Thursday was a day that typifies my life on Shirleyfest. I woke to a gorgeous fall day and after a starter coffee on my little balcony in my apartment, I head to my coffee place, Coffee Roastery and chat with Quinton and Marika about ideas to enjoy the day. (My sister, MJ, had left that morning after three really fun days together –more on that later).
Every city has that big green space park and Amsterdam was no exception– go to Westerpark was Quinton’s idea. As I pedal around this lovely park with lots of little cafes and restaurant on the border I know this will be a great day. I didn’t stop at any cafe because I needed to pedal farther to meet Paul. He is a friend of a friend’s friend. As is my usual practice I put “lines in the water” before I leave home and a good percentage of those pay off with interesting meetings of local people. Paul is no exception.
I bike to Cafe Van Noordt and we had broodjes, little sandwiches, while discussing his life in Amsterdam working to establish contracts for companies with travel providers. After lunch Paul shows me one of Amsterdam’s hottest development areas where he recently bought a place–the Eastern Docklands area with loads of homes being constructed right on the water.
Back on my bike I head for the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s modern and contemporary art museum. There is a special exhibit of Günther Förg there, a German artist who couldn’t decide if he was a photographer or a painter or both and who demanded his installations be done in very unusual ways.
In another room all the photos were hung 12 feet above the floor so your view is looking up but he took the photos from a bird’s eye view. Strangely compelling! I also want to see the permanent collection and I am not disappointed.
I was having a coffee in the Museum cafe when I look out the glass window and see the Concertgebouw, the royal concert hall, considered one of the finest concert halls in the world because of its acoustics. I even see an enormous poster for a concert tonight. A Tribute to Miles Davis. I want to go! A quick check of online tickets says the event is sold out. But I’m right across the street looking at this poster so I run over there and ask and they have a ticket just turned in that I can buy. Score! The concert starts in 90 minutes. I bike home stopping at Fento. Hillary is there and says she can make me a quick healthy salad. I pair that with a nice glass of wine at my apartment and get dressed for the concert.
Back at the concert I am impressed with how beautiful the hall is and the amazing acoustic. The Miles Davis Tribute is lovely. I am also impressed with how polite the patrons are. I sit next to a retired lawyer who knows a lot about jazz( I don’t) and he makes the concert so enjoyable. At intermission he says–now we get our drinks. The way he says it I know it must be different than I am used to. Sure enough as we leave the hall, waiters with trays of wine, champagne, beer, water, juice are there and you just take what you want . How civilized is that! “It’s included in the ticket,”he says. You can also have anything you want when you arrive at the concert hall before the show. Sweet!
After the concert I take the tram home. Got to get to sleep as tomorrow early I’m heading to Haarlem for the Friday cheese auction. That’s up next posting.