Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stalking Putin in Amsterdam...

If there's one thing I love about Germany, it's the frequent national holidays. Unlike in the US, people (often by law) actually take the day off. Yes, we had another one last Tuesday, so a group from church decided to take a day-trip to Amsterdam!

Guess who happened to be there... no, not Constantine. Vladimir Putin!! Though I didn't see him clearly, I saw a little silhouetto of a man in a limo, and I think it was him. By the time we made it to the central square, where he was placing roses on a memorial statue, he was gone! We'd missed him by three minutes. Three minutes. A little later, when we saw his procession of cars and delegates outside of a fancy schmancy restaurant, we waited, but again to no avail. Ah well. I'm not that disaapointed... Tony Blair (sorry Vladimir!) is still my international political crush.

The main thing we did was take a little boatride through the city canals. It was absolutely beautiful, and fascinating as well. There are about two thousand houseboats in Amsterdam... people simply dock their boats right in the canals. Quite a few of the houseboats even had gates on the docks, numbers and mailboxes.

As we were floating through a smaller canal, I noticed that a window in one of the houseboats was open, and you could see in. There was a lady, sitting in her little houseboat, typing away on a laptop computer! I don't know why I got such a kick out of that... maybe because it was a classic Europe sight... quaint simplicity meets technology/modernity.

Though we had a good time, I don't think I'd go to Amsterdam again. Yes, the canals were lovely, but I really didn't like the city that much. It's the type of place you should visit if you have the chance, as it's so famous... but it's really not that impressive. The ambiance was a little uncomfortable for me as well... though we left in the late afternoon, the city night life was already starting to awaken. Let's just leave it at this: I could easily launch into a feminist rant, but I won't.

Ah, Berlin... still my favourite city in the world!

No comments: