Today was great! We had a visit to the Van Gogh museum, then got our bikes and headed out. It was the most terrifying and exhilarating ride of my life. Everyone is zipping by you going a million miles an hour and all you can do is just hold on for dear life and stand your ground/road. There are pedestrians shooting out everywhere, cars zooming, and the worst of it is mopeds are allowed in the bike lanes so they are coming up behind you fast and weaving all over the place. It is crazy, but it all works and I have yet to see anyone run into anyone else. The locals avoid us like crazy because they know we are on rented bikes and have the potential to kill them at any moment by completely freaking out and loosing control. Needless to say, I don't blame them. Have you seen that William Whyte video about how people move through the plaza at the Seagram Building? Well he describes the way people move through space as a dance and that is exactly what this is. I think I was getting the hang of it by the end of our ride today and I could feel myself trying to listen more carefully to my own natural reactions... slowing down, speeding up, avoiding obstacles. Moving gracefully, cautiously and calmly through traffic got easier.
There is the most dramatic compression and expansion of space here. You are passing through tight spaces and then all of a sudden you happen upon this big open space (which still is obviously contained by buildings) and you feel like you are inhaling a huge amount of air upon seeing it. Then once again you are confined until it happens again and it seems like each moment you witness it is more beautiful then the last. I am finding all these little picturesque compositions everywhere, mostly around front doors and the big windows of shops. I want to take pictures of everything. I want to move here. I don't want to leave.