The (Experimental) Blog Of A Journalism Student: One week exactly
Ollie is an entrant in the 2012 “i am not a tourist” Expat Fair Blog Competition.
It would appear I have been in the Netherlands one week – has one week ever gone by so fast?
In just one week, I feel I have done/seen lots. I have settled in with my hosts, and I’d like to think things are going well so far. Thursday night, we went together to the beautifully named Tuschinski cinema. We saw a stage production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, live from the National Theatre in London. If there was any doubt at all as to whether they would fully convert me to theatre, I can say it’s too late.
Reading, watching and discussing Alan Bennett plays all week, the long debates about Shakespeare over lunch and that wonderful show I saw in the equally astonishing building have all managed to make of me a real theatre-lover. I’m looking forward to going back to the Tuschinski a great deal!
Yesterday, Friday, I had to go to an English bookshop in town to “Meet and Mingle”. The concept is slightly vague, but you basically show up and introduce yourself to a bunch of important-looking expats who “know people”. In my case, you try your best to charm your way into selling everyone your product.
Eager to do some PR/marketing, I set off for this meeting 30 minutes early. There was no way I was being late! Well I was, obviously. No one told me Lauriergracht is not the same thing as Looiersgracht, you see. Even with a map in my hands, I was never going to figure I was stubbornly going up and down the wrong canal looking for an English bookshop that wasn’t there.
After a while, I plucked up some Dutch courage (see what I did there?) and asked for directions. I was saved. Late, but on my way at last.
Today, I set off to explore the city after a late morning breakfast and a homemade cappuccino. First, I went with my host to a food market where we buy the fruit and vegetables from. It was amazing.
I love the idea that I’m now someone who is part of a theatre company, lives in Amsterdam and buys food at the Saturday markets. Yeah right Lili, dream on!
I then got on my beloved bike and cycled all the way to the flea market on Waterlooplein. God, I love that place!
The way to the square in absolutely stunning. I also made me happy that I found some of the
little café I had been to on my last trip here – as well as taking the same photos I took back then. Some things never change!
Despite my best efforts, I had to stop at all the little shops I found on the way. There was everything from vintage shops to shops selling old postcards and Dutch clogs.
These are little things I found at the flea market. I know at least one person who would kill for one of those long owl necklaces!
This is something else I found, locking my bike on the Rembrandtplein. I couldn’t believe it!
In case you were wondering what I was doing at the Rembrandtplein: getting into the spirit of Dutch culture and making the most of the sun was what I was doing.
Speculaas, cream, cream – and more cream
The next stop on the excursions of Little Lili was the bloemenmarkt (flower market). I found dangerous flowers, a shop called “The Magic Mushroom” (I wonder…) and more pretty grachten (canals). I’m sorry. I’m never going to stop taking photos of them. Amsterdam really is a photogenic city.
My final omleiding (detour) was, of course, Leidseplein. As it was Saturday night and I am still pretty much a lonely soul in this great cosmopolitan city, I thought I’d just sit out and enjoy the warm evening with a little Dutch drink. Yes, I did order this solely because it’s a wonderful word to pronounce in Dutch!
There were street entertainers, which was wicked. I saw people dance, play with fire and do funny things on a monocyle.
I’d say today was a success, for sure. I’m slightly more confident speaking Dutch and I’m starting to recognise places, find my way around – don’t know, that might me a lie.
I’m definitely improving on my bike too. I can do the real Dutch thing and get on my bike by first putting my foot on the pedal, slightly pushing with the other leg before lifting it over the saddle onto the other side. Skills!
In true, inspired, journo-style, I am typing this with my window wide open onto the roof terrace, looking out to planes going in and out of Schipol airport, gazing at the (star-less) sky… Goodness, I’m already a poet!
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