Saturday, June 14, 2008

K is for Kanaal

Kanaal is, of course, Dutch for canal. The pronunciation is a bit different, hardly worth mentioning, but I will. That double a (aa) gets a lot of people into trouble. It's a longer, more stressed soft a. So, to me, it sort of sounds like kun-ahl. Correct me if I'm wrong. I love a fact checker.

The canals around Amsterdam are one of my favorite things about they city. I'm sure I'm not the first to say that. For full impact, you sort of have to see it from the air. So look out the window when flying in or find a postcard that shows the Center from the air. During certain holidays there are parades in the canals, which is a different twist to having them along city streets. Like they gay pride parade is on the canals. Talk about a big tranny mess (no offense to trannies.)

In Venice, it seems like some people use the canals for regular transportation. Here, not so much. I don't know anyone who takes the canal to work, but I would love to meet him. The canals get a fair amount of traffic, but it's mostly tour boats and smaller boats of people being cool with a bottle of wine and or rowdy with a case of beer. Sort of how most of the traffic in the Red Light District is tourists and people just out sight seeing.

When I was going to move here, Fred told me that we were going to go to Venice for a weekend right after the move. Someone said, "That's right. Don't they call Amsterdam the Venice of the North?" I'm sure someone does, but it's not anyone I know. Anyway, I started referring to Venice as the Amsterdam of the South. I thought I was very funny. It was sort of funny when I could do it with a straight face. Ah, thirty-eight-year-olds say the darnedest things.

There are canals everywhere. You know how in a regular city you can just walk from point A to point B, cutting across a lawn or a street wherever you want? (And make use of the geometry rule that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.) You can't do that here. You have to find a bridge. It's not always an issue, but it's sort of funny to have these barriers up when you're trying to get somewhere.

Fred and I both take a lot of pictures of canals. There's a point on a bridge in the Center where I always stop and I always want to take a picture, but we've got pictures of that spot. Still, it's so picturesque and beautiful that I want to take a picture. This particular picture is somewhere in the Center. It's one of the big canals. I'm not sure which one. Someone probably recognizes it.

Today is Familiedag. Family Day. It's the fifth installment. We have to be in Heemstede at 11:00. It's a big mystery what we're going to do - besides get on bikes and ride somewhere. Only the planners know the details. I'll explain the whole thing tomorrow.

For corrections to the information in this post, please see Mea Culpa.

6 comments:

Butch said...

Love those canals...

Alex said...

I love the line "Venice is the Amsterdam of the south." !! You can bet I will use it somewhere, sometime.
You are lucky you only have a familie DAG. We have familie WEEKENDS where we have to go spend a weekend all together in one giant vacation house (all 30 or so of us) and do things together. This also always includes "gourmete" which is the Dutch bastardizing a fine Swiss food tradition.
I'm sure I'll post about THAT at the end of September. :-)
Have fun!

Anonymous said...

It's the Keizersgracht looking north towards the Brouwersgracht, taken from the bridge between the Herenstraat and the Prinsenstraat.

Which points up the annoying fact that although K is for kanaal, that's a picture of a gracht (another Dutch word for canal!).

Alastair

Andy Baker said...

Of course I know that that's a gracht and not a kanaal. It was a...test. And Alastair gets 100% for the day.

Hannah said...

Hello Andy,

I like your blog a lot. I started reading it since the ABC-along at Ravelry started. It is very funny to read it because I am Dutch. I grew up in Amsterdam but moved to Drenthe years ago. My family still lives in Amsterdam.

I wanted to make a comment about the canals which are actually grachten but somebody else already said that.

I also want to tell you that they don't call Amsterdam the Venice of the North but they do call Giethoorn that. Just google the name and you will find lots of websites about it.

Teyani said...

Oh my - your photo makes me miss Amsterdam! I lived there for about 9 months during college - and loved it.