Since mid-September, I am taking a creative writing course in Amsterdam. Whereas my classmates are impressed by the fact that I come all the way from Rotterdam, I find it no sacrifice to visit Amsterdam every week. It is actually quite inspiring to come out of your own town. It forces you to move out of your habitual zone. It opens your eyes to your surroundings. It enables you as it were to look at a city with tourist eyes.
Tourist eyes are fresh. They look at a place for the first time. They pay attention to details. They are open to recognizing the beauty. They are set to enjoy. They get amazed. A tourist does not know if s/he will ever come back to the same spot, so s/he looks carefully, trying to absorb the scene. The senses are at work so as to record these precious moments. To immortalize the beauties, the tourist makes pictures.
Yes, I am going through the streets of Amsterdam as a tourist every Wednesday. I enjoy the autumn progress as leaves turn from green to yellow. Amsterdam is beautiful. The canals, the houses, the bridges, the bikes… It is so serene, especially if you are a tourist. I watch the locals pass by on their bikes. They are calling or whatsapping. (Yes, the Dutch can bike under all conditions!) They are hurrying to their next appointment or rushing home with their groceries. I am so lucky to be a tourist in Amsterdam again.
This time around, I make pictures. I realize that I do not have many pictures of Amsterdam as I had never thought it would be last time I would visit this city. I knew I would come there again and again as I fell in love with its unique beauty at the first sight. I make pictures now because I want to be a tourist, again and again. Try it, also in your own city. I used to do it also in my hometown Istanbul when I was working in the city center. I looked at it through tourist eyes as I crossed the Galata Bridge from Eminönü to Karaköy every day. Life is too short to save your tourist eyes for weekends and holidays. Enjoy your precious city!