I always hate the last day of a trip and even though my flight wasn't until 2100ish, giving me virtually a full extra day, this year was no different in fact for the first time by lunchtime I was struggling to find something to do to spin out the time.
After booking out of the hotel I went up the Noorderkerk to see TAK and Holly who were just setting up their stall - nice to see you guys and glad the business is doing OK. Wandered back through the Jordaan making the most of that quiet period on a Monday as the bars open later and many shops don't open at all. Away from the bustle of the market on Westerstraat it was gloriously peaceful with just a few locals and not a panic-stricken lost tourist frantically turning the map this way and that anywhere to be seen.
Eventually I ended up cutting through the canals to Spuistraat then to the Spui for coffee. Its one of my favoutite spots and I wanted to make the most of it as this may be my last trip, I certainly won't be here next year - I'm going to Antwerp instead, then who knows if I'll return. There really is nothing left that I haven't done or seen and although I still love that feeling on arrival and seeing little has changed etc but for the first time I had to admit to boredom at times so perhaps I should give it a miss for a while.
Anyway just in case it should be the last time I decided to do some 'tourist stuff' starting with a tourist canal boat trip, something I haven't done for 29 years. The last time was with Mrs Swin when Swin Jnr was four, we went on a 'candlelight wine and cheese cruise'. Having no one to look after young Swin he sat between us and ate all the cheese and that of the couple on the next table. Romantic it wasn't!
This time I took a standard one hour cruise with the company on Rokin. About 10 of us boarded the boat to listen with some disappointment to a pitiful recording in three languages of about 20 (at most) interesting things to look out for during the whole trip. Whatever happened to the blond girls with big tits in the 1970s who kept up a tirade of useless often invented facts in twenty languages on an exceedingly loud microphone throughout the entire cruise? It did however provide a wonderful 'people moment' The rest of my fellow passengers were American and included what I took to be two widows in their 60s. One kept up a non-stop commentary about the trip to Amsterdam she and her late husband had made a few years earlier. For the other it was clearly her first time and she desparately tried to photograph every one of the few buildings / sights of interest pointed out in the commentary. Sadly by the time the English version was described the view / building had invariably been passed. She was fascinated however when the old furniture pulley / beam method was described and she immediately asked her knowlegeable friend how large pieces of furniture could be manoevered out of such small top windows. Her companion replied that everything had probablybeen scaled down as it wasn't like the US and they probably didn't have such big TV sets for example. Brilliant stuff indeed!
From there to Wok to Walk and a seat on Leidseplein to eat and people watch. Two lads were demonstrating, and trying to sell, a tennis ball on an elastic arrangement. Anchored by a heavy base and using a tennis racquet one of the lads was particularly good but was upstaged when a dog, one of those tiny rat-sized terriers so loved by Amsterdammers, arrived. The dogproceeded to chase the ball while it was in the air but of course as it bounced and the elastic tightened it shot back towards the man with the racquet. Much hilarity ensued and things got even better when, between rallies, the dog, finding the ball on the floor, took off across the pavement with it until, reaching the limit of the elastic, the ball was wrenched from its mouth and flew back to its owner. 'Best entertainment we've had here for years' said the resident 'can you spare a cigarette sir' dosser doing his rounds
Not satisfied by Wok to Walk (chicken and sweet and sour on Sunday was excellent, beef and garlic sauce on Monday was shite) I just had to hit the Vlaamse frites stall in Voetboogstraat and from there to the Gollem (as always) until it was time to go to Schiphol. The Monday afternoon regular crowd was there and we were soon joined by a guy from Arizona and his wife Beth. They were coming to the end of an 18 day European tour based mainly in Amsterdam and Brussels which appeared to have been a non stop round of beer tasting. I persuaded the bloke to try Orval, he enthused about it and scrupulously entered all the details and his thoughts into some hand held electronic phonelike device.
I left my favourite barman Surreal a few Euros for drinks then dragged myself away, collected my bag, paid over the top to be dropped 300 yards from CS (again!) and took the train and then the flight home
I have decided that regular annual trips are perhaps not the best way to do things (its taken me years to work that out!) and missing a few years before I return might be the best way to go in order to see the changes and to get excited about 'going back'
That said I'm off to Apeldoorn in October and I'm already trying to work in a free day to go to Amsterdam...
Oh, yes, before anyone picks it up, Lazer's graffitti I saw wasn't done on April 14th (well it could have been I suppose) but '3.14' is part of his website address I believe but then I'm an old fart who remembers Amsterdam in 1968 - all this modern stuff goes over my head.
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adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.
adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.
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- Sir Ian of Tokesville
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Swin wrote:Oh, yes, before anyone picks it up, Lazer's graffitti I saw wasn't done on April 14th (well it could have been I suppose) but '3.14' is part of his website address I believe but then I'm an old fart who remembers Amsterdam in 1968 - all this modern stuff goes over my head.
Interesting . . .
and a great report, but one thing . . .
Where's the bud and bong shots ? ?
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