A sunny stroll through the canals

The last time I was here was about three years ago, when my mother and I spent a long weekend tracking down the apartment buildings we used to live in.

It was the first time I had ever heard her speak Dutch!

(she always claimed that she couldn’t learn it.)

I’m a little in love with all the houseboats. And the idea of spending the afternoon curled up in a couch on top of one, with my dog running around barking at passing ducks.

I had lunch on the terrace of a café which had tables spilling right out to the edge of the canal, all shaded by trees and those tall, skinny crowded houses. The only sounds in the air were paddleboats on splashing on the water and sparrows in the trees.

After a while, you get used to just following your feet. Straight down a nice block, then trail an interesting bit of graffiti, left once you smell the bakery around the corner, maybe bank right if you hear the cheering from a sports pub, now you’ve turned around because you just liked the type of light down an alley.

I stumbled across a café which looked like a vintage store, or a vintage store that looked like a café, all boxes of knickknacks outside and scarves hanging off the door, with thick wooden beams holding up the crumbling facade. Inside, an older woman peered at me briefly from behind a cloud of smoke, then went back to her computer with a huff. There was only a table or two, and a slap-dash second-story loft which creeked ominously as I walked on it. Everything was old plastic toys, tiny spools of threads, Javanese figurines, and mismatched silver cutlery.

A few blocks later, I sat down for a glass of sangria and the waiter meandered over to chat. It was such a lazy day that all anyone wanted to do was lounge outside.

I wonder what it’s like to live in a lopsided house?

Closer to the Dam, the fashionable young designers and artists of the Jordaan were replaced by squatter punks and blazed tourists, the latter all draped over chairs in front of cafés smoking and heading to the Red Light district.

A good use of a lazy day.

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