More of my photos from The Netherlands


The Netherlands Archives

August 16, 2006

morning on the canals

i woke up late this morning on my friend jeremy's sofa, listening to the sounds of the street outside and watching the sun filter through the drapes.

i arrived in amsterdam yesterday afternoon on a flight from hungary (which turned out to be 30 hours shorter, and US$100 less than taking the train from budapest) and quickly met up with jeremy for my initial orientation around the city.

this morning i was quickly issued a bicycle from a local bicycle-rental program, and were off shopping in outdoor markets for food and other necessities.

the bicycle facilities in this city are AMAZING, and far superior to those of any other country. i thought san francisco had great support for bicyclists, but it's a pale shadow of the bike lanes and ease of use in amsterdam. it reminds me a lot of the quote purportedly from steve jobs that cities would be designed around the segway. Amsterdam has done this, it's just for the much-more-affordable and healthy bicycle instead.

August 17, 2006

off to lowlands

dear reader, i'm afraid you'll have to wait a few days for my action-packed on-the-scene reports from prague, budapest, and amsterdam. you see, i have a 3-day ticket for the sold-out lowlands festival here in holland, and i'm running out the door with a backpack filled with some clothes, a toothbrush, 12 half-liter cans of grolsch beer, and a hat.

my excellent host here in amsterdam, jeremy, is to blame for all of this. it should be three days of non-stop bands, music fans from across europe, and the madness of music festival camping. ok, gotta run now or i'll miss my train!

August 21, 2006

lowlands wrapup

after my hasty journey to the lowlands festival with jeremy on thursday evening, with my 40 euros of camping equipment (not bad for a new tent, sleeping bag, and air mattress!) in hand, i traded in my euros for plastic "tokens", we spent 3 nights and 3 days of camping in the densely packed campground, meeting random festival neighbors, and seeing lots of bands (along with the occasional side trip to neighboring walibi world to ride roller coasters between seeing bands at lowlands). i hadn't been to a european music festival since roskilde several years ago, and was definitely looking forward to lowlands. for those of you who haven't been to one, there is no experience like a european music festival, and i highly recommend going to one.

one thing to know about lowlands is that's it's a very dutch festival (at least until it was featured in a recent copy of the NME. because it's not absolutely saturated with people visiting from other countries on the festival circuit (oh wait, i'm from another country too -- ah, the contradictions of independent travelling!), it's also just a good chance to see how the youth of the netherlands enjoy themselves.

the one thing that truly shocked me at the festival was how well behaved people were. the minimum festival entrance age was 16, which is also the age when you can buy alcohol and do just about anything else permissible in holland, and yet there were no kids passed out, no dangerously out-of-control behavior (at least none that i saw). i've seen more antisocial behavior in one day of daily life in some other countries than i saw in the entire lowlands festival.

zero 7, dj shadow, placebo, and the various DJs present (including the mystery mashup dj who also was cooking a traditional dutch dish while playing music) all put on great performances. however, my absolute favorite of the show was seeing massive attack perform live, complete with liz fraser of the cocteau twins to do the vocals for teardrop (arguably their best song). fantastic lighting, artists in peak shape, and just a sublime experience overall.

after this musical feast, the arrival of rain on the 3rd day was pretty unwelcome, especially when tents began to collapse into the mud. so we packed up our gear and hightailed it back to amsterdam before all the bands had finished playing and enjoyed the comfort of having a roof over our heads and not having to pay for everything in small pieces of plastic. and that's the story of my lowlands festival experience!

August 23, 2006

a day in amsterdam

after enjoying my friend jeremy's hospitality for the last week, i'm packing up to leave the netherlands and move on to visit jason and azure in cambridge, england. but before i leave, i wanted to document what a typical day in amsterdam has been for me.

waking up in sunlight on the sofa late in the day (the distinctions between weekday versus weekend days are irrelevant for both of us at this point in time, since jeremy's on vacation during the summer), and then the delicious smells of freshly-made cappuccinos and jeremy's dutch breakfasts, each day being a different breakfast (the american/dutch/mexican crossover huevos rancheros being my personal favorite).

afternoons are spent walking (or better yet, bicycling) around the canals and streets of the city (jeremy issued me a city rental bike almost immediately after i arrived), picking up necessities at the outdoor market or at albert heijn,
just cruising around town to see the sights, meeting new friends, or having lengthy chats over delicious dinners (i recommend the crispy duck quite highly), and staying out late enjoying the nightlife.

visiting a city where a can stay with friends makes such a difference -- it's a total contrast to the usual "tourist" itinerary, and i can't say i've seen any historic sights or museums, but i've gotten a small taste of what it's like to live in amsterdam, and i have to say my visit here and to the lowlands festival has been one of the best parts of the trip. it's hard to contemplate leaving here today for england, but luckily i've got good friends i'll be staying with there as well, and change is good, so off i go to england.

About The Netherlands

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to gone living in the The Netherlands category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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