If A Blog Falls

3.20.2013

If a blog falls... does anybody hear it?

This is the temporary end, for now at least, of Big City Blog. It's actually quite sad to  type this, as strange as it sounds.

First off, my apologies for not posting for several months now. A perfect storm of work, holidays, a very rough and sad time with a sick dog, and the end of the Lonely Planet blogging program all added up to zero bloggage from me.

Lonely Planet decided to stop its program on Dec. 31, 2012, so there are a few dozen untethered travel bloggers out there now, along with myself. But LP were great supporters and provided an excellent platform to allow me to get some exposure globally, so no regrets there at all.

I am still the Amsterdam Local for the Guardian, so my travel itch can still be scratched locally and you can read some tips on great spots in the city:
Guardian City Guide - Amsterdam.

Anyway, combined with a baby on the way and much less travel on the horizon, it all seems to point to a time to stop posting travel posts and start a new venture:

www.papaculture.com

It's a mix of new dad thoughts coupled with random pop culture commentary.

I hope you all head over there and like it, follow it, and spread the word!

I don't know how many people have visited here over the years, or are even continuing to; Big City Blog has reached over 76,000 pageviews since 2009. And it's been quite cool to see the traffic feed over the years, with people checking in from Jakarta to Calgary to France to Australia to New York... (Must stop typing in destinations now. Travel bug activated...).

A very big and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who followed this blog and helped keep me going. If you follow it on Facebook, you will still see updates to it periodically when I can travel more again, or when something really grabs me here in Amsterdam.

Thanks.

Oot and About

10.17.2012

Out of town this week folks, on business of the no-time-to-blog kind. Back next week...

Amsterdam Centraal

10.01.2012



Amsterdam Central Station is the Kim Kardashian of train stations - high maintenance, more than a little dirty, frequently invaded by foreign objects, yet not without its charm at times.

Centraal (the extra 'a' is the Dutch spelling) like so much of the overall Dutch experience, inspires a mix of emotions.

It is not the cleanest of stations, no. Particularly during the perennial garbage strikes that grip the station, when you have to navigate the piles of trash and Euro-trash while you dash to your soon-departing train.


Inside, it's not the nicest-looking of stations either. Any number of major centres in Europe have way more attractive central stations - including Paris' Gare de Lyon and Brussels' Antwerp, to name but two - where you step out and feel as though you are in a museum.

As far as amenities, it's lacking. A couple of fast food kiosks, a Hema (a future post will explain the goodness that is Hema), a pay toilet, and that's kind of it. Save for a few benches and a four-seat Starbucks, you can barely find a spot to sit down in the event that you have to wait to meet someone (an all too frequent experience, thanks to the train company NS, short for Nederlandse Spoorwegen, or No Service). You can't even meet someone for a beer here to ease the pain of a teary farewell or celebrate a homecoming.

And yet.

It's seeing the amazing mix and hum of foreign travellers and locals buzzing through the station from all directions. It's the thousands of bikes stacked seemingly on top of each other just steps from the door, yours included, offering quick access to the city beyond.

It's the water ringing the north and south entrances, a sparkling sight to see on a sunny day when the city is crackling with possibility. And it's the arrival from Amsterdam itself, when the station's exterior of red bricks, gold trim, exterior art work and a beautiful clock tower beckon from far away.

As for which one will age more gracefully, Amsterdam Centraal vs Kardashian, my money's on the one with the less generous seating.








I