I’m all packed to leave Amsterdam tomorrow en-route to Brussels, but Ive got one more show tonight! I’ve had a lovely long weekend here, made some awesome friends, played more music than I’m used to, my fingers are ripped up but my heart is happy. I’m delighted to have been one of the first Artists-In-Residence at StayOkay Hostels in Amsterdam, and I played music in the hostel bar every night for a few hours in exchange for my room. Hoping to help them grow this program as much as they’d like over time, as it was an amazing opportunity to share art as well as explore the artistic free-thinking Mecca of sorts that Amsterdam has become.
The first few nights I stayed in Vondelpark, which I loved immensely. Having a picnic with my guitar as the sun set, warming up to play music and writing there will be a wonderful memory!!!
Had wonderful audiences for the gig my first few nights and made friends with an awesome group of techies from Winnipeg, and we went out on the town, swung through some dance clubs (literally, walked in, said “eh, cool. we’ve seen it now, and left) and barhopped a bit. Ended up chilling for a long time at a comfortably-warm and friendly Irish Pub on the canal and talking about life for a bit. When you’re traveling, everyone is a fast friend.
I’ve been taking advantage of all the free walking tours in the cities I visit, and Amsterdam was no exception! Usually the tours will leave from your hostel and if you miss it, you can catch the next one from a center-point of town.
I woke up late (read:hungover) walked to Dam Square to try to catch the next one. Joined what I thought was the tour, but actually turned out to be an “alternative” tour, led by a quick-witted art major with a feather in his hat and a “fashionable” walking cane, and we wandered through the city talking about famous graffiti, the culture of squatting in Amsterdam, how to steal a bike, where to get the best green, the LGBT community, the Dutch views on Trump’s America, (we talked about this in front of the Anne frank house, the Dutch know history and they’re paying close attention) science, religion, and philosophy. We ended paying our respects at the second most famous house in Amsterdam, Rene Descartes’s place.
“I think, therefore I am”
The last few days I spent waking up late, having breakfast at this lovely cafe and writing a bit while planning out a walking route for the day. I never buy guidebooks when I travel, I don’t do a whole lot of research before-hand, I’m normally just a wanderer. I like to roam aimlessly and find things that are off the beaten path a bit, and I always feel that I get a better lay of the city this way, instead of rushing to touristy-museums all day or guided tours though I see the benefit in both. I never even do research on the geography of cities before I go, somehow I just always make it back where I’m supposed to be without major issue. I wonder when this luck will run out.
Now I’m going to write a bit, warm up, and get ready to sing later on, downbeat at 7pm, going to try and Facebook live the whole thing so we will see. Here’s some more Amsterdam pics! More later. SJ