Travelling is always on my mind. Wherever I am, my spirit floats like a boat, wandering sails I am. My senses come alive.
The Human race, we are miniature and often helpless, invisible when up against the colossal subsistence of nature. Likened to an amazing piece of artwork. Hence, the Flemish painters of Romanticism portraying the unyielding sea and the stormy sky in contradiction to the minute human figures, powerless in the face of merciless nature.
I cannot get enough of discovering new cities. I leave a part of me in every city my feet touch the ground. An exchange happens, mentally, culturally and linguistically and I always take a part with me in spirit, I return a now retailored being.
In Amsterdam, it seems people travel for the freeing of their souls. Freedom comes with you en route to the part of the world you came from. There are no secrets and no restrictions.
It is as if there is no authority or prohibition. Everything is on you. Your curiosity goes as far asyou go, from the unknown to the known, in a different ambience.
The city will not forbid anything you do. When in Amsterdam, you play with your own limits.
Does one match up to the average Dutchman? Self restraint?.We always want what we cannot have this is the affliction of human nature.
Whilst engaging in a debate with an Italian man and a Dominican man. I realise bars are the perfect places for anthropological philosophy. We are talking about whether a law needs to set limits for people or is a man a law unto himself? Man is the measure of all things.
Amsterdam holds this to heart. Many of those who come here are adept to the city, and it is evident. Despite us tourists, I refer to the people who live and work there. From all sides, all colours and all faiths.
I always thought, only the average person, whose personal integrity is in question, could think that immigration would taint a city, much less like Amsterdam, Belgrade or Barcelona. I would say immigration makes a city more natural, less sterile and more lifelike.
It is like a beautiful big house, you are closed off from people, decorating, refreshing and enjoying themselves with what they think belongs to them, the visible flaw. Small town and small-minded people are subjected to xenophobia differently. They are often thinking of the ruin, a supposed concept created by the natives. Great cities and great people open the door and extend their hands to help.
The city is constructed on canals dated back to the 17th century, framed by a huge wall to protect it, engulfed from the troubled sea and cloudy surroundings. Plethoric with colourful architecture and low rise buildings presuming this is because of the humidity, cold and ardor. It is a bicycle town, the most common form of transport. It made an excellent impression on me, the absolute opposite of congested traffic, hardly any cars with self confident cyclists striding along fast in a city ride. Flails, cycling with or without friends and I reiterate, lots of bicycles parked on every step.
Philosophy and art, is what marks Amsterdam. There lived in Dekart, Spinoza, Rembrant … Ana Frank also lived here, but the house where she hid with her family was almost impossible to visit. I did not buy a ticket beforehand, so it will have to wait for me until next time.
My experience with the cultural heritage of the city were two museums, one of them being Rijksmuseum and of course Van Gogh.
Rijks is a large national museum where it is particularly worth looking at, the opus of the golden period of Dutch painting, among many other Rembrant’s portraits and his great, huge Night Watch. There is also a wonderful Vermer in a modest display of middle-aged life but with only three of his works. In Rijks, you need to go to see Baroque and get to know the Golden Age of Dutch painting.
And the Van Gogh Museum, a great essence of his art and stands out on its own. His huge self-portraits were created because maybe he did not have the funds to pay people, who would paint that dominant yellow colour that floats in his sunsets. As well as portraits, his asserted obsessions with nature and the village, and even as he lived in Monmartre fields. He once told his brother that he would like to be known as the sunflower painter, so it is so. He also painted when in a mental hospital with the same yellow shades, with his imagination in the fields of wheat that the harvest of a beetle saw had life or perhaps just death.