Hail, Dam of the Amstel, Which hast taught me of beer!
(Because for an exceedingly long time, including as I was growing up, the only beers you could get in Greece were Amstel—named for the river that Amsterdam dams—and Heineken (or as the Greeks call it, "the green one"), founded on the Amstel by a Mr Heineken. Oh, and occasionally Löwenbräu, so Munich also got a show in.)
I'm in Yerevan time, as always happens when I fly to Western Europe, so I'm too sleepy to do a detailed blog entry; that'll have to wait till tomorrow, on the train to Brussels. I'll do my wonted superficial comments meantime.
- Impressions of Amsterdam? In one sentence? "Pretty, but." No denying it, the houses and the canals are pretty and atmospheric. But the mediaeval city—the Oude Zijde, and even worse the Nieuwe Zidje—are hard to take seriously as a city centre: there just isn't enough critical mass of busy. It did not help that when I started walking around at 9 am Sunday, the southern Oude Zijde (where my hotel is) was quite empty.
- I also can't take the gazillion bikes seriously. I went this morning on a taxi ride to find a computer part. The taxi ride failed, because the Dutch don't do business on Monday before 1 pm; but I rejoiced that at least the Eastern Canal Ring area was recognisably urban. I was actually happy to be in a traffic jam.
- The Oude Zijde does sort of make sense and is charming. The Dam square is monumental in a way I always find congenial. The Nieuwe Zidje leading up to the Dam—including the Red Light District and way too many aromatic smelling cafés? Tacky. Sorry, but tacky.
- I'm loving the full cream with the coffee. Not a habit I want to get into, but lovely.
- It's fridgeriffic here. 5°–12° C today.
- I'm coping with the intellectual content of the workshop I'm at far better than I should be. (If anyone from work is reading this, I'll cut and paste my notes tomorrow. Too sleepy right now.)
- Yes, they really do sound like Klingons here. dɑχ! I'm often delighted to almost understand bits of Dutch. It's almost as if it's distantly related to English or something.
- The workshop was on a lifeline to Twitter. #repinf09 if you're into that kind of thing. I'm not. (I just find that kind of backchannel too scattergun to be informative. But I'm already hopelessly out of date with the world.)
- ... Holy crap, I think I've been cited on Twitter:
jfarnhill: 'We're not here because repositories are an end in themselves'; they're here to support the scholarly comms cycle. Discuss. #repinf09
- Great hotel. (It's the "heart of Amsterdam" one, not the airport one.) Even on the night I did have to pay for it. :-)
... Zzzz. More, including photos, tomorrow.