I don`t like underground transportation. I prefer to have something to contemplate rather than being left with only two options: 1) to stare at my shoes and 2) to stare at my phone – in an attempt to avoid staring at people I don`t know.
But, despite all these, I still find a ride with Berlin`s U-Bahn, London`s Underground and Paris Métropolitain quite interesting. The metro is, in this case, a symbol of the city and adds to its character. It has a certain charm and you simply cannot confuse one with the other: even when under the ground, you still know if you`re in Berlin or in London – to give just an example. The metro becomes, therefore, a part of the city itself.
This is not exactly the case of Amsterdam`s metro (and when I say “metro”, I mean the entire package: stations, trains, atmosphere). Long story short, in Amsterdam the metro is just what it is: a means of transportation, to take you from point A to point B, usually on time. The trains and stations look decent, clean, yet there is nothing special about them, something to distinguish them from the metros elsewhere. It is less crowded than in any other city I`ve been to (which is quite normal considering that everyone rides a bike here) and there are absolutely no people to ask for money in return for a free (unrequested) show. But the most positive aspect of all is that Amsterdam`s metro is well guarded: there are persons who are supervising, in the stations, from the early hours of the day until late at night. This makes you feel very safe and it is indeed something to appreciate.
However, Amsterdam`s metro still doesn`t make you want to photograph it (my photos are taken with a documentary rather than an artistic intention) as, for example, Berlin`s U-Bahn: painted all yellow, with white little signs on the windows depicting the Branderburger Tor, populated by some interesting faces, most of which hidden behind a book. The U-Bahn simply makes you want to take a ride just for the sake of it! And lots of photos, in my case.
Talking about metros with character, the one in Paris wins by far. The French have a predilection for jingles (haven`t they?) and le métro makes no exception: “Colonel Fabien?” asks the voice announcing the stations as the train you`re in is approaching the next stop. And then, when the train stops, the same voice says, this time with real surprise: “Colonel Fabien!”. It sounds like: “Oh, so we are actually here! I thought we were about to end up somewhere else instead.” To this, add some guy`s serenade earlier in the metro and the mystery that fills the air the moment you start to look for a direction while still under the ground, followed by a series of questions that start to pop up in your head when you see the same direction pointed into two totally opposite ways: to the left, but also to the right! How can you not love the Parisian metro in this case?
Here are some photos of Amsterdam`s metro and, towards the end, some from other cities. Take a look and I hope you will understand what I mean!