Pictures of a postcard (10)

‘Nostalgia for a tram’

It’s the famous discussion of an elderly American couple on a European guided and tight organized tour. “Henry, dear, what date it’s today?” “June 7th honey.” “Okay, than this must be Amsterdam.”
The way their trip was programmed from city to city on a rail pass and almost being in every capitol but nothing seen only a glimpse, a fainted taste submerged in the mass of impressions. When I was young I did the same going to all places as much as possible with afterwards only the knowledge; I have bin there. There’s only a slight difference, touristic sightseeing in those days was not my cup of tea. The prey in cities was their tramway and riding the lines from terminus till terminus and all the coordination’s in between just seen from the perspective of rail infrastructure. A pity and perhaps a waste of time while there’s so much more to do.
Maybe, the joy of travelling but also the vehemence of it differs from person to person and I must confess first of all I do not regret it and still achieved certain knowledge about what a city could be but above all how it functioned. The American way of doing Europe certainly would kill me these days, lingering for a while or at least more than one night over would suit the case because, beside the tram, city architecture is something to enjoy and not only from behind the window-glass.
Amsterdam is a beautiful example and despite once living there though not in the city itself, I have seen a lot of it probably far more than any couple on their second honeymoon ever would see. Of course they walked through this street in the inner city and close to the Leidseplein (square) but did they look up or just straight forwards and missed the well decorated façades of some buildings, eg on the right side in front of the tramcar.
I am far from homesick but this kind of design is desperately missing where I have my domesticity now. There must be a better solution than eleven hours packed in a plane to see, feel and touch it, half a day once in a while will do.
You can boarder the tram, ride with it till the Central Station and while it’s waiting there for the return trip get pleasure from another master piece of old Dutch building engineering, the same you’ll encounter on the way to the outskirts of this town were architecture unquestionable drops a stitch unless you’re fond of the new style of construction with almost no difference the way they build elsewhere. It’s the detail and the detail only that makes it great, the tram is just a submissive subject.

About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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