It really wasn't easy going through 500 pictures and then picking the pictures to upload here. I think I took about 2 hours to do just that.
If you just want to look at the pictures from this trip, go to my photos on the right, click show as gallery, start from the last photo of the 3rd page, and click backwards.
Ok, the train ride.
It took 16 hours from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. My first time on a night train, I thought it was quite an experience. (and it kinda reminded me of harry potter. My friend laughed and said "that's a good way to think about it" )The room was really small for the 6 of us and it felt kinda claustrophobic for a while. We had to coordinate our sleeping times, organize our luggage and find some space for ourselves. I really can't imagine if I had to share the cabin with 5 other strangers. I volunteered to be on the upper bunk cos it's the only place you can have a space for yourself. The train ride to Amsterdam was pretty bad because the ventilation system wasn't working and we could hardly sleep. The train ride back was sooo much better. The ventilation was working perfectly and I slept through the whole ride. I actually thought it was really comfortable to sleep on the train.
That's our train, and my tutors.. 2 of them.
We were bored on our train ride to Amsterdam. so we tried to see how many people can fit in one room.
So basically the itinerary in Amsterdam consists of a two-day mad cycling around Amsterdam visiting parks, libraries and other public spaces to understand its urban planning. Amsterdam's a really quaint city. Everything looks so picturesque. (at least in the day). So the cycling was really pleasant, except during the times it rained. I was kinda taken aback when i saw that the bikes they rented didn't have handbrakes. To brake you have to push the pedals in the opposite direction. That took me a few hours (and some getting lost in the city) to get used to. No wondeerrr the bikes they sold in Lund didn't have handbrakes. I was wondering how people were gonna ride in brakeless bikes. ok. another swaku moment. Cycling in Amsterdam isn't difficult because most of the main roads have bike paths, and bike traffic lights. It wasn't dangerous or anything.
Us and our bicycles:
We were really tired on our first day because of the bad sleep on the train. Practically walking zombies, or cycling zombies. And we were kinda drenched because of the so unpredictable intermittent rain. We were cycling in it. Glad that I brought my hat along.At night, we walked around town and some of them visited the "coffee shops". Well I did go in and watch but that was about as far as I wanted to do.
On the second day, it was finally nice and sunny. We visited the Amsterdam public library by Jo Coenen. Thought it was pretty nice. The computers were all mac. (Maybe that's why it's nice. heh.)
Bottom pic: the multi-media library, Plug in the audio cds into itunes on the computer.
Then we went to NDSM, a former ship dock transformed into something like an experimental working space. So basically, a steel column + concrete flooring structure is constructed in the huge industrial building. A particular amount of space is rented by individuals or firms, mostly artists and designers who have the liberty to decide the rest of the stuff that makes up their office space, like the walls, toilets etc. It's an expression of their individualism and at the end of the day, you kinda get a collage of all these different characters. Everything is pretty rustic. There weren't many people cos it's a sunday.
I don't think a place like this will ever exist in Singapore. If it ever does exist, the concrete will be plastered, the steel nicely painted, the walls cleaned and polished, and it will look like disneyland once again. I find design in Singapore too serious. It seems like more often than not, the Europeans will somehow include a dash of fun in their design or their presentations. Even in school presentations.
We walked through the red light district that night. It was kinda bizarre, but I do have some recollections of how it looks like from the trip to amsterdam about 10 years ago. I remembered we went past it in a bus. I didn't really know what was going on then. I thought that the red light district was literally a district with red lights. But yea it was an interesting walk. I was trying hard not to stare. But I stared when I see a man talk to the girl and then walk in. Like how discrete is that. I think that was what made the whole walk bizarre - actually seeing the men walk in.
The last day, we visited Borneo Sporenburg - a residential district that aims to redefine high density living. Again, individualism and variety seem to be crucial.
Rotterdam and Delft
Rotterdam reminded me of Taiwan. Some parts of it reminded me of Australia. This seems like a consequence of the post modernism international style. So I wasn't very impressed with Rotterdam. We visited a mini exhibition that is part of the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale. There were different models depicting the different parts of Amsterdam, how it is now and what it could become. Like I said, they inject fun into architecture.
An urban model made of Lego:
models that make us urban planners for a day:
I met Elaine and Jeremy that night. They brought me to a Chinese restaurant that serves DELICIOUS food. My first thought when I had the food was, wow it actually tastes like Chinese food because the Chinese restaurant I tried in Lund served Chinese food that didn't taste remotely authentic. And I actually think that if the 烧肉 and
kailan and tofu were placed in the context of Singapore and Hong Kong, they would still be considered delicious. see their pictures in the right panel.
I had a sightsee - delft-by-bike on Jeremy's bicycle.
Elaine made me breakfast for my train ride. She's so cute. She even separated the veges from the bread cos she's afraid that they might get soggy the next morning.
Elaine and Jeremy, you guys were great hosts. I'll definitely return your favour when you guys come to Lund. And Elaine, I had to take pictures of the wonderful breakfast you prepared. Thank you so much!!