Sunday, 16 August 2015

Four Hours in Amsterdam

Between flights I lock my bag somewhere in depths of Schiphol Airport and take a yellow and blue train to the centre. The outlines of thousands of passengers are worn into the fabric of the seats, leaving a faded silhouette in the centre of each one. The train is well used and unglamorous, but seems to work to everyone’s satisfaction. I’ve changed planes here many times before, but never made it outside, beyond the concourse, the duty free shops and the sense that you should be queuing somewhere.

As I get off the train I think seeing the river might be nice, but the waterfront next to Amsterdam Centraal station is all function and no fun, squashed between the road and the water it's either a ferry ramp or under construction. I barely avoid being run over by rushing bicycles before walking around the station and heading south into the canals and old streets, some of which are frighteningly narrow. With cars parked on the railing-less canal edge there is just enough room for another car to squeeze past, if you step aside and find refuge amongst the locked bikes.