Amsterdam (4): the end of the movie

Friday 6 of january 2012
The end of my trip to Amsterdam. Leaving the quiet neighborhood of Slotermelaan for Tirso de molina. I wish I could stay one more week to enjoy maybe some sunshine and visit those museums I haven’t visited; to have time for another drink or dinner with sara, may, liz, nina, alex, marcel, david, or even with another perfect stranger sitting at the same terrase, near the canals.

I didn’t ‘fall in love’ with any museums or bar or restaurant or any other touristic attraction, I didn’t even pay attention to those aspects of the city, surprinsingly.

Instead, I end up with at least a clear crush on the city of Amsterdam, on its people, those big women and men and their big energy, those people riding their bikes (even though it’s 6 degrees outside, and the wind slaps rain at 60km/h right to their face—they get along and still love their bikes) the small and charming buildings, the brown bars, the quiet canals, the french fries habits, the rood wijne, the tramways, quiet Joordan.

They have dinner at 18:30, get tipsy at 20:00 and get home at 21:00 or 22:00. I saw some really happy people, smiling, helping me find my way, inviting me to join a folkloric dance, cheering and smiling again.

Climate here is a bit rough compared to Barcelona or Madrid, but I think I wouldn’t be sad living here for a couple of years. I could quickly feel home here and enjoy it. I don’t know if I would have felt this way if I had been a ‘touristic tourist’ instead of just hanging around in places and observing Amsterdam from my isolated tower.

This morning I went to the NEMO museum; quite for kids but still fun. But what I had prepared before is having a special song loaded in my iphone: ‘dans le port d’Amsterdam’ —Jacques Brel.

I knew I would be, right next to the Nemo, in a port surrounded by old boats and peniches. I thought that it was the right moment. Sitting on the port next to the boats listening to this song. I was a lot more excited by this plan than the Nemo thing, and the comparison between both experiences is almost unfair. A really special moment, also because I did this on the day I was leaving. A ‘goodbye’ with perfect soundtrack. I also added ‘la valse a mille temps’ from the same singer, and ‘viva la vida’ by coldplay. I never listened to this song on purpose, always on TV or else. But I felt It would be nice song for a last walk in Amsterdam; and I was right.

Before I left, I really was worried by the idea of being alone 1 week in Amsterdam; but I wasn’t thinking enough about the people I know there. Well, I didn’t know I was going to spend such a good time with those friends and their friends.

I’ve been lucky enough to know some great people, and spend some good time with them. A fantastic new year’s eve, some nice moments with my dear Sara, a great dinner/”party” with nina may and marcel, a nice time discovering Utrecht with May; that’s a all bunch of great moments for 1 week.

Now, I’ve also learned what it CAN be to be really alone in a city, and it wouldn’t have been that fun. At least I know now that if one is about to travel alone, one must come prepared for some serious moments of loneliness. Must be really different from what I’ve experienced. Not bad I guess, but different.

2h before I get on the plane, I think I’m done writing those things I’ll be happy to remember ‘later’.

I’ll finish with this anouncement you get on tramways each 10min reminding tou to check out with your ticket:

“Leaving the vehicule, please remember to check out, with your public transport, checkcard”.

Which with dutch accent sounds:

“Livin’ zi viikool, pliz rimember to tchek out, with your public transport, tchikaard”.

Wednesday 11 january 2011
Still haven’t post this last text I wrote when leaving Amsterdam. I would guess it’s because I was lazy, but at the same time, I think maybe I didn’t want to end up what I would be missing: being abroad and having a great time.

It’s well known ability for a song to remind of a specific moment of your life, a person, a feeling; usually, it’s because one listened to this song so much that it ended up being the soundtrack of specific special moments. I didn’t listen to a lot of music in Amsterdam, mainly in the shower.

But this thing I did of preparing “dans le port d’Amsterdam”, “la valse a mille temps” (j.Brel) and “viva la vida” (Coldplay) before going to the harbor was a great great idea.

It was 10 minutes. 10 minutes sitting on a big piece of rusted steel, I guess part of a ship or whatever, right next to those romantic antique boats, enjoying for the first time in Amsterdam the warm sun shine on my face and some blue sky. And there, I listened to this song I’ve been listening and loving for years: “dans le port d’Amsterdam”. In itself, it was for me somehow totally unique; while listening at the lyrics, I was placing the stories where I was guessing they could have taken place, picturing the boats, rough men, eating french fries and drinking and cheering for all the whores of Amsterdam. What I wasn’t aware of at this moment is that I was building one of the most emotional moment of my trip. I was designing, producing and experiencing at the same time the credits of my movie in Amsterdam. I was at the end of the movie, viewing the big picture with joy, reminding details with a smile on my face, walking the streets with a different perspective, like if I wasn’t allowed to speak or interact anymore, just rewind the tape and watch some scenes of the movie back again before leaving. As I wrote before, I never owned before the song ‘Viva la vida’ by Coldplay; but what a great idea I’ve had to use it for the end credits of my movie. It fit perfectly the moment, the emotion; the picture was already perfect, but using this was like taking a good picture and enhancing it with Adobe Lightroom or instagram.

I really made a accurate choice and I’m still today enjoying my reward. I didn’t “listen to the same song during the whole trip to associate it to those moments”. Instead, I sat, in front of a beautiful panorama, few hours before leaving, turned on ‘dans le port d’Amsterdam’ and felt the song through what I was seeing; and when the song ended, I got up, started walking back home, listening to the 2 other songs walking, knowing it was the last time I got some french fries walking in the narrow streets of the heart of Amsterdam, the last time I took this tramway; I mixed great songs with this feeling of sadness for leaving and happiness for having spent a wonderful time.

I added to those songs some notes that didn’t exist before and that will always be part of the song from now on. No one is able to ear those new notes. These notes are mine, and the song is different just from my own point of view.

5 days after, I love to listen to those three songs when getting back from work. Reminds me how important it is to work hard to be able to travel and customize other songs with new feelings and experiences.

Hopefully, my next stop will be Reyjkavik, or New York. Will start thinking of a playlist. (if you’ve reached the end of this post: wow! Big hug for you)

Leave a Reply