We had a couple of really weird things happen to us on our last trip. They say things come in threes and they certianly did one day in Amsterdam. We absolutely fell in love with Amsterdam; its beautiful brick architecture that radiates out from the old heart displaying each epoch in style yet still resolutely Dutch, the chaotic symphony of pedestrians, cyclists, trams, cars and boats and the incredible practicality of its people.
After 4 days we had walked pretty well all over the city so decided to get out a bit further. I had read in a Lonely Planet about Amsterdam Noord – the old docklands area that was morphing into an art collective with a funky cafe and some interesting walks. There are free ferries which take you across the harbour to various points so we decided to go to one end and walk to the next terminal about 6kms away. As usual the weather was pretty dismal about 18 degrees C and drizzling off and on. Undeterred we found the art space and cafe, wandered around then headed for the next terminal, weaving our way through some magnificent old ship yard buildings and wharves, onto the newer area towards the next stop.
At one point I was taking photos (as I do) and my husband was a little further ahead (as he usually is) when a car pulled up and out got a couple who spoke Dutch to him. Of course our grasp of Dutch is limited toBehagen and Danke (please and thank you) so immediately made that clear – not a problem as most people do speak some English. They were looking for somewhere to park their car as they didn’t want to pay for parking near the ferry terminal (about 1km further along). We explained we were not the best people to ask (being from the other side of the world and all) and we couldn’t help them. Yet they persisted in asking like we secretly knew but wouldn’t share. Now you have to image where we are – on a deserted old wharf, surrounded by factories and holding yards and we hadn’t come across any people for about an hour so their persistance was a little strange. They chatted to each other in Dutch then asked us if we wanted a lift (we are still not sure where to) and when we declined they got a little weird with us – like we had offended them. They eventually got back in the car then drove off weaving across the road like they were fighting over the steering wheel!
After shaking our heads we continued to the next terminal where the next weird thing happened.