23 March 2012

Amsterdam by Boat, Revisited

I was shocked at the superficiality of my description of the splendid tour of Amsterdam that Edward gave me in his little boat last August, and now that i have access to dozens more photos, i’ll add some details.

I spent all afternoon laboriously tracing the route Edward took, going back and forth between detail maps and getting the names of all the canals right, throwing in links to information on the Internet and adding new photos. Fortunately, i made a mistake before i had saved my work, and it all vanished. As i hacked around trying to get it back i realized that there was probably not a single other person on the planet who would have been in the least interested in my detailed reconstruction of the route, so luckily you are spared that.

Instead, i’ll give you a mercifully brief summary and a couple of the pics. Edward took us in a great loop to the east to the mouth of the Rijnkanal and around the end of Borneo Eiland, a new housing development with which i’d been fascinated since he’d showed it to me several years ago. The front doors open onto Scheepstimmermanstraat for pedestrian access, but here’s a shot of the back sides:

 

behind Scheepstimmermanstraat

 

From there we went back west past Java Eiland and then south past Nemo, Renzo Piano’s spectacular interactive science museum

Nemo

 

and then on through the Entrepôtdok under the Nijlpaardenbrug, one of my favorite bridges in Amsterdam although i somehow doubt that there were ever very many Nile horses in the city. (Hint: the ancient Greeks called them ‘river horses’.)

Nijlpaardenbrug

From there, through the Prinsengracht and out by the Westerdok across the IJ to a little cafe, where Bobo de Tweede, Edward’s little dog, even more lovable than his predecessor, frolicked from table to table, graciously receiving the adulation of his subjects while Edward and i sipped a couple of biertjes and nibbled at a plate of bitterballen.

And then back across the IJ and through the Herengracht around to the secret little southern entrance to the Oudezijds gracht and thence to Edward’s doorstep.

And here’s the totally relaxed captain, pilot, and navigator. One tough sailor. What we don’t see in this pic is the cowering photographer – dressed in heavy long pants, two shirts, and a jacket – whimpering when a few drops of cold spray off the IJ gets on him and nervously calculating the distance to the closest land.

The Captain

Well, see, it wasn’t just us tiny little city craft out there:

The Black Freighter

And i could just tell from their body language that once they’d swamped us, they’d have some sport chunking things at our bobbing heads.

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