Canals play a huge part in Amsterdam daily life. Amsterdammers live on them, the eat and drink on them, and they play on them. Last night my Amsterdam friends and I decided to participate in the latter and attended the annual Prinsengrachtconcert which takes place on the canal at the Pulitzer hotel. For the 32nd year running, a floating stage is set up in the middle of the Prinsengracht or Prince's Canal, right in the centre of town so Amsterdammers can enjoy some open air classical music. As it's a floating concert many attendees do so from the comfort of their private boats ranging from Miami vice style speedboats to what can only be called bathtubs with a motor.
It's quite a sight to see the canal clogged with boats carrying people sipping wine and nibbling on cheese. As did we. We'd packed some quality Dutch wine, Gouda cheese and other nibbles and spread out our blanket on the quay. Ready for some Puccini, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.
Before the music started the cheese and the wine bottle were opened and so were the skies. We huddled together like penguins under our umbrellas trying desperately to keep the rain out of our drinks and food. When the olives and Gouda cubes started to float away in a large puddle we figured that that was our cue to seek shelter in a nearby brown cafe. Unfortunately we did miss most of the concert.