred’s and returned to Centrum, we’d already covered 5-6km so it was time for another coffee break. Munson was free to enter every shop I wanted to visit, and it was rather sweet to see not only proprietors but other customers providing treats or fetching water for him. It was a small triumph for me being able to take him into Waterstones book store as their British parent forbid it in the UK.
|On my last visit to Amsterdam, a number of the ladies in the red light district emerged from their windows to say hello to Bondi. This time they weren’t so forthcoming but Munson did spot a pussy in one of the windows there: |
|We got about as far as Centraal station before turning back to Arno & Martin’s house. While I worked out how much distance we’d covered (at least 13km) Munson crashed out for an hour or two, his eyes very soon twitching in REM sleep.|