Melbourne 2023 – Part 4

Tuesday 14th February

Today Pat and I paid another visit to the Beaumaris Men’s Shed where Bob, one of the members gave an interesting and informative presentation on a drawing package called Sketchup, although designed mainly for creating drawings of buildings, as Bob demonstrated, it is ideal for producing drawings of pieces to be made in the Shed. We then returned to P&K’s where I helped Pat with a word processor for the production of his latest book on recycling.

We then all returned to Aspendale to celebrate Graeme’s birthday, we were joined in the garden by Sean, Moni, and the boys for a BBQ in the evening sunshine. The celebrations were topped off with another of Briony’s cake creations, this time the theme was an Aussie Rules football pitch. We agreed that it was a great day and I felt it was so good to be here to celebrate it with him.

Wednesday 15th February

As today was predicted to be rather warm, I decided to stay home and sort out some of my photographs and blog posts, plus I thought that if I had any spare time that I would help tidy up the garden a bit. As usual, time drifted away from me and I never got near the garden, however, I did manage to get my blog updated and it was good to just relax a bit in the sunshine.

Thursday 16th February

Today I decided to get my walking shoes on again and head out, firstly to the suburb of Richmond to see if the 50-metre Dimmeys mural, by Hayden Dewar, was still there and what condition it was in, I was very pleased to see that it was indeed still there and, apart from a couple of little tags, in good condition, (Click on this link to read about it and see the images from when I visited in 2018). As the day was starting to heat up, (it eventually got to be over 35 degrees), I picked up lunch from the supermarket in the Dimmeys building and had an enjoyable lunch just watching the world go by. After lunch, I thought that I would visit some of the murals shown on my app, this took me initially to the Clifton Hill area to find that a very good-looking mural had been painted over, which was a bit disappointing, rather than continuing through Clifton Hill, I went back to the Fitzroy and Collingwood area to photograph some more from the app, it was a mixed bag sort of afternoon, I found some good murals, some not so good and plenty that had been spoiled by loads of tagging.

It turned out to be really sunny and hot, which took me into a nice little Collinwood bar called the Gem, where I had a nice pot of ale and a blether with some regulars, this is one of the things I like about Melbourne, the people are so friendly and just like Glasgow, like nothing better than chatting.

As the afternoon wore on and I was beginning to weary in the heat, I took a tram to South Yarra to meet Graeme for a pint in the Arcadia Hotel near his work before catching the train to Mordialloc where we stopped for a meal in one of the local hostelries. On our return home, we were greeted by Briony and her friend Simon, who was the best man at their Australian wedding, it was good to catch up with him.

Friday 17th February

It was a scorcher today with temperatures reaching the high 30’s so it was a stay-at-home day, although we walked to Aspendeli, a nice new deli/cafe just around the corner from the house, we had to leave Joffrey at home though as the pavements were too hot for his paws. By the late afternoon I was getting a bit bored so decided to chance the weather, covered myself in sunscreen and with my wide-brimmed hat on I ventured out to find a mural by Hayden Dewar which I had read was nearby, after a long walk into an industrial estate, I gave up as it was just too exhausting in the heat to go too far. I think I turned back at the right time as the weather suddenly changed, the wind got up and it started to rain, I managed to get some shelter in a petrol station forecourt until the rain stopped, and the sun came back out. I then headed home, stopping only to sit for a while to watch a local cricket match ( really it was an excuse to just sit for a while). The only consolation for this trip was a schooner of ale in the nearby Braeside Brewery on my travels.

Saturday 18th February

This morning whilst Briony took Joffrey to his Rally exercise class, Graeme and I caught up with the papers, on Bri & Joffrey’s return we went to a community market in the special needs school around the corner, it was a nice place to see how the school integrates with the community, and we all had a nice lunch into the bargain.

In the afternoon Graand I had a lazering masterclass, before going out to the garage to make some things for the family, Graeme is a quick learner so I don’t think I will get too many calls for help in the future.

Sunday 19th February

Today we all had a quiet morning, reading papers, catching up with emails and puzzles etc., before heading over to Urban Ground for Briony’s birthday bash, this bar/food court, which is only a 10-minute walk away was an ideal place to hold it, they had arranged a private area for our group which was next to the bar and adjacent food stalls. All of the Cullin clan and plenty of Briony’s friends turned up, it was so good to see them all there with their expanding families, Briony’s popularity meant that some of her friends had travelled quite some distance to be there, one guy even altered his journey from New York to be there. The party went on into the evening and I can honestly say the walk back across the park seemed much longer, perhaps the open bar they had laid on made the difference.

Monday 20th February

Today I went out mural hunting again, I started off in the suburb of Brunswick to see a mural on a silo near the railway station showing the outgoing New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Arden, showing her embracing a Muslim woman, this was painted by Melbourne artist Loretta Lizzie, after the devastating Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019.

Brunswick was I felt a nice place so I hung around, wandering its streets and lanes and taking photographs of murals before catching a tram to Collingwood to visit Easey’s for lunch, this place, in a converted Melbourne train, on the rooftop, still with its retro seats and decor, heavily graffitied though, is a nod the origins of hip hip and graffiti, it really was pretty cool to eat your lunch on a 1970’s train on top of a building looking out over the city. I stayed in the Collingwood area snapping away until it was time to catch the bus down to South Yarra to meet Graeme for our journey home.

Tuesday 21st February

Tuesday being Tuesday it was men’s shed day as they were having an induction day for new members at Pat’s shed in Beaumaris, he took me first to the local one in Mordialloc, this shed is limited for workshop space suits its members very well as they consider it to be more of a social space where the meet mainly to chat and play games etc.

Following that we travelled to a shed Pat had wanted to visit for some time, the Dingley Village Men’s Shed, situated in the nearby Braeside Park, we were both very impressed with the shed, they had a large well equipped workshop, covering woodwork, metalwork, welding and car servicing, with a large well-used cycle repair and refurbishment section. In addition to the workshops, there are well-equipped art, photographic, and computing sections, they even have a large flight simulator setup with some licensed pilots who are willing to assist. They, like all of the sheds I have visited, do great work for the local community, however, the Dingley one is the only one I have seen with a small injection moulding setup where they recycle plastic milk bottles, turning them into picnic tables and benches, very innovative. I must admit that all this talk of men’s sheds may seem boring to some but I have really enjoyed visiting them and hearing about how it benefits men’s health.

We then returned to Aspendale to meet up with Briony and Kay for a nice lunch in the Aspendeli, Pat and I then travelled to Beaumaris to see a very good mural by Julian Clavijo on a beach hut near the Sailing club boathouse before going home. As it was sunny I sat reading my book before boredom set in causing me to get out the trimmer (they call them whipper snippers here) and do a bit of tidying up in the garden.

Due to all the exciting things we have planned for the remainder of my stay, I think this will be the last blog post from Australia, I will however finish off the blog when I get home, (jet lag permitting). There will also be some pages full of the wide and varied range of street and silo art I found during my time here, so watch this space.

Melbourne 2023 – Part 3

Monday 6th February

Following on from the previous weeks I decided to make Monday a day of rest, so I chilled out catching up with the UK paper, doing my regular puzzles and reading my book. By lunchtime I had had enough so decided to dig out Graeme’s mower and set about cutting the grass, this was followed by me attacking the weeds on the paths, boy is the ‘onion grass’ here one tough weed. Job done, I felt that I had earned the right to sit in the sun with a beer with Joffrey beside me.

Tuesday 7th February

Today was the day to visit one of Pat’s favourite haunts, the Bayside Men’s Shed. I got picked up by Pat & Kay, Kay left us there and went off to join her walking group , leaving Pat and me to play with all the big boy toys. It was nice to meet up again with some of Pat’s friends that I had met on a previous visit, and it was interesting to see all of the various projects taking shape. At 11:00 everything stopped and we all gathered to see a presentation by one of the members on model aviation, it was quite interesting with some practical demonstrations using model planes of all sizes and types. The presentation was followed by a BBQ lunch where all the members had a chance to socialise and have a blether. We then were collected by Kay and we returned to their home in Beaumaris for a coffee, Pat then decided to bring out his collection of RC helicopters and drones to try to put into practice what we had been shown. We had a short stroll around Beaumaris before returning for dinner when Graeme and Briony joined us. Another good day.

Wednesday 8th February

Today I decided to hit one of Melbourne’s suburbs to take some photographs of street art as shown on one of my apps. I chose to visit Fitzroy as it was fairly easy to reach, a train to Flinders Street then a tram to Gertrude Street (2nd coolest street in the world according to Time Out magazine) before a long walk up Brunswick Street and its associated lanes and side streets. I was not disappointed with what I found, there were some decent quality murals, especially the Fitzroy Faces on Cecil Street, this 50-metre wall has 7 large portraits by the artists; Rone, Adnate, Sofles, Heesco, Dvate, Cam Scale and Jason Parker. I did find, however, that there was the usual amount of tagging in the area which had wiped out some good work I had seen on previous visits. Back in the city, I had a wee wander before stopping for a late lunch before heading back to Aspendale where after dinner I started to get some order into my street art photographs of Frankston.

Thursday 9th February

Today I decided to try out Graeme’s bicycle, I pumped up the tyres and figured out how to reset the lock before going down the track alongside the creek for a bit, to say that I didn’t enjoy it was an understatement, I found the bike heavy and a bit difficult, I tried to change gear and the chain came off, so after I put it back on I returned home and spent the rest of the morning sitting in the sun reading my book. After lunch I walked to Mordialloc to pick up some shopping and a bottle of cough syrup before meeting Graeme off the train, rather than waiting in the pub, I took a stroll down to the beach and spent some time enjoying watching the local surf club training for beach rescues, much too energetic for me. Before heading home, Graeme and I had a lovely curry in Saffron, the local curry shop.

Friday 10th February

Today I decided to revisit the Richmond suburb to see if the street art scene had changed and to find some new pieces as shown on my Street Art Cities app. I was a little disappointed to find many good pieces painted over and not too many new works. I wandered quite a bit trying to find some from the app to no avail. In fact, the only thing I found of interest was the Ikea store where I stopped for a lunch of some traditional meatballs. I returned to a traditional Aussie BBQ out on the deck, we were joined by P&K and we finalised details for our Silo Art tour.

Saturday 11th February

Today P&K and I set off on our Silo Art tour, it took us around 6 hours, with a break in Ballarat for lunch, to reach our Grampians destination of Halls Gap, where we checked into our rooms in the Gariwerd Motel (Gariwerd is the aboriginal name for the Grampians). Once settled in and unpacked we went for a wander around town, stopping off for a coffee where we planned our next few days. We returned to the Motel for an afternoon siesta, before heading out for dinner in the Halls Gap Tavern, it was interesting watching the local wildlife such as, wallabies, cockatiels and Kookaburras in their natural habitat. As we had an early start in the morning we decided to have an early night and returned to the Motel.

Sunday 12th February

After a nice breakfast, provided by Kay, we were picked up by Justin from Grampians Tours for the start of our trip, our first stop was the Stick Shed at Murtoa this was an interesting place to visit, created during WWII, to store surplus grain, it is built using 560 unmilled Ash trees and corrugated iron, at 270 metres long, it certainly is a sight to see, We then stopped at the Woods’ Farming and Heritage Museum in Rupanyuip for a coffee and chickpea flour brownies, which were very nice, the museum was a fabulous place to visit, jammed full of interesting articles collected by 5 generations of the Woods family.

From the museum we made our way to the Sheep Hill silo painted by Matt Adnate, the bright colourful mural, featuring 4 local Indigenous people, certainly takes your breath away when you first see it.

Our next stop was at a town called Brim to see a silo painted by one of my favourite artists, Guido Van Helten, this mural in his familiar monochromatic style, features 4 local farmers and was actually the first silo to be painted on the mural trail in 2016, over the years the colours have faded until the artwork look as if it was almost a part of the original concrete of the silo.

We returned to Rupanyup to view a silo painted by Russian artist Julia Volchkova in 2017, this artwork, again in a monochromatic style, features 2 of the youngsters of the town wearing their sports attire (netball and Australian Rules football), on a pair of squat steel silos. The evolving rust spots on them add to their appeal in my opinion. Whilst staying in the town Julia forged friendships with many of the locals, and after a fire nearby painted a tribute to the volunteer firefighters of the community.

Unfortunately, this was the final silo on our tour, when we found out that we would only visit 3 on the tour, we were a bit disappointed, however, once we had seen the distances between the silos and the conditions of the rural roads, we could understand why the tour was limited, however, this was more than made up by the additional elements of the tour and the friendliness and generosity of the people we met on the way. On our return to Halls Gap, we oldies had a well earned nap before visiting the Paper Rock Scissors brewery for dinner, and very good it was too.

Monday 13th February

To compensate for missing many of the silos yesterday, we planned to visit a couple within driving distance of the motel and that wouldn’t add too much travel time to our journey home, so after another excellent breakfast, we headed to the town of Horsham to see a silo painted by Smug, this stunning full figure mural is a tribute to Yanggendyinanyuk, an Aboriginal warrior, sitting alongside it is his painting of a Black Cockatoo, which was the characters totem. Whilst at the silo we met a lad flying his drone, it turned out that he was the photographer for the Melbourne artist Jimmy Dvate, who was painting a mural next to Horsham Town Hall, so off we went to see him in action, it was great to see just how he approaches his work and to see the piece develop.

Our next stop was the sleepy little town of Dimboola, a stop on the way to Arkona, see another silo pained by Smug, this was a great place to have a coffee break and a chat with some of the locals in Oma’s Cafe, it transpired that Smug stayed in the town whilst painting the silo and while he was there he also painted a mural on a building next to the local library, this mural, a study of some local birds, was magnificent indeed. After our coffee, we went up the road to Arkona to see another stunning and interesting mural by Smug on the silo. The mural depicts Roley Klinge, an Arkona local who championed tennis for the local community. Being unable to meet Roley, who had passed away in 1991, Smug decided to paint him in an innovative way, showing only his clothing and tennis gear, however, he did manage to fit in a small portrait of him at the base of the silo. This truly is a spectacular mural that finished off our trail to perfection.

As we liked it so much, we returned to Dimboola for lunch before starting our return trip, after chatting to the cafe staff about the town’s up-and-coming Steampunk Festival, we paid a visit to the Dimboola Imaginarium, a quirky gift shop, housed in an old bank building. Run by 2 guys who are currently converting the former managers accommodation into guest bedrooms which are decorated in a unique way, we were invited in to see all the rooms and we even visited the old vault to see a pictorial history of the area, the place and the people certainly were interesting.

We then hit the Western Highway for an uneventful journey home from a fun, interesting and enjoyable trip, which will stay in our memories I’m sure.

DZIA

Whilst in Glasgow at the weekend for the Merchant City Festival, I popped into the Tontine Lane, off Bell Street, to see if anything new had been added to the little collection of street art there. Nothing new had been added but I was pleased to see that the pieces created by Dzia were still there to be seen.

Dzia, originating from Belgium, is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates drawings, sculptures, and murals. A common theme in his work is animals, usually made up of complex graphic lines in which he establishes a recognisable style that evolves in his species.

The three pieces in Tontine Lane were created in one day in 2015 when he was invited by the Heverlee brewery invited him over when they were setting up a pop-up Belgian beer bar.

The giant Sea Eagle created by him I found in The Norwegian town of Bodø, just north of the Arctic Circle, it was created in 2016 for the Up North street art festival

Bodø – 2016

Storytellers

I paid a visit to the inaugural Storytellers exhibition at The Glue Factory in Farnell Street on Saturday 23rd June.

This exhibition showcases Glasgow’s street culture and creatives, providing a space and a platform for artists to present their work.

There was a wide range of mediums on show, with something for everyone across the entire ground floor of the Glue Factory, from graffiti and paintings to sculptures and videos, there even was a wall where kids, of all ages, could express themselves.

I will admit that I took the wrong camera with me to the event, however, I still managed to get some good shots of works from Mack Colours, Ejek, Priest!, Chelsea Frew, Barry the Cat, Micheal Corr, and Ross MacRae. I loved the area Conzo & Glöbel had set up, this displayed their typical sense of humour, and I was mightily impressed by Mark Worst’s display wall. Saving the best to last, up high on the back wall of the space is a tremendous piece by GazMac, which highlights his status in Glasgow’s Street Art community.

A busy time gone by …

I’ve been very busy lately, hence the lack of recent input to my blog. It all started with Yardworks, followed by volunteering at the Glasgow Mela, and this past weekend I was volunteering at Doune The Rabbit Hole festival, more information on each of these follows:

Yardworks

One of my favourite events is Yardworks, held at SWG3, this annual street art festival is one of my favourite weekends in Glasgow. The event, held on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June, is one of Europe’s biggest dedicated to street art and graffiti – with artists and writers from across Glasgow, the UK and Europe coming together to paint and draw, creating an explosion of colour.

On the nearby railway arches, wall spaces and boards in the yard, the highly skilled artists including Smug, Ejek, Rogue One and many others worked side by side with some of the most celebrated names from around the globe – including Zurik, Bublegum, and Balstroem.

Smug + Bublegum + The Guzler

I was there on the Saturday with my mate Jim and his 10 year old grandson Jack and It was so good to be able to meet and chat with friends old and new, Jack was enthralled by the talent on display and expressed an interest in trying out some spray painting himself in the future.

Jack and his favourite mural

Sunday saw me back again, this time with my friends Gary and Jan Gammage, it was great to see the works develop and to see the eventual finished articles. Gary & Jan were interested in the many different techniques used, spray paint, palette, brush and the use of stencils in the development of the pieces.

It was a brilliant weekend, great art, good food and fun in the company of friends, what more could you ask for.

My photographs from the weekend can be found here.

Glasgow Mela

Sunday the 26th found me in Kelvingrove park volunteering at the Glasgow Mela, an annual multicultural music and dance festival. The Mela began in 1990 as part of Glasgow’s year as the European City of Culture and has grown from being an indoor event at the Tramway to an outdoor extravaganza, with something for all the family.


I was assigned as the Artist Liaison for the Navras (main) stage, which kept me busy for the whole day. At this stage, we had a variety of acts, dance, music and performance arts. Amongst the acts that entertained me and the crowds were Deesh Sandhu, Hunterz and the headliner Jaz Dhami and his band.

Being busy for most of the day I missed out on some of the other activities on offer but did manage to grab a nice lamb curry for lunch from one of the many food outlets on site.

Doune The Rabbit Hole

Doune the Rabbit Hole is an intimate, independent music & arts festival located amidst the glorious ancient oak trees of the Cardross Estate, near the Lake of Menteith, in Stirlingshire. Starting in 2010, at a site near the town of Doune (hence the name!) they have been celebrating the very best of Scotland’s independent arts scene alongside amazing international guests. This year’s line-up included main stage headliners like the legendary Patti Smith and Band, multi-million selling Scottish singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald, homegrown, world-famous talent Belle & Sebastian, English post-punk duo Sleaford Mods and Bellshill natives and superstars Teenage Fanclub, one of my son Graeme’s favourites (the video below is for him). I really enjoyed the set by Esperanza, a Glasgow Ska band, they took me back to my youth.

I was the artist Liaison on the Bandersnatch stage which had a sort of folkie and blues vibes, and thanks to Chris Blackmore, the Stage Manager and Phil the Sound Engineer, the atmosphere there was pretty chilled and relaxing and we had some really entertaining artists on stage including The Mary Wallopers, Rachel Sermanni and John Francis Flynn, it was good to see and listen to Erin Bradley-Scott perform, Erin is one of my favourite art groups, The Cobolt Collective, she certainly is a talented lady. It seems like I can never get away from street art and artists, I even came across a nice piece by Ross MacRae next to the Jabberwocky stage, I really like his work.

There was also some exceptional food on offer, although there was a crew canteen I gave it a miss at times to sample the fare from Barnacles & Bones, Shawarmarama, and the Pizza Geeks.

As this was a weekend camping festival and I didn’t feel like camping, I decided to book a room in Willow Court, one of Stirling University’s halls of residence, overall this was a great choice. Another great weekend and I’m looking forward to heading back again next year

Amsterdam Updated

I have eventually caught up with two of my outstanding blog posts, the first is the one for the STRAAT Museum in Amsterdam which I visited recently.
The collection held there is very impressive and extensive as can be seen by the photographs on the page, there are a lot of them.
They can be viewed here:

I have also uploaded a page showing the murals spotted while wandering the city, this includes the 10 murals created for the “If Walls could talk” festival in 2019. For me, the highlight of this set of murals was one by Smug of our very own GazMac, it is spectacular as usual.
They can be viewed here:

A week in Amsterdam

Monday 25th April
An early start to get to the airport in plenty of time, however, due to a strike by baggage handlers at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport our flight was delayed. This gave us time to have a nice but rather expensive bacon roll and coffee in one of the airport bars. The flight eventually took off around 2½ hours late. Once in Amsterdam, it was easy to make our way to the Central Railway station to catch a train into town, and then a number 22 bus took us directly to our hotel, the Westcord Art Hotel. In keeping with the street art vibe of our Amsterdam visit, this hotel suited us down to the ground, with murals all over the foyer and staircases and an individual mural in each room

After checking in and after a wee rest we headed out to Westergas, a creative complex at the nearby Westerpark. Once the city’s gasworks, this collection of old industrial buildings is now home to a variety of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, We stopped off at Brouwerij Troost for some local beers and food, it was a great place to start the trip off, however, we thought it strange that the menus were all in English and almost everyone spoke English too, the food and selection of beers were very good, I certainly would recommend to anyone visiting Amsterdam.

Tuesday 26th April
A short stroll through the narrow streets of the west of the city took us to Prinsengracht on the banks of a nice canal where we stopped for breakfast in the famous Pancake Bakery, luckily we arrived before the crowds and got a table easily, the food when it arrived was spectacular and quickly became one of Jim’s favourite ways to have breakfast. We stopped on the way at the Check Point Charlie cafe, which was unfortunately closed, to take some photographs of murals by The London Police, there was another of their pieces on a gable opposite on the other side of the canal so over we went with camera in hand.

Note: I photographed so much street art in Amsterdam and at Straat that there is enough for 2 more pages, I will not mention them in this post however they can be seen here:

That wander started off what was a walking day for us (almost 30,000 steps) as we explored the city, since we had the luxury of some time to spend here we thought that it would be good to see what the city had to offer before booking any tours etc. We stopped off at the Anne Frank house and realised why it’s best to pre-book (we later discovered that it was fully booked until the end of June!), so off we went on our stroll. Including the obligatory search (successful) for Starbucks and the Lego Store we really enjoyed this way of seeing the city.

After some searches on Google for traditional Dutch food and drink highlights, we stopped for a beer in the Beer Tasting Room In The Wildeman, which is a quirky bar in a former distillery stocking over 250 beers from throughout Europe, the barman was as interesting as the bar and made us very welcome suggesting some very good beers for us. The city was filling up and becoming quite crowded as preparations were being made for Koningsdag (Kings Day), officially the national celebration of the birthday of the King, but this in reality looks like a good excuse to party hard. We decided to purchase a 3-day bus pass and after a problem with the ticket machine which charged us twice, we returned to the hotel in the late afternoon for a wee bit of R&R before heading out again to find Moeders. (Mothers), for some traditional Dutch food, we ordered the ‘Stamppot’ a real Dutch “stamppot” of mashed potatoes with vegetables served with a sausage a meatball & bacon and were not disappointed, the restaurant, staff and food could not be bettered, the mismatched furniture, glassware and crockery all added to a friendly atmosphere, reminding us of the Butterfly and the Pig back home, another feature Jim liked was the multitude of pictures of mothers on the walls, there is hardly an inch left uncovered. After dinner we followed the crowds back into the centre of the city, we enjoyed joining in with the revellers in some of the street discos before stopping off in an Irish bar for our last pint before heading back to the hotel on a late bus very tired but happy after a great day.

Wednesday 27th Koningsdag

Everyone we had spoken to told us that today was special and was going to be a bit crazy, we were told that we should visit NDSM, an old industrial shipbuilding area to the north of the city to get away from the crowds, so off we headed to the central station to catch one of the free ferries across, it looked exactly as described, old machine shops and slipways, there was even some old machinery left, it was interesting that in one of the shipbuilding sheds there was an old plate roller built by the Scottish Machine Tools Corporation, I company I worked in when I first came ashore. The area has been turned over to street artists and there is even STRAAT, a museum dedicated to it in one of the buildings, we decided to leave off visiting for a day when we had more time.

One of the so-called highlights of Kings Day is the flea markets across the city, the rules allow anyone to settle down anywhere and sell all their unwanted goods, the one at NDSM was huge and mainly seemed to be families selling off all their old children’s toys and books.

After a weird kind of fusion Dutch/Indian lunch, we returned to the city centre and witnessed the madness begin, we watched as over 800,000 people from the outskirts of the city descended, arriving at the station as we returned on the ferry. It all started off well with us following a marching drum band down the street into a sea of bright orange..

From there on in it was a case of trying to get through the crowds, at almost every street corner there were people selling beer, giant speaker systems were set up and the biggest crowds we have ever seen, drinking and dancing at every street corner, the partying spilt over onto the canals with loads of boats going up and down filled with revellers (and sound systems). At times we were lifted off our feet and carried along in the swell, it was almost as if everyone in Amsterdam and the surrounding towns had arrived and were wanting to make up for the 2 years of partying they had missed. This mayhem continued well into the night and we had great fun being a part of it, the only difficulty we encountered was that most restaurants were closed so dinner was a problem, we ended up in a taverna which was a bit disappointing, we were glad to catch a late bus back to the hotel, thankfully it was relatively quiet compared to some of our earlier tram rides.

Thursday 28th April

After liking it so much, we returned to the Pancake Bakery for breakfast before going on a cruise through the canals on one of the Circle Line boats, which was a very enjoyable and relaxing way to see a different side of the city. We then headed to the Museum Quarter to visit the Rijksmuseum where we had some fun in the gardens before visiting the Van Gogh museum followed by Moco, a boutique museum focused on modern and contemporary art with a collection of unique works by Banksy, Damian Hirst, and many others.

Whilst in Moco, I was reminded of a mural of SWG’s GazMac painted by Smug somewhere in the city, after a bit of google research we discovered that it was in a housing estate in the southeast of the city not too far from where we were, tram ticket in hand off we went and were not disappointed with the 10 large scale murals which graced the ends of 5 apartment blocks, there was also a good piece by D*FACE nearby. We returned to the city for dinner trying for the second time to get into HAP-HMM, to no avail, it was booked for almost as long as the Anne Frank House, so off we popped back to Moeders for another visit to sample more of their traditional Dutch fare. We then returned to the hotel for a late beer to finish off another great but tiring day.

Friday 29th April
We took a bus into town and after a light breakfast we took the 15-minute ferry ride across to NDSM to visit STRAAT, a museum/gallery space dedicated to street art, it almost felt as if we has saved the best till last, it is a spectacular space, NDSM in Amsterdam North; was once Europe’s largest shipbuilding area, is now a place where its industrial heritage meets modern architecture. NDSM is a place where street art and graffiti are a big part of the culture with plenty of ‘legal walls’.

The STRAAT museum opened its doors in 2020, and houses over 150 artworks by 130+ artists from 32 different countries and really is a wonderful place to visit. I have posted a page full of images of the pieces in STRAAT which can be seen here.

On leaving STRAAT we had a wander around the area, we also had a nice chat with some crew members of Tres Hombres, a 3 masted sailing ship which trades between Holland and the Caribbean moving cargo such as rum, coffee, and chocolate, it looked like a tough job as they had no engines to help them out.

Back in town and after a couple of beers in the Wildeman before heading to another part of the city to sample more traditional Dutch food in the highly-rated Pantry, we were not disappointed as the food was very good indeed. We returned to the hotel pretty worn out like every other day here we walked loads and were on our feet for most of the day.

Saturday 30th April

After going to bed on Friday night I became a wee bit ill and woke on Saturday feeling rather rough and not up to very much. We decided to wait until lunchtime to check out of the hotel before heading into the city centre. After a quick brunch and on hearing the news of massive queues and delays at Schipol Airport we made our way there. There were indeed long queues to get through security and passport control, but once through those, we had plenty of time to relax and prepare for our flight home.

The flight left on time and we were back in Glasgow and through Passport control in no time at all, we picked up the car and returned home tired but happy after a great week away in a wonderful city, I’m sure we will be back at some point, next time though we will book our visit to the Anne Frank House and Hap-HMM well in advance.

The Old & The New

I ventured out today to find something new and was pleasantly surprised that a couple of old favourites are still there and looking fairly good.

My first stop was in Govanhill where Conzo Throb & Ciaran Glöbel created ‘A Postcard from Govanhill‘, the first mural in the Govanhill Open Museum art trail. The mural, which contains patterns from Middle Eastern tiles, Romanian fabric, Scottish tartan and ‘wally close’ tiles, represents a different aspect of the diverse local community and is very reminiscent of a similar one created by them in Dennistoun.

Maryhill was my next stop, where I went looking for a new(ish) mural by Mack Colours and Frodrik on Stockline Plastic’s building on Hopehill Street, it really is well worth a visit to see it, the company are delighted with it and In their opinion, it makes a wonderful addition to the impressive collection of murals around the city.

Whilst in the area, I popped along Maryhill Road where I photographed a piece by Ohpanda in the Braeside Community Gardens, a nice big fish from Frodrik on the front of a building near the corner of Cowal Road. At the end of the building, you will find the little Scottie Dog and Bumble Bee and across the road, there is the Glasgow Panther, both created by Rogue One and Ejek way back in 2014.

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