This is a random shot I made in Amsterdam while walking around in the rain. It got me thinking about some general differences between the European and North American people.
In northern climates there’s no avoiding the rain. What strikes me is the commitment of europeans to using bikes. It’s one thing to ride a bike on a sunny day, but cold and rainy weather is another thing. I’d rather not ride in the rain, in North America its too dangerous and we don’t have many bike lanes.
Not so here in Amsterdam; there are as many bike lanes as roads and people are committed to this as a primary mode of transport, even in the cold and rain.
While I was walking around in near freezing weather I wore mittens and a scarf, yet I saw people riding without gloves and sometimes more than a little skin exposed. So using bikes here is a commitment beyond just fair weather riding. That’s not something that even occurred to me until I saw it for myself.
I suppose that because so many europeans use bikes, riding in the cold is normal. I think we North Americans can learn from that. It’s not so bad when if we just get on board with the idea.
The other thing that struck me was that folks here are in good shape. They’re burning calories not only from riding but by staying warm. Of course our bodies use energy just to maintain body heat when its cold.
Anyway, this is a long winded post about people and bikes. Not sure why I got off on such a tangent. I guess I was impressed by europeans and their preferred mode of transport. From that one little thing you can learn something about a people and their culture. I think we could use a dash of that here in North America. That’s my 2 cents on the subject.
The main train station is known as Amsterdam Centraal, and it was one of the first places I walked to when I arrived from Florida. I was here for the opening of the BTP exhibition and this is where I caught the train to Harderwijk the next day. But as I was still on North American time, I was up late into the night walking around the central district with my camera and tripod.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by how many people were out that night walking around the city, to my foreign eyes it was magical, everything I hoped it would be and more.
Here I stood on a bridge and captured the train station over the still water of the canal. This is a long exposure three image panorama. As I was taking this I had several people come by and comment on the picture showing on the display at the back of my camera.
Actually there were great sights all around me and I was a little like a kid in a candy shop. I’d walk around the canal shooting images in every direction. Finally around two in the morning the long flight started to catchup to me so I headed back. However, even as I walked away rest of Amsterdam showed no signs of slowing down.
This is one of my first impressions of Amsterdam. I arrived a couple of days ago for the opening of the Best Top Photographer exhibition. As soon as I got to the hotel I was out walking around the central section of the city. For some reason I had it in my mind that it was cold and not many people would be out. I’m obviously not from around here. There was a light rain but no wind and everyone was out enjoying themselves as though it was a summer evening.
That was awesome to see, so much going on, so many people outside, walking, biking, …whatever. It’s nice to be in a place where people still know how to have fun. Someone told me last night about a saying from Iceland, that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.
For someone just stepping off a plane from the states and on to the streets of Amsterdam, the one thing I would mention is to stay out of the bike lanes. The bike lanes are highways and if you’re not from around here you could be in for a surprise. Bikes are the main source of transportation and they’re everywhere, no exaggeration, everywhere.
Anyway, after a long flight from Florida, walking around the central district on a Saturday night was just what I needed. About an hour past midnight I made it back to my hotel, but the city kept on buzzing late into the night. It was a good first impression.