A COLORFUL PERSPECTIVE
Photography by Will Taylor
Join Sweet Paul’s market editor, Will Taylor, as he navigates canals, trains,
bicycles, and trams to discover the brightest places to eat, sleep, and shop in
and around Amsterdam’s creative Jordaan district.
“You’re the first guy we’ve ever had stand behind the counter
here and we love it! Are you sure we can’t tempt you with a
job?” the warm and upbeat shop assistant called to me as she
arranged a collection of bright vases upon a shelf. I stood in one
of Amsterdam’s most colorful stores, Kitsch Kitchen, and had
somehow ended up behind the checkout desk. Only meaning
to jot down my details for the storeowner, I was soon mistaken
for a shop assistant. But given my love for colorful design, I
decided to go along with it, helping a charming young lady pick
out some mugs for her newly installed kitchen. After joking with
the real assistants that I should be on commission, I was on my
way with the first of many bright buys in hand.
Earlier that day, I had made my way to St Pancras
International Train Station in London to catch a Eurostar train.
In doing so, I had to navigate roads jammed with traffic and a
station awash with stressed commuters–heads down, hurrying
to their destinations. Just five hours later, I had arrived in an
altogether different city.
I felt at home the moment I arrived in Amsterdam. The
vibrant city is a juxtaposition of bustling, frenetic streets (or
straatjes, as they are referred to locally) against peaceful
canal-side walkways. Stepping out of Central Station and onto
the Stationsplein–one of Amsterdam’s busiest squares–is
a fine example of the former, where a mass of trams, cars,
buses, people, and bikes await. Horns were honking, bells were
tinkling, and street sellers were yelling, yet it didn’t feel stressful
at all. In fact, quite the contrary. Although you arrive into the
heart of Amsterdam’s travel network, you can immediately see
the difference in the approach of getting around. Gone are the
packed car parks–instead you find bike racks at every turn; not
surprising given cycling is the main form of transportation for
the city’s inhabitants. Add in the ever-present rumble of the
trams passing by and you really know you’re in Amsterdam.
Armed with my camera, I hopped onto a tram bound for the
5/29/12 7:30 AM