TOUR DIARY: Dutch National Parks, German Castles, and Human-Sized Cages

After switching back to driving on the right side of the road, I headed into Electric Monkey Studios in North Amsterdam to record a special performance for the 2 Meter Sessions. The series began in 1987, and they’ve featured everyone from Nirvana to REM to James Taylor, so it was an honor to be invited. After the performance, I took the ferry across the harbor to the city center for a relaxing sunset dinner by one of the canals. Though it was just the briefest of visits, Amsterdam remains my favorite city, and I’m really looking forward to coming back for an extended stay when I have some time off in November.

With my spare time in the Netherlands, I decided to get some outdoor time and exercise in the crisp fall air. My first stop was the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, a coastal area of forests and dunes. Much of Amsterdam’s drinking water is filtered through the dunes here, and the area is also home to the country’s largest population of fallow deer. I was lucky enough to catch a few stags hanging around near the hiking trail I’d chosen. I believe it’s mating season this time of year, and the males were approaching the ladies by making some terrifying honking noises that sounded more like angry geese than a majestic bucks. Regardless, I felt it wisest to keep my distance.

The second area I visited was De Hoge Veluwe, a gorgeous national park that alternates between forest and desert. In the center is a museum with the second biggest collection of Van Gogh paintings anywhere in the world. The park has hundreds of free bikes which you can pick up and drop off as you please, so I enjoyed a beautiful ride in the warm Dutch sun. The weather has been amazing since I got here, mostly sunny and in the 60s everywhere I go, but I can feel it starting to turn now, and the nights are getting colder and colder.

Next up was Germany, where I played headline shows in Krefeld and Recklinghausen. I’d never visited either before, but I had a great time at both concerts and I hope to make it back to each soon. The drives over here tend to be much shorter than in America, so I have plenty of spare time for exploring during the days, and in Germany I paid a visit to the imposing Schloss Lembeck castle, the historic city of Munster (where the spire of St. Lambert’s church still boasts 3 human-sized cages that have hung for nearly 500 years since they were last hoisted with the remains of execution/torture victims), and the seriously impressive Druisburg Zoo.

Recklinghausen marked the end of my headline shows for a while, so stay tuned for next time when I’ll share pictures from the dates I’m playing with American Aquarium and Luke Winslow King!

Anthony D'Amato