Saturday, March 15, 2008


I am in Amsterdam where I will make a presentation at the UIC High Speed Rail Conference.

I am using the free internet at the public library. The Amsterdam public library is a beautiful building on the waterfront ... although to be truthful, most of the city seems like it's on the waterfront, either large bodies of water or small ones (canals). Walking around is fun. Also interesting is that all the houses have beams sticking out of the attic rooms with hooks for pulleys. It looks like they are used to raise bulky things like furniture to the upper floors since the stairways inside are narrow and steep. What was interesting to me is the fact that they are in the new buildings as well as the old ones, maybe just architectural, but they also seem quite useful.

We visited the concert house last night, also on the waterfront, and it's a beautiful building. It has a wonderful restaurant called Star Ferry (named after the famous Hong Kong ferry company) on the water level with huge windows looking out on the harbour and train station. In San Francisco or Zurich such a room would have been totally full, but there was plenty of room (the concerts started later) and it was quiet. The food looked like it would be very good. The fresh mint tea was great.

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