They were a few hundred metres apart but worlds away. It was the juxtaposition of all juxtapositions. I can't remember the name of the road but it was typical of the canal districts of Amsterdam. Those beautiful 4 & 5 story slightly jumbled townhouses on each side, with a canal splitting the middle. It was about a 40 minute walk back to my hotel. The neighbourhood on both sides of the river the canal was about to feed into looked pretty nice. I'd say I was about to enter the upmarket part of Amsterdam once I turned right at the end of the street. It was a much better view than the Metro train ride I'd taken that morning.
As I came to the end of the road, I noticed a simple sign for a two-star hotel. It was green neon and as humble as you could hope to find. The sign fell midway between the street lamps that line the edge of the canal, so it was a little dark. This just added to the mood and atmosphere the sign was creating. Being dark, it wasn't an easy shot to take due to the dark position on the street. It was the simplicity that made it so beautiful in my eyes.
500 metres with a turn to the right in the middle and the world famous Amstel Hotel appeared across the river. The hotel is five star and simple screams old-world charm. I'm guessing it's around 150 years old but I'm not sure. It wasn't lit up fully as I could see floodlights around the buildings facade that weren't fired up. The river wasn't flat by any means so the river wasn't going to glow and r fleet like the small canals throughout the city. It took some time but eventually the river and that amazing hotel started to hand back some nice images.
I moved off the bridge to the shore and started taking a long exposure pic when a canal boat came past. I thought it would kill the picture but it moved fast enough to allow a beautiful orangey-yellow streak of movement through the photo. I waited for another but the cold got to me and I headed towards my own less beautiful hotel.
The two pictures, taken 500 metres and 10minutes apart couldn't have been more different. One simple, humble, atmospheric and in my eyes quite beautiful. The other much more classical, classy, stylish with a bit of a difference through the centre. It summed up how I'd like to be as I grow into the second half of my life. I want to have the style of the Amstel but also have the humility and simplicity of the tiny two-star. Both beautiful to my eye.
And I also want a little streak of something original in there as well.