IT’S been described as the world’s most liberal city and possibly has a reputation for being a little too easy-going.
I’ve just spent a few days in Amsterdam, my first visit, and I loved it.
It has more than 150 canals and 1,250 bridges so ‘up yours’ Venice.
There was no obvious fleecing of tourists so ‘ner-ner-ne-ner-ner’ to Rome.
It’s overflowing with magnificently diverse culture so ‘stick that in your pipe and smoke it’ Florence.
And there are thousands of happy cyclists so look and learn Manchester. WHILE a Rembrandt has been adorning the wall in the Rijksmuseum, a Lennon was hanging in my mum’s living room.
John Lennon once painted a portrait of my mum and it had pride of place above the settee.
I know what you’re thinking, John Lennon was a musician not an artist, but I’m talking about an old family friend, a humble family man from Wythenshawe,
I can’t believe it’s taken me all these years to visit Amsterdam but I’ll definitely be going back, after all it’s only a 50- minute flight from Manchester.
In some ways it’s a city of contradictions.
Rembrandt’s Night Watch dominates the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank’s poignant story is re-lived in her warehouse hideaway, while prostitutes, protected by law, flaunt themselves in fluorescent windows along both banks of a narrow canal.
Also, at 11pm, when many people are just heading out in cities around the world, the last diners are leaving Amsterdam’s restaurants who happened to share the same name as the Beatle.
We said goodbye to our John Lennon last Friday at his funeral in St Anthony’s Church.
His lovely wife Joan, their 10 children and huge extended family as they close up for the night.
A canal tour of the city is a great way to learn how Amsterdam became a world trading power and how genius engineers found ways to hold back the tide and build a city on essentially swampy flatlands. It’s a fascinating place.
My overall impression was of a friendly, laidback place where people, whether natives or tourists, were rubbing along very happily while the ubiquitous cyclists came at you from every direction.
There’s something very attractive about a city where the predominant street sounds are bicycle bells rather than blaring car horns. gathered to celebrate his life.
John called himself the King of Nobodies and yet people travelled from around the world, including China, to pay their respects, having been touched by his kindness and humour.
Amsterdam – a city of cyclists