In every country we visited throughout Europe we found pianos in public places available for public performance. This one was inside the mall adjacent to the Central Station in Amsterdam. The piano was in tune and pianist actually knew how to play.
We began our sail from Amsterdam in the Netherlands and stood on our veranda watching the Nederlands sweep by. Eight days and 7 ports later we would wind up in Basil Switzerland. Along the Waal river in Holland we saw a few buildings that look like castles. Closer looks reveal they are not. This is a water tower or pumping station. We also saw bridge abutments designed to look like castles.
Recently we took a four week trip through Europe. We started in Amsterdam and finished in Prague. I made a vow to myself that I would take video of every street musician we saw. Some were great, some not so great but all provided an interesting taste of the countries we traveled through. What I like as much as the music is the action in the streets around the performers. Watch until the end and take a look at the “gold statues” behind the performers.
For the last month we have been touring Europe to celebrate our 45th Wedding Anniversary. Our journey through Europe covered 1600 kilometers and five countries. I took about 2000 images and videos and surely will be busy editing and publishing for a while. Like most good European journeys we started in Amsterdam. Our flight on Lufthansa had been canceled and we were forced to ride in middle seats on United so when we hit the ground we were hungry, bitchy, and jet lagged. On our way to find food and a coffee shop I stopped for a second to take this image.
Fortunately we have been to Amsterdam before because the next day we would board our ship and sail down the Rhine. We didn’t have too much time for sight seeing. This was taken facing the city from the central train station.
I have never been to Venice where some people say the canals are beautiful and others say they smell like garbage or death. I have been to Amsterdam which is a beautiful city and loaded with wonderful canals which are actually part of the city’s flood control system. I have heard the canals are full of abandoned bicycles but can vouch they don’t smell of death or garbage.
Then there is Bruges which is sometimes called the Venice of the North. A magnificent ancient city with a wonderful network of canals. I have been there a number of times and each time I am struck again with the beauty of the ancient town and the cleanliness and blue waters of the canals. Everyone should visit at least once and if you can’t make the trip then at least watch the wonderful movie En Bruges and you will see what you are missing.
Tonight is the beginning of one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism: Rosh Hashanah. I can’t help but wonder what services would look like in the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is known for its Red Light District, Canals, Coffee Shops and Museums. Nestled in this backdrop is one of the great Synagogues of the world. It was built by Spanish Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition. Since Holland and Spain were at war with one another, those escaping persecution said they were Portuguese to gain entry in to the country. Many Synagogues in Europe today restrict access due to persistent anti-Semitic feelings. However the Portuguese Synagogue is open for visitors for a small fee. You can also attend services on Friday or Saturday without paying a fee. The entire Synagogue is lit by candles and there is an excellent Judaica store where you can buy beautiful souvenirs and find out about the history of the building.L’shanah Tovah (Happy New Year!)