It turns out that they have Indian summers here in Amsterdam. At what should be the start of winter, a sudden snap-summer arrives every year. And the Dutch take full advantage.
Tables and chairs appear along the canals, beer is drunk, picnics are had, boats are motored and everyone is smiling. Life is best in the warm weather.
There are of course night strolls to be had as well. Walking with Paul along the canals hand in hand in the twilight is going to be one of the great memories of these months here.
So, on one of our little walks we come by a church. Amsterdam architecture is gingerbread houses all leaning together, all more or less the same height. So this church with steeples that disappeared into the sky stuck out like a sore thumb.
It was gorgeous. As everything is when you’re overseas. In LA I pass a church and wonder how many of the congregation contributed to Prop8. I pass a church here and I’m all photos and sandstone envy.
That aside, it was pretty amazing and Paul and I pause on our walk to take in the power of it. It makes you realize how incredible religion was a hundred years ago. In other cities, the Churches have been dwarfed by skyscrapers. Here in Amsterdam it still looks like it did for the last few hundred years. So when the church is bigger than everything else around it and you navigate by them to get around the city, you see why religion cast such huge sway over the people.
As Paul and I took in the church, two guys in tuxedos in the church doorway started yelling at us about the building they stood in.
Dutch Guy 1: It doesn’t work!!!
Dutch Guy 2: Really! It’s broken!
Then we all laughed. Boom! Thousands of years of pomp, fear and ceremony gone in a couple of seconds. And there really is something extra funny when someone makes a joke for you in your language.
Forgive us father.