In Amsterdam, things carry on every day 24/7 and Sunday is a day much like any other.
When I first arrived there, this wasn’t the case.
Sundays were lazy days when the shops were shut and the purpose of the day was to rest up and just kick back and do nothing.
In those days I worked in a hotel on the Rembrandtplein and sometimes had to do the breakfast shift on a Sunday.
It was such a luxury, to get up early and cycle to work in the early summer mornings. It was so quiet and desolate andit felt so special. As if the morning was yours and yours alone, as if the whole city existed only for you, alone on the empty streets, quietly pedalling along.
The world was asleep and dreaming,the city had stopped what it was doing for a while and you cycled through it like some secret being, some unseen observer.
I always loved to approach the Rembrandtplein on mornings like this, and catch sight of the odd pale and blinking figure coming out of the Cool Down Cafe, looking the worse for wear after a night on the tiles, the party of the night before clealry visible in the purple circles under their eyes and the slightly stunned expression on their exhausted faces.
It was always funny. You’d catch their eye and they’d look at you in disbelief as you whizzed past all fresh and perky and irritatingly healthy. It made them slink and shudder a little.
It made me laugh.
These days though, Amsterdam is all go go go and Sundays are busy shopping days, so I tend to avoid the city centre onSundays now, in an attempt to get at least one day away from all that stimulation.
It means I never see those night owls anymore, shrinking in the light of a Sunday morning. Oh well.
But Seville! Well this is a Catholic city of course, so Sunday is respected. It’s a special day. A church day, a rest day, a quiet day.
I walked into town Sunday through empty streets and past closed shops. And immediately I was transported back to those earlymorning cycle trips in Amsterdam.
The silence, the idea that everyone was inside and unaware of me as I wandered by, was exactly the same.
I had forgotten that Sundays can be like this. Can be so special.
I think a city needs a day of peace and quiet like this, a day when the buildings can rest up if you like.
I guess that makes no sense. I mean, buildings are inanimate, they don’t need to rest up. But in a way perhaps they do.
All that noise, all the sounds of traffic, of laughter and conversation, must resonate a little, must seep into brick workand window frames and foundations, no?
I reckon buildings want a bit of peace from our incessant buzzing. A day off from all of us.
I think that way, after a bit of a rest from one another, it’s easier to appreciate things afresh. To wake up and buzz about the streets again and enjoy it all with rested eyes.
But I’m just a romantic idiot I guess…..in any case it sure was pleasant to wander in peace and get a good look at the spacesaround the buildings and streets, without hoardes of harrassed shoppers getting in the way.