What a City! Like Venice “floating” on water. Like Venice it’s distorted reflections on water, windows and all shiny surfaces arrested me. Like in other European cities the blending of old and new and the respect for history imbedded in architecture and the layout of the city, fills me with awe. Awe for the human intellect that first of all created these structures so many centuries before. And even more impressive, the understanding and validation of what was created in the past, through sensitive restoration. Sensitive in that the “look” and feel of the past is retained in buildings where the original function has been adapted to new uses. Modern, spacious interiors was created in some historical buildings, yes, but the exteriors have been kept intact. Oh, why could we not adopt that same ethos in South African cities!
Another reason for awe, is the harmonious blending of these architectural structures and the nature given element of Water. The grachte (canals) with their magical distorted reflections! It is to get drunk on. As my camera did. But that is not the only harmony in Amsterdam that turned my short visit of one week into such a travel highlight. The courteous and friendly treatment by 100 percent of the shop owners, gallery assistants; the fluid interaction between cyclists and pedestrians. Indeed, the tenacity too of these cyclists – mothers and small children on bicycles with shopping bags all stacked on two wheels. And still friendly when a thoughtless tourist wanders erroneously into a bicycle lane! Amsterdam, Holland I cannot wait to return!