Friday, February 19, 2010

The Amsterdam Apartment

OK, as promised, here are my apartment photos.

Of course I'm on the 2nd floor (in European terms, the ground level is the... er... "ground floor"... and the next level up is the "first floor". So what the Americans usually term the "second floor" is actually the "first floor" here. Confused yet?)

All you need to know is I'm on the highest floor and there's no elevator.

Apparently every single old Dutch house has skinny, tiny stairs like these. And the entire staircase is awfully steep (I feel like throwing up each time I attempt to go down the stairs). The width of each step is probably about half the length of my foot. So yeah - you can't take a full step with your whole foot on each step. You literally have to face sideways in order to walk down the stairs safely (like a crab). Or even face the stairs and walk down backwards, kinda like how you would go down a ladder.

Good luck to people on those drunken nights out on these stairs. Now... imagine hauling a 25kilo Samsonite up these stairs. All I can say is: I'm glad I bumped into the caretaker on the way in and that chivalry still exists in these parts. Heh.

This is the interior. (What glorious space, compared to the tiny room I was in before!)

And here's the notorious throne which had me thinking "Yeah, I'm livin' the dream, baby" as I was scrubbing it yesterday. (It also kinda feels like compared to the rest of the apartment, this loo is due for a refurbishment!)

(FYI - I've got such heebyjeebies with the dirty-cleaning-person that I've since found more towels in the wardrobe to lay over those awful toilet/ bath mats. I mean - who knows when the last time those were washed and WHAT is lurking in them?! ...incidentally, the towels smell of cigarette smoke. ICK!)

The kicker about this apartment though must be the view. Mind you, I lugged my bags across the canals in the middle of the night, so there was nothing to see in the dark when I arrived.

So imagine what a lovely surprise it was in the morning when I drew the curtains to salute the sun. Check out what a MUCH BETTER practice space this is now. Yes, I took away the coffee table to put my yoga mat there. And the bonus is: right underneath the windows there are radiators (between the window and the floor), so I'm practising right in front of a toasty heater. :)

There is either under-floor heating too, or maybe parts of the living room floor are near the downstairs neighbour's heater/ lights or something. Coz there's a patch on the floor next to my mat that's nice and warm too. So I can't really complain since I'm practising in my regular yoga tank tops (no need for more layers!)

This is the view as I'm practising (yes, it's so cold that the water in the canal has iced up in chunks).

It's nice to finally unpack ALL my clothes and hang them up in a wardrobe. The last time they were hanging in a wardrobe was in Sydney (and I've since been in Singapore and Cape Town). Wow. I have been living out of a suitcase for a while now!


  1. very nice!!! the view is really delicious... sorry about the smell of the towells, that would annoy me...

    By the way, America is wierd in more than just the ground floor not being the ground floor... also, some buildings do NOT have a 13 floor, just because... can you believe how crazy we can be? (must include myself as I am an american citizen after all)

  2. Oh yeah, I remember that too (I went to university in Boston, so spent a lot of time in the US and quite familiar with its peculiarities!) Some places in Hong Kong not only change the number of floor 13, all the floors with the number 4 don't exist either ("4" when translated into Cantonese sounds like "DIE!"). So the Cantonese being EXCEPTIONALLY superstitious, follow both Western and Chinese superstitions! :) you can imagine, some lifts in HK "skip" quite a few floors then...

  3. wow... what a view! Gorgeous! The apartment is great (fortunately we cannot smell it or see nail clippings). The heater arrangement is pretty convenient- but I think I'd end up gazing out the window mid-posture. I need to face a blank wall. ha ha! (the mind of the yogi is weak)

  4. You make a very good point. The window straight across in front of me is an office, I think. And throughout my practice I was watching 2 ladies as they entered work and went about their morning. Oh, I was also watching some workmen fixing one of the doors downstairs. So... HAHAHA. I am either not practising early enough (when there are "less distractions" as Sharath says), or I am also not fully concentrating in my practice. Hehe. It's just too gorgeous to cover up the view! :p

  5. hi Skippety
    i stayed a week in a pied-a-terre in the old troissieme in Paris on a third floor and the stairs were similar, right from an scene in an Opera.

    how long will you be in Amsterdam? it would be interesting to plot on a world map all the places you've been to.



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