Phase II

 

I’m in Amsterdam now, in a darkened pub, drinking Amstel and typing this post on my phone with a Microsoft foldable keyboard. I’ll upload it when I get back to my hotel.

It’s my fourth time here: apart from Tokyo, this is the foreign city that I’ve spent the most time in. It’s still amazingly familiar. Every street, every square brings back memories.

I plan to keep most of those memories to myself. I came here twice in the 90s with Robert. The first time was the first time I ever came to Europe. Robert and I caught the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland. We arrived after a sleepless and unpleasant ferry ride, and the first thing we saw was a guy rollerskating beside a canal, freezing his arse off in tiny latex shorts. We immediately decided to stay for a week. The second time, we stayed here for two weeks over Christmas and New Year. It snowed. It was magic.

We were young then, and we had a fantastic time. But that’s all I intend to say. On my way here I walked past the sites of some of our best exploits. I regret nothing.

In 2008, I stayed here by myself for a few days. According to that trip’s travel blog, I basically spent a couple of days wandering the city, drinking beer and only occasionally wandering into a museum or art gallery.

This time I’m staying here for a week, but I have no idea what I’m doing after that. I’ll have to make a decision tomorrow, I think. Southern France, and then straight to Italy, probably. I’ll sit in a café with my computer tomorrow morning and do some proper planning for the next few weeks. Suggestions welcome: feel free to comment on this post.

My last few days in England ended up being terribly busy: I really should have arranged to stay a few days longer. I had a lovely evening in Brighton with Stephen and David. I went to Manchester to meet the inimitable Simon Caterall and to make a pilgrimage to Canal Street. I also met charming friend-of-the-podcast Colin Neal, had dinner with Sarah G, lunch with Peter G, and tea with Angela, Joseph, Alex and Elizabeth, who made me incredibly welcome on my last night in London. And I experienced Southern Rail in a way that will help me to truly appreciate the jokes they make about it on the News Quiz.

Tomorrow: nothing. Reading and chilling. After that, my first visit to the Rijksmuseum since the first time I came to Amsterdam.

Watching: Season 1 of The Good Place. For the third time. And it’s still brilliant.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.