A perfect place, Amsterdam?

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Is there a place that is perfect? A place that meets all one’s wishes, expectations and needs? A community of men and friendly beast, that lifts spirit and soul, offers shelter and fulfils the most. A Mecca of sun and sated dreams! A final garden seat in which to rest, repose, restore, revitalise life’s joys, offer an escape from the hovels of hurts. Rivulet of small stones and flowing waters, frogs a croaking and barking dogs with vision of fleeting ducks. Is there such a place and can it be found?

We lived for very long periods in few places, countable on the fingers of one hand. Our main departure from having permanently lived in Australia, were the three years spent in Holland. It was between 1973 and 1976. We have very fond memories of that period. A lovely very old farm-house, a thatched roof and giant oak beams spanning the walls of a very large living room. We had a couple of sheep, an obstinate Shetland Pony and brown chickens all on about two and a half acres. In many ways it was idyllic. But, we did go back!

The obstinate Shetlander and foal

The obstinate Shetlander and foal

On the farm in Holland

On the farm in Holland

Now in final years still left to live, we again dream on for possible places to explore. The kids have gone and grandkids getting ready to tackle life. We love and wish them all the best. Retirement was meant for us. The time is ours and we can afford to be somewhat selfish. May the devil take the hindmost is an expression that seems to occur with greater frequency. A final plunge in unknown pools, a journey to ‘the perfect place’. Of course, deep down we know that it does not exists but in dreams alone. The frangipani flowers but only in warm enough climes where tulips and daffodils will not.

Yesterday I took the luxury of dreaming what it would be like to once again pack up and try a dip into the unknown. The unknown being explored in real estate of Amsterdam, specifically its beautiful centre. You know, something around the Westertoren or indeed in the Jordaan.
This is what I found.

http://www.funda.nl/koop/amsterdam/appartement-48352542-egelantiersgracht-386-iii/fotos/#foto-10

Or this one;

http://www.funda.nl/koop/amsterdam/appartement-48523260-leidsegracht-82-f/fotos/#foto-5

Dream on! Alas, it often involves climbing many stairs and at our age? But just imagine.

Tags: , , , , , ,

48 Responses to “A perfect place, Amsterdam?”

  1. rod Says:

    So you have gone to Amsterdam in your mind without having to figure out what to pack in a suitcase.

    As for the Shetland pony, she maybe hankered after somewhere a bit colder.

    Like

  2. roughseasinthemed Says:

    I like Amsterdam. Think I’d prefer the farm though. Those flats could get cold in winter.

    Like

  3. bkpyett Says:

    These apartments look sophisticated and beautiful, I can see why your heart might want to go back. The only problem going back, things are never quite as you remembered them. Even though your children have grown and moved away, how often would they be able to ‘pop in’? They’d have to stay, which is quite another consideration. Sometimes peace is within, rather than seeking it externally. I do adore these pictures. Maybe you could write stories incorporating these new abodes rather than uprooting and disrupting your lives?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You are right, but things are never as they were and sadly never will be again. H and I are so very aware of that and peace within is practised daily…Some things one learns to live with but never get over.

      We are just dreaming and love to explore alternatives, even if just through internet web-sites.

      Last year we found a terrific farm in Brazil. We did not end up living there and instead are happily settled here in Bowral.

      Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Barbara,
      The internet and blogging is not always for personal heart out- pourings. The risk of bullying by trolls only experienced too well.
      E-mails are a lot less risky.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Yvonne Says:

    Sigh! It never hurts to dream, does it? Who knows when one might come true?

    My word, you did wax lyrical today, Gerard.πŸ™‚

    Like

  5. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    And leave your lovely garden? And would Milo like an apartment in Amsterdam?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh yes, Milo would be the love of Amsterdam. So many parked bicycles to cock his legs on, so many people to get stroked by. The friendly corner butcher, the street buskers, the crowds on the streets. A JRT’s paradise. (The ducks!) Only kidding. We are happy here.

      Unbelievably it was 9C here yesterday and this morning 8C. In Finland in H’s village it was 1C!
      Here it si mid-sommer, in Finland mid-winter.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    And now this? When will it stop.?
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-30/un-questions-return-of-asylum-seekers-from-manus-island/6056752

    Like

    • auntyuta Says:

      How can it be stopped? Here is what Australian HRW (Human Rights Watch) director Elaine Pearson said: “Both Papua New Guinea and Australia are clearly failing in their commitment to provide safe and humane conditions for asylum seekers.”
      Is there a commitment to provide safe and humane conditions for asylum seekers? Clearly not. Apparently our government wants to watch how Papua New Guinea sends most of them back to where they came from. Do most people in Australia still like this government? And what other government would be the alternative?
      It is unbelievable, how governments can be so cruel towards people in need. Is it really that difficult to provide safe and humane conditions for asylum seekers? What are they scared of?

      Like

  7. M-R Says:

    You have to try to picture them with no furnishings of any kind: makes a difference … And are you so wealthy then …?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Real estate has plunged in Holland! And they would look even better with our choice of furniture. Can you imagine something for E500,000,- in the middle of Sydney?
      Even so, I would miss the meat pie with sauce.πŸ˜‰.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    What a nice thing to say M-R. Ok, that’s it, we are staying put.

    Like

  9. petspeopleandlife Says:

    It is a sad state of affairs when we age that we can not have the things we desire because there is always something that prevents us from taking those steps.-family, health, friends, Those are the major obstacles but we adjust our thinking and reality sets in.

    The apartments looked so bright and airy. Both seemed lovely but did you mention stairs? No elevators? That would really be the clincher. So the next best thing is a visit and you’ll have Milo wagging his entire body when you return home to the “big island.”

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes true, the spirit is willing but the body becomes less so. I haven’t yet reached the level of falling over or forgetting where the public toilets are but one never knows.
      Dreaming adventures a luxury we can still all engage in.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. bkpyett Says:

    Bowral is beautiful with the cooler climate and the magnificent gardens. I can see it doesn’t have the buzz of Amsterdam, but every place has its special qualities. Dreams are good! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. berlioz1935 Says:

    We, who have once changed our abode are forever wondering whether there is a Shangrila somewhere else. Searching, like the proverbial “Flying Dutchman”, for a place to rest our tired bones we become restless. We will never find it as not all our loves ones will be able to follow. Lonlyness in Paradise is as bad as Hell.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but the loneliness of Australian cities and towns compared with life in European cities and towns never quit left me. Australia seems to have followed the American housing model. The towns’ centres are mainly for shops and commercial offices and people are housed around them, usually in single houses. A car becomes then essential to get to shops, schools and back home. That sort of architecture is pretty grim.

      When the shops and offices close after 6pm,the towns become deadly quiet. No one around.

      I have always missed the stimulation of people walking within the city, conversations on the street, a closeness of communities.

      In some area this is changing and people prefer higher densities and closer to ammenities.

      But, you are right.Paradise is elusive.

      Like

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        Berlin is like Amsterdam. You see people strolling in the streets. Small shops are everywhere. Public transport is almost perfect.

        Melbourne is a bit like. I prefer it Sydney.

        Like

  12. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Number two for me.πŸ™‚ I’ve really like Amsterdam when we have been there. Last time it was a small walkup room but it was in the heart of the downtown. _Curt

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I lived in Amsterdam for a while when bachelor and worked in a bank doing bookkeeping. Catch the tram each day wearing a suit and tie. I was called for national service, passed the medical, but I went back to Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Andrew Says:

    You may yet have time to explore and enjoy new or old pastures, Gerard. Look on the bright side. One of the things we shall be keen to leave behind is stairs. 47 of them top to bottom in our old house.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Our present house is walk in with the plinth of 5cm the most we have to tackle going inside. Outside is the same level as our living areas. Internal stairs to our office and spare bathroom and another bedroom.
      The places in AMSTERDAM are mainly top level or second to third levels. Not suitable for us getting old.
      There is Curacao, a warm and balmy place and many Dutch retirees seem to be drawn to it.
      Then there is Finland. A very progressive country and even though cold, has lovely warm summers and great many lakes. Very friendly and honest people.
      I am really curious how you will take to Northern home again Andrew! How will it go?
      I wish you and Mrs Ha all the strength and fortitude but you will make a go of it. It is your place of birth.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Silver in the Barn Says:

    The definition of the perfect place changes as we get older too, doesn’t it, Gerard? What I once envisioned as exactly how I’d like to live isn’t necessarily the case today. Somehow, even though I still love my old “barn,” I am entertaining thoughts of how nice it would be to live in a vibrant city. Dangerous thoughts….. By the way, I’ve never been to Amsterdam and so long to see it someday soon.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, you must visit Amsterdam. It is lovely and great for raw herrings and friendly dogs. They used to be allowed on public transport. (dogs) I am not sure if that is the case today. The choice between the serenity of barn and country or city and crowds is what many struggle with.

      We live close to public hospital but don’t know what that is telling us. I often see staff sitting outside puffing away. Inside hospital grounds it is strictly forbidden. I suppose it is hard and stressful work.

      Like

  15. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    We’ve reached the stage where we realise that we will not be taking up many of the options in life that had always been possibilities. It must be difficult to have roots in two places so far apart. The apartments look gorgeous… but a garden?

    Like

  16. Patti Kuche Says:

    Good for you Gerard for keeping the spirit of restless adventure alive. One day we will all be dead and not going anywhere except for blowing in the wind after that. I never thought I would be happy to “spend the rest of my life” here in NYC – missing family who live everywhere else, the tiniest social life ever with the fewest friends ever, and in an apartment on top of a 5th floor walk up. The city has so much to either take or leave, is in no way perfect but perfect for me but then I have low standards. Good luck to you and Helvi with whatever you decide!

    Like

  17. bkpyett Says:

    Sorry Gerard, I didn’t mean to get personal. I’m happy to e-mail if you’d prefer that.

    Like

  18. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist Says:

    As you get older dreams are a great way to travel. We used to travel everywhere looking at each place from a view of “could I live there?” Now that we have found the perfect place (for the time being anyway) I can travel and just be a tourist. Problem is dogs keep us home, my husband isn’t interested in doing the long haul flights anymore and I’m studying. So I dream on also.

    Like

  19. Master of Something Yet Says:

    I can see myself doing the same thing in retirement. What am I saying? I do it now. But we are most definitely in dream-only status with the offspring at awkward ages. I have dreamed of living in far away places my whole life and I’m sure I will continue to do so.

    Like

  20. Adrian Oosterman Says:

    Interesting article Gerard. Just one question, why don’t you stop dreaming and just get on a plane and go and visit the home country again. You have the will and the money, so why not do it. You can take your time to get over to Holland, make a couple of stops during your journey. Also, spend some of your money and fly first class to make your tripmore comfortable and enjoyable. While you are over there, fly onto Finland, I am sure Helvi would enjoythat. Give it very serious consideration. I can look after Milo……………………………..Aadje

    Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 22:32:52 +0000 To: adrianoosterman@hotmail.com

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I tried clicking your e-mail but it doesn’t walk. I’ll try it the conventional way brother.
      There is a gauntlet of appointments, including some medical ones, not unusual at our age and when all that and more are at an end…we will do just that…travel and see again Holland and even Finland.

      I can do with a herring or two.

      Like

  21. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I’m really going to put the cat amongst the pigeons! I’d move to Amsterdam in a shot. It’s always been my favourite city. Go! Go! Go!πŸ™‚

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, a great city and it has more than just charm. People on normal bikes, no helmets, calmly sitting upright knowing where they are going. None of that mania like here where bike-riding seems to have fallen in a kind of Tour De France race. Everyone having to wear the latest gear with large lettering, demonically bent over the handle bars as if time is running out.

      Like

  22. ThePoliticalVagina Says:

    I can fully understand your longings Gerard. I also understand you’re hankering for some kind of community spirit, is it still there in Holland? I also miss the sense of community, of being a member of a larger kinder group. We all seem so divorced from our emotional bonds in our busy busy business. Aging is sort of slowing it down for me. I’m glad to know you.Your writing never ceases to impress and delight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That is a very nice compassionate comment. I am pleased and happy to know you too.
      I have always had an idea of finding an inclusive and caring community.
      I know Holland used to be caring, hence their levels of social welfare in caring for the aged, sick and those less able to look after themselves. I don’t know how it is now.
      Here we live in a friendly but very private commmunity. Frozen rock solid in conservatism.They pat our dog and make general but friendly comments, nothing too personal. Privacy is held as all important. Distance from each other is paramount. We hate it!

      That’s why we like Bali. People seems to be around each other all day every day, and live for the most part outside their homes on the street, talking and joking, laughter everywhere,.only to go inside at night for sleep. Everyone is talking to each other, sharing joys but also plights and sorrows.
      It was also like that in, Thailand, Italy and in Argentina.
      I am not sure if that is easily available in the English speaking world. Perhaps in Manhatten or Amsterdam, Paris. I don’t know.
      Do you know PV?

      Liked by 1 person

  23. ThePoliticalVagina Says:

    We are on the same page methinks Gerard. I hanker for New Zealand sometimes because of this. I lived there for about 8 years back in the 80’s and felt more welcome there than in my home town. It’s probably changed now but it always surprised me at the time how friendly and helpful everyone was. I believe it’s the Maori culture’s influence. The places you mention I think, still have a strong indigenous culture. These are the people are still close to their own people – they value each other and not money. The last article I published on my wordpress “From Chiapas to Rojava: Seas Divide Us, Autonomy Binds Us” speaks about forming a more organic (non capitalistic) society but funnily enough it wasn’t that that drew me in. It was the mention of the Kurds. I’m really curious about these people. What they are doing sets a great example. I would love to be able form a co-op to buy land with the express intent of living in a more authentic way – as a village community.
    Wouldn’t it be lovely?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: