The Amsterdam City Swim really was an experience of a lifetime and seeing Amsterdam from the water, at that angle, was to see Amsterdam in a different light. Walking or biking around the city you will see the beautiful architecture close up and maybe get an eye full of some naked Dutch people occasionally because for some reason they don’t use curtains, rarely close their blinds and, to be honest, they really don’t care if anyone is looking in.
When we found our first semi-permanent apartment to tide us over whilst we found something just right because the housing market in Amsterdam is insane (I’ll get into that at a later date.) We moved on to a street called Ferdinand Bolstraat in the very sought after location of De Pijp. For reasons beyond me, everyone wants to live there. Those three months were enough for me!
It was my first experience of the Dutch not using curtains and seeing it all. A lot of the buildings in the city, if not looking on to a canal, look on to the opposite building, with windows which look like Polaroid picture frames, that frame the lives of those which live there. It can be quite interesting to watch and I do love a good people watching session. There was a lady who opened her window fully every morning, on the 3rd floor, swung her legs out over the edge, crossed them and smoked a cigarette as she watched people pass by.
Usually, I would see a couple cooking whilst their child was throwing a ball or something small and green at them. See, what did I tell you, pure entertainment this! The girl who we were living with said she had seen a woman on the top floor bring a fair few men home and showed them a good time. I cannot report to you on that, I wasn’t a witness, thankfully.
However, after a few weeks of living on this street and looking out and only seeing walls, I began to start to feel a little claustrophobic. Where I come from, if you look out the window, you see rolling hills and it just feels easier to breath when you look out the window and you can see for miles.
I knew from this feeling that we had to overlook the canals or something, I couldn’t live there feeling trapped. Living in De Pijp isn’t for everyone, it is only that everyone thinks that they want to live there. It is in an awesome location. I would say it would take you about 15 minutes to walk up into the centre but if you want to go to the station I recommend jumping on a tram or, by this point, if you have a bike, go everywhere on that.
What made things worse for me was that it was always full of tourists! (I know, why am I complaining when I should know tourists would be in the centre of Amsterdam) but, when you are aiming to become a local and settling down into the life of a local, hearing people shouting and singing at 5 am even on weekdays just isn’t for me. Thank god our bedroom was on the back! Phew! I have even gotten up to go to work and those partying from the night before are wandering aimlessly on “Drunken GSP mode that always gets you home”