I Heart Amsterdam

I Heart Amsterdam

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moonlit Run

I am fortunate to have great roommates here at the Bicycle Hotel. They are kind, nice, understanding, and respectful. Here is the BUT, one of them snores more than I can handle. Oh well. Two day into the trip and I still haven’t slept.

Still dark and unsure what time it was I decided I should go on a run to Vondelpark, a “sprawling equivalent to New York’s Central Park” as the Netherlands guidebook states. After getting into my running shoes, my Vibram’s Fiverfingers, I noticed it was only 5am. Why bother just lying there staring at the ceiling so out I went…

It was still very dark and very quiet. There is nothing like exploring a city when the city is still asleep. You see things a little differently this way. No hustle and bustle, no one to get in your way. I turned my headphones on and listened to Gayngs songs.

Upon arrival to the park, which is by the Museum Center or Musuemplein, where you would find the Van Gogh and the Rijsmuseum, Massive Attacks ‘Mezzanine’ began to play. I think this was the perfect soundtrack for the dark and eerie morning, for the park was empty and lit only by lamps with the fountains still turned off sleeping like the rest of Amsterdam. The moon was my flashlight.

The park is filled with ponds and was intended to be an ideal place for strolling and riding bicycles and picnicking all set in an urban area. It does exactly that. All in all I ran about 6 miles, zigzagging my way around the park. I saw maybe six other runners and a handful of cyclist casually riding by.

Running is the perfect time for reflection and I have done some of my best thinking during the many hours I have spent on various trails. Here in Amsterdam at Vondelpark, this is no exception. I often run after lectures for it helps me evaluate them more clearly. I have heard that you tend to remember things better if you exercise. Actually I heard this from John Medina’s book Brain Rules where one of the rules is that “Exercise Improves Cognition.” So that’s what I do and I have found that this works for me.

So I spent much of this run thinking about our lecture from Paul Wouters of Virtual Knowledge Studio (http://virtualknowledgestudio.nl/). His lecture titled ‘E-Research: Scope and Implications’ brought up several interesting points about information research but the one in particular that stood out to me most was this question “Is data being simplified too much?” He went to also ask if the data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete. These are interesting points to ponder over and I find myself still thinking about them each day as I deal with information theories and concepts. Are we simplifying data too much? Is this helping or hindering us?

All in all my moonlit run was an amazing experience that I would not have done on my own in such a way. Really though, I owe it all to my roommates snoring and my inability to tune it out. Thanks Karl. I owe you one. I really mean that too.

PS. Here is the song that started playing when I entered the park at 5:15 am with only the moon lighting my way. Beautiful.

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