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Posts Tagged ‘Amsterdam’

A new adventure awaits on every trip. But that doesn’t mean you never revisit the places you visited on prior travels. Of course, your time might not be the same. New memories await. And even if the place hasn’t changed – I learned you have.

I AM enjoying amSTERDAM...

A recent trip to Amsterdam, my third, included both a few new attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Heineken Experience and a return to an old favorite spot. Both new attractions, very popular spots, I certainly enjoyed. Yet I learned long ago a city is more than its tourist attractions.

Orange is the color of choice in Holland

To me, exploring a city is walking the streets and finding that cafe for a coffee or finding that special restaurant for that special culinary creation. And  sometimes it is just about finding a place to sit down and enjoy conversation with new friends, loved ones, locals or perhaps even just for some good alone time. From my past travels to Amsterdam, one such  place where I enjoyed such moments was the “Hill Street Blues Cafe-Bar”

I first stumbled upon the cafe on my virgin trip to the canal city. That was 12 years ago and in a different era for travel. A time when the internet was not mainstream (not sure when Al Gore invented it) and at a time when GPS or Google maps didn’t tell us how not to get lost. And frankly, a time I am glad to have known and traveled in. So for nostalgia,  I decided to let memories serve as both my guide and directions and not my iPhone on my quest to find the Cafe and Coffee Shop.

The beacon - Hill Street Blues Cafe

One evening just after sunset on the canal and after finishing up my walking audio tour I sensed a proximity. I was close. Ah, I knew it would come back to me. It did.

A left, than a right, guesses maybe, intuition more likely, I noticed the illuminated Union Jack and American flag. I arrived to the The Hill Street Blues Cafe-Bar and could not hide my smile.

Certainly, better cafes exist in Amsterdam, but this place holds my memories. It was a time in my life when I traveled with two other Americans and fellow fraternity brothers. As recent college graduates armed with money from our corporate jobs we traveled Europe, celebrated freedoms and planned to travel the rest of the world if not attempt to conquer it.

I entered. The time warp began. I imagined my friends at the table as a wave of emotion overcame me. Wow, twelves years flashed before me. The good, the bad and the beautiful.

I then wondered, did I accomplish anything I talked about inside these four walls?

a view inside Hill Street Blues

Eventually, I realized I did and realized how much I changed in those 12 years even as the placed looked the same.  We all had.

So, my first thought, why not sit down open my journal and write down some ideas for the next 12 years. But, no that didn’t feel right.

Then it hit me.  I wrote thanks. Thanks for twelve great years, thanks for the many adventures, and thanks for the opportunity to see Amsterdam both then and now.

Stay adventurous, Craig

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On a cold, cloud filled April afternoon in Amsterdam, the rain showers (even hail) soaked the streets and pestered the pedestrians. Although bikes still out numbered the compact cars most tourists and locals hop on foot from cafe to coffee shop in search of warmth, conversation and the favorable local fare. But with the day nearly finished, the once hectic sidewalks suddenly slowed.  Time marched towards sunset.

Although the sun did not appear and no final descent could be viewed, the moment was unmistakable.  Twilight began.  A blue hue illuminated the sky and the street lights reflected against the water to provide a glow that warmed the scene. A walk down a canal suddenly seemed more appealing and enjoyable than sitting inside learning traditional Dutch culture.

During that stroll I snapped this picture. Enjoy and have an especially Happy Sunset Sunday this Easter.

...the canal lights up at sunset in Amsterdam

stay adventurous, Craig

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