Thursday, June 26, 2008

Flowers of June

One of my favorite places in Amsterdam is Beatrix Park - named for our fair Queen Beatrix. It's much quieter than Vondelpark, which is a large park much nearer the center of things. Fred and I had a spot in Beatrix Park that we really liked for a while, but the lawn where we liked to sit is a little slanted. As I like to knit in the park, it always bothered me a bit because I had to constantly adjust my position. (Sitting and knitting at the same time?) Fortunately, that spot became very popular, so we had to find a new place. There are still people in the new spot, but it's set up differently, so we don't notice them so much. It's got a great man made pond (a cement pond, some might say) and it's circular - as you can see in the picture.

Best thing about it (besides the lily pads in the pond) is the flowers that are planted around the pond. There's always something new, or what was there has grown so much that it seems new. I went there the night before last because I needed to get out of the house and bike around. It was 7:30 in the evening and I was surprised at how secluded it was. And since the light was so nice, I took some pictures.

I've told this story before, but it's worth re-telling and I'll make it quick. Five years ago, I was in Copenhagen with a slightly older friend to visit two other friends - an old guy and a younger guy. I was walking around with the younger guy and we were talking and watching the older two. They were both taking close up pictures of flowers with their high tech cameras. One after the other. Just big shots of beautiful flowers. And I turned to the younger guy and said, "Is that what we're going to become? Old queens who take pictures of flowers?"

Well...yeah. But for now, I'm sticking to wide shots. Maybe as I get older, I'll gradually take closer and closer pictures. Maybe that's a way to tell how old or gay a guy is, by how close his pictures of flowers are.

Our new favorite spot is right on a canal and is some sort of hub because people occasionally come in and out of the paths, but don't really stay. It's almost felt so secluded that the New Yorker in me kept looking around for suspicious people. I never went to the park in NYC. I always had too much to do, but I also always heard about people getting mugged in the park.

A couple of weeks ago, we were at the spot and I was walking around and these (I think it was these) had bees all over them. Crawling and eating and buzzing around. Fortunately my father had bees for a while when we were young (he's like that), so I know bees aren't really concerned with people in general. It was really amazing. You couldn't see them until you were right up on them.
And how beautiful are these? They're totally Lost in Space. They were a nice surprise. I saw a woman across the pond picking a bouquet and I momentarily considered taking a little something. But I didn't. Sort of not my thing. And then I'd have a bouquet of flowers to hang onto all the way home. No thanks.

My suggestion is to go to a park on a beautiful day. I think I'm going to force a picnic on Fred one of these days. It stays light and pleasant so late these day. Eating and knitting in the park on a summer evening. How perfect is that?


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

I'm really enjoying the daily blog! You are always entertaining and so darned informative.

A few years ago I visited a park in Amsterdam where there were dozens of chickens roaming around. My husband and I had convinced ourselves it must have been Beatrixpark but I'm now not so sure. Do you know of a tame chicken park on the outskirts (or possibly inskirts) of Amsterdam? I usually am not a big fan of chickens but these were particularly pleasant.

Anonymous said...

That'll be the Amstelpark - they employ the chickens to weed the flowerbeds. Its an ecofriendly way to cut labour costs, and hey, the chickens aren't complaining!

Andy Baker said...

Thanks, Jane. I had Googled that, but I thought that they had been removed. The story I read was that people kept bringing their chickens to the park to live in the chicken community at Amstelpark, and they got too noisy so they were relocated. I guess it's all things in moderation - once again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jane and Andy! I just googled it too and see they moved all the chickens out in April. Oh well... I liked the chickens but I can understand how it got out of hand. We have a neighbour with some poultry and I'm surprised how noisy it can be.