>On a chill-out from beer last afternoon in Amsterdam, I strolled the canals alone, blissfully contented. The tree-lined boulevards, graceful cyclists, gentle traffic and reflections of the elegant apartment blocks shimmering in Amsterdam’s plentiful water allowed me to tap into the calm Dutch lifestyle.
I perused the Rijksmuseum, finished my Kundera lying in the open green park and gathered myself after 4 days of sheer Dutch fun. Linden had flown back to Istanbul, Luke to England and Jeroen and Daphne were resting up at home. We had come over to stay with J & D who I met in Tibet a few years back. It was Queen’s Day weekend in the Netherlands, a national holiday which allows the Ducth to raise a glass or ten to the Queen. Jeroen hired a boat for the Monday and with 35 more of his friends, we cruised all day, drinking, singing and dancing on this very large row boat. A magic weekend. In that sunny park, I lay back and smiled. I will post pictures soon.
On the train back to Devon and work, I sat by the window and marvelled at England’s absurdly green countryside with its hedgerows, fencing and eternal dips and rolls. The previous day in Amsterdam, I visited the World Press Photo Awards, a gallery of the best judged press pictures of 2006. While many photos highlighted war, famine and other human disasters, some included David Beckham, dance festivals and the marine world. But the photo above stuck with me. It’s Ty Ziegel wearing his US marine uniform on his wedding day. The photo needs little explanation.