Tuesday, June 17, 2014


The church remained unknown until Sabina, over a breakfast meeting at the Kaiserhof, learned of me being a churchopile, my impending overnight in Amsterdam, and told me of a church in an attic, which I found at 40 Oudezijds Voorburgwal at the margins of the infamous Red Light District, its story of emerging from the catholic persecution during the frenzy of the Alteration of 1578, and how the devout papal believer Jan Hartman built in 1661 a chapel hidden in the attic of his house, its dedication to St. Nicholas and the 200 years it served as a refuge of the catholic faith.

Perhaps because I first groped with the brass hand over a naked breast and gawked at the bronzed Belle, both proud statements of tolerance in the shadows of the massive but now unused Old Church, and maybe those famous De Wallen glass windows too that I have to endure in a funny way before reaching No. 40, that the church struck me as a lady in a striptease, slowly but seductively revealing herself though a series of spiral stairs until the full monty of the inner sanctum, and that blissful post-orgasm footnote of spires from the Old Church and the Basilica of St. Nicholas waving through the attic windows.

The ironic sense of the Ecclesiastes sneering at sin being sold in its neighborhood was worth the 9 Euros I paid to climb the Lord's attic. Or was the sneer the other way around...

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