Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's snowing in Amsterdam

Snow on bicycles, Amsterdam. iPhone photo.

Well. From the sunny summer Botanic Gardens in Sydney, to Amsterdam in the middle of a snowfall is a bit of a jump, but that's where I find myself right now. I'm currently sitting in the cafe at FOAM photography museum in Amsterdam, sipping nice warm coffee while snow falls heavily outside. There's a flight of stairs climbing past the window next to me, and I'm watching it mound up with piles of feathery white snow flakes. Walking down here from our hotel, M and I also became walking mounds of snow, and had to pause at the entrance and de-mound ourselves, lest we end up streaming with icy water the instant we walked into the warm.

I'm enjoying the snow, but I still find it deeply weird. Think about it - feathery ice drifting down from the sky - how odd is that! And even odder is the idea that people voluntarily choose to live in places where it gets cold enough for this to happen regularly. Weirdoes!

The strangeness of snow aside, I've really enjoyed Amsterdam. It's very different to Sydney, of course. You can see the strata of the city's centuries in the houses and canals, as ech generation inhabits the city and adds and remove bits to create their own landscapes. The 16th century mingles happily with the 17th and 18th, while sleek and edgy additions from the 21st try to edge out dated-looking scraps from the 20th.

Unlike London, though, this commingling of past and present doesn't seem to have mired its population in the past, nor has living in each others' pockets made them perpetually angry and withdrawn. I like it.

Of course, there are reams of photographs, but unfortunately, I can't actually upload any! My poor little netbook is too slow to manage a photo editing program, and has too little memory to store the pictures. So you're all stuck with iPhone photos until I get home. I've been making a lot of film images this trip as well, with a little camera I put together from a kit - but it will probably be even longer before those see the light of day, given my backlog of negatives that need scanning!

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