Your mental map of Amsterdam

Getting there and getting around.
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Fat_old_dwarf
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Your mental map of Amsterdam

Post by Fat_old_dwarf » Sun 24th Sep 2017 08:00 pm

In my early trips, I rarely ventured out of the centre -- anything beyond the Singelgracht was here be dragons territory. And although I had a fair idea what where in the centre, I doubt if I could have named many streets or given coherent directions. I introduced any number of people to the city, who were always amazed that I could find my way round when they were completely baffled, but it was a bit of a bluff, if you know what I mean, even though I got wherever we were going. I did it by navigating around landmarks, and knowing the difference between the two historic sides of the city.

But all that changed when I rediscovered Amsterdam, on the day of a transport strike. I had to walk from Amstel Station, which in my imagination was miles out, even without the deliberate detour through de Pijp, which had just been a name to me. Since then I know I good deal more than I did, and can generally direct people where they want to go (though I'm not responsible for whether they do in fact get there).

What I find hardest to understand, though I know it's true, is how much smaller the place is than I thought it. I only once or twice took a tram back in the old days, but did when I went to the Concertgebouw. Now I consider that a modest walk, unless the weather's miserable.

Talk about your navigation successes and failures here.

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OneHighMofo
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Re: Your mental map of Amsterdam

Post by OneHighMofo » Sun 24th Sep 2017 10:53 pm

I can very much relate to thinking that anything beyond the Canal belt was heresy. I'm sorry to say think it's only since I made my first solo adventure that I made it any further south than the Leidseplein!

The city still feels quite large to me - I'm still surprised by just how much of it there is. But I also totally agree that it now feels so much smaller than it used to; which has it's pro's and cons.

I'm certainly glad of the knowledge - but some of the mystique has gone with it which is a touch sad. My early trips to Amsterdam felt truly magical - like a crazy playground for grown-ups and near-do-wells. With a seemingly endless maze of streets and alley's that all looked the same.

On my very first trip with my Girlfriend at the time; probably around 2000ish. We only had a single night in town, arriving mid-afternoon after a long drive from France - she'd gone off shopping and I was dead set on finding the RLD and it's Coffeeshop delights having listened to my brother wax lyrical. I was intent on finding as many establishments as possible in the few hours I had from leaving her in Dam Square (we were staying at the Krasnapolsky) without the aid of the ACD map that my brother would laminate for the next trip I struggled to find a single CS, walked totally the opposite direction for what felt like hours and generally made a tit of myself falling over and spraining my ankle at the end of a torturous weed free (I'd been sober for more than 24 hours at that point having finished my travel pack stash back in Provence a couple days previously) walking tour on what I now know to be a route up the Damrak, back down Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, cutting across through and then down Spuistraat ending up roughly back at Dam Square having seemingly taken every wrong turn guaranteed to make me miss every CS along the way. In the end I asked a policewoman to point me at the RLD and was totally gobsmacked when she said it was 'behind the Krasnapolky'. I even remember asking 'are you sure?'.
Shoot me now.

In the end I think I ended up chancing across Kadinsky - buying something less than impressive, what I have no idea but I want to say White Widow or some such old-school strain. Then ending up in City Hall with some blueberry and some super silver haze which I'd never tried at the time.

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sNc
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Re: Your mental map of Amsterdam

Post by sNc » Sun 24th Sep 2017 11:30 pm

My first visit around 09/10 I did have a trusty print off the then current ACD map...but only a short visit. For the first couple of trips I found the layout confusing and it did indeed feel huge at the time.

Soon I learned to recognise certain buildings or businesses to aid my navigation..but over time have slowly started to recognise certain canals..I also know to use the canal straights as a lead back to the centre if I find myself lost and confused!

At first as a solo traveller Mokum at night made feel uneasy..especially the RLD and the dodgy dudes...this made me stick to the most inner centre ring!

Now im totally at ease with it..feel totally safe and no worry of attack or getting lost.

On my last few trips I have visited more of the suburbs especially West and South..its on discovering these vast areas that it has made it feel the city is bigger than id imagined ...but to echo everyones remarks the centre feels smaller as time goes on...I dont know why but it just does? Maybe its due to the shop closures? The RLD has shrunk on both window and CS fronts when you think of woermestraat etc.

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Fat_old_dwarf
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Re: Your mental map of Amsterdam

Post by Fat_old_dwarf » Wed 27th Sep 2017 02:48 pm

OneHighMofo wrote:
Sun 24th Sep 2017 10:53 pm
In the end I think I ended up chancing across Kadinsky
Funny that. Kadinsky is still one of my blind spots -- I can never remember which is which, or where exactly they are. Sure, I can look it up, but it won't stick, like the difference between a second cousin and a cousin once removed, or the order of succession to the throne after the vaguely memorable Royals.

I know it's fashionable to claim that satnavs and the like are breeding ignorance, but being able to plan and measure routes on my phone has given me a much sharper mental image of the city than I had in the age of disintegrating paper maps.

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OneHighMofo
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Re: Your mental map of Amsterdam

Post by OneHighMofo » Wed 27th Sep 2017 08:09 pm

Same :) I don't think I could pinpoint it on a map even now.
I know it's just off Dam Square somewhere and that's about it!

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DesIreland
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Re: Your mental map of Amsterdam

Post by DesIreland » Wed 4th Oct 2017 11:25 pm

On my first visit to mokum (1999) I came out of central station, carrying a huge suitcase and dressed for Siberia, hoping to get to "Homegrown Fantasy" then onto a hotel in Leidsplein. Got sort lost down the spui, wandering up and down, trying to look casual with the sweat pouring down under layer and layer of clothes and enough luggage for bout three people. Got some directions and cut across into nieu\voor and seen it - Homegrown- like a blessing from heaven with that sort of eye sign staring at me. Sitting there smoking and looking across at the police station was an incredible first experience. Wandered the streets many many times and get happily lost - but not too lost.
The mind is everything. What you think - you become.

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