Water is omnipresent here, which is wonderful because I was raised to love water. For swimming, boating, having nearby.
Many of the roads we walk, cycle, or drive down now were once canals just a few centuries ago. Dams and crazy-good engineering rerouted the water to where it flows today. Houseboats are common (I still find them fascinating & funny, and I want to live in one), as are small floating platforms used by restaurants and cafes for seating patrons out on the water. Entire industries rely on the canals for transporting goods back and forth, too. A friend told me that many, many bikes also lay at the bottom of these canals… a bit different than throwing a penny into the fountain.
The canals are a map in themselves, they are often how I find my way or get my bearings again. Water also means there is – almost always – a breeze. Sometimes the chilly weather makes that wind a nuisance, but it always ensures movement in the air. Fresh stuff to breathe, and, when necessary, something to whisk the dew from the back of your neck.
I see swans often and, every now and then, catch a glimpse of a lily pad with a bright white open lily lazing on the water. My grandma used to insist on paying attention to the clouds because, she said, the sky was a whole other landscape we rarely look up to notice. I imagine she’d say the same about these canals; the lively things course energy through the city.