It rained practically the entire time I was in Amsterdam. It was like my trip to Iceland where the sun shone as I arrived and then tantalized the morning of departure, as though I had committed some grave sin and was being punished.
The hotel wasn’t as exciting as most but it was cozy – and did lots of stuff right. It was in a historical building in the center of the city and customer service was excellent so if being on the bleeding edge is not part of your travel criteria I would definitely recommend it. (Convent Hotel)
I was feeling very cozy there on Saturday night as I ordered some food at the bar and debated whether I should chance going outside to battle the weather. But it was Saturday night in Amsterdam and it seemed pretty lame to just hide in my hotel room. It’s not like I come from a country without weather…
And it was clear skies when I stepped outside! I strolled up Warmoesstraat until I got to Zeedijk as I knew there was lots going on there (from my Stanley Cup watching in Amsterdam – another story…) Indeed, there are lots of options on Zeedijk and the big question is what random spot to check out.
I thought a bar with a bearded man in drag wearing a wedding dress would offer some entertainment value… I was not wrong J But the place was tiny and packed! I think it was a gay bar. There were a couple of women in there so I might have been wrong. It was an entertaining crowd, all I ever seek.
And the music was quite good. It was obscure, however, just what was going on. For sure there was a gigantic television screen and people were singing, apparently in some sort of competition.
I watch the news a lot when I travel (it’s often the only station in English 🙂 so I knew the Eurovision song competition was on – but this didn’t seem to be that. But people were singing along and marking score sheets… everything was in Dutch.
I might well have stayed for the night but I was being constantly jostled by the crowd milling back and forth through the tiny bar so decided I would finish my beer and then wander off into the night, potentially back to my warm bed if nothing caught my attention. At least I hadn’t stayed home on Saturday night! In case, you weren’t following, the bearded lady from Austria DID win the Eurovision competition so I am sure the bearded dude in the bar in the wedding dress was an homage…
On my way back to the hotel I was lured into some full moon party at the Winston. It was in the red light district so I hoped everyone inside would be fully clothed but I thought I should try and not be totally lame as it was Saturday night.
Amsterdam is apparently the land of amazing random decisions 🙂 No other city has provided so many incredible life moments where serendipity – and possibly pixie dust – fueled the adventure.
Winston proved to be a proper dance club – with real music – lyrics instead of thumping drum beats. Once they had played Vampire Weekend, I was hooked 🙂 Shortly after the song ended some young man full of mind-altering substances put his head on my shoulder and declared that he loved me. Luckily, he had a handler so she quickly towed him away.
I was content to just dance in the corner alone to the great music but some cute guy with a killer smile started dancing with me. He had real style so we quickly became a duo. And then he told me he was from Montreal!
Sebastian was also a little over 25. He was a great dancer – and had that Latin charm that is very hard not to fall for. So I ended up staying a lot longer than planned. And had sore muscles the next day.
But in the best way. We egged each other on so it became not just shuffle around but let’s try out for “Dancing with the Stars”. I was glad to see that I could still bend that close to the ground 🙂
Sebastian then became my designated bodyguard and walked me back to the hotel because that is what his mother would expect. The young kids can have their hooking up. There is something magical about being properly courted… if only he had been on his way to Paris instead of Nice…
“Travel is my drug” is Sebastian’s phrase, not mine… obviously a boy from my tribe 😉 He’d had to buy a better umbrella but had spent four days in the rain wandering the canals. It was so cool to meet someone else who came to Amsterdam not for cheap Heineken, myriad forms of pot or beautiful hookers, but to indulge his senses in one of the world’s most incredibly romantic cities – even when the monsoon hits – just don’t bring your best shoes 😉
I always have so much fun in Paris and have now had two trips that haven’t made it to the blog – but some of the exhibitions are now over – and I will always be back in Paris again so I am going to condense the Paris chapters a bit so we can get to Norway – and catch up on Cambodia and Slovenia…
p.s. my blogging is being severely handicapped by my obsessive watching of the World Cup. It was also inspired by my real introduction to the wonders of Amsterdam. I was watching the Nederlands in the last World Cup in preparation for my date in Amsterdam with some Dutch guy I met in a bar in NYC. An event that inspired so many incredible moments in my life since – and meant that I was cheering yesterday 🙂 But my jersey is German – dating Deutsch has been more successful 😉