Monday, May 30, 2016

I Am sterdam

Amsterdam is everyone's favourite city. And for good reason. It is unlike anywhere else on earth. It's fun. And it offers such a mix of styles and neighbourhoods....especially for those of us who are interested in architecture and planning.

My first trip to Amsterdam was in 1969 and I spent most of my time hanging out at the flea market trying to meet girls. My last trip was four years ago as a guest of the Johannes Vervloed and the Dutch government. I joined five international journalists on a one week tour of the country, meeting architects (including Rem Koolhass) and others interested in planning and sustainable development. I wrote about my trip on this blog and subsequent postings; and in the Vancouver Sun

This year I cam to Amsterdam with Carol and Richard Henriquez and Sally on the first stop of a northern Europe tour. We spent four nights at the Lloyd Hotel which has become a bit of an institution in the city. I had stopped off here for coffee on my last visit and had met one of the owners in Vancouver. It is a building with a lot of history that has been converted into a hotel by MVRDV, one of Holland's top architectural firms. This is an interesting property in that it offers 1 to 5 star accommodation. However, it is a very, very quirky hotel and the owners will have to add a few more creature comforts before we stay here again...such as coffee in the room, a mini-bar, a place to put our luggage, and most importantly, a way to stop the shower from soaking the hotel room floor. (The squeegee mop just didn't do it for us.)

As Richard Henriquez will tell you, too many rooms end up with a column in the middle and a bathroom/shower arrangement that leaves much to be desired. Our room had this folding wall that opened to expose a shower that flooded the centre of the room. (In Denmark we stayed in a hotel with an elegant curved glass shower door. That would have been much better!)

Too often furniture is stored along corridors which feels like a one star hotel, even for the five star guests. Very odd!
While I will try and get back to describe more of our experiences in the city, here are a few photos for the time being.

I liked the coloured glass panels in the railway station ceiling, but didn't realize why they were there until viewed from across the water. The panels spell out Amsterdam!

There are a lot of examples of architectural and engineering gymnastics throughout the city
Some of the new look-at-me buildings on the waterfront, as viewed from a boat and the new film museum lounge
Bicycle storage/parking is a major challenge in this city where almost everyone gets around on a bike (without a helmet, I might add)
Van Gogh must be turning in his grave!
The beer wagon takes on a different meaning in Amsterdam. Brides-to-be and others celebrate as they ride about the city pedaling away and drinking whatever...


Brandon Donnelly said...

great post/photos, michael.

that shower! i can imagine that it probably got everything in the room wet. where was the drain? in the corner, near the hinge?

Brandon Donnelly said...

oh, and this is great:

"My first trip to Amsterdam was in 1969 and I spent most of my time hanging out at the flea market trying to meet girls."