Monday, 21 March 2016

back to earth (with a bump)

I am unbelievably tired. It is a good kind of tiredness (if there is such a thing). My friends and I returned last night after a busy three days in Amsterdam. What a crazy place! I haven never seen quite as many bikes in my life. It was almost a bit too much actually and at times it felt like being in  Hitchcock's 'Birds' with the birds replaced by bikes. Still, we eventually figured out where the pavement ended and where the bike paths started and I am glad to report that there were no accidents.





We stayed on a lovely houseboat. It didn't really feel like a boat, more like a static caravan moored in the canal. It was cosy and quirky with enough space for all of us. We spent plenty of time chatting, spread out on the sofa bed, Prosecco glass in hand, crisps nearby. It tell you, it was a bit like in the olden days when hanging out with friends was the norm rather the exception. I don't know how I managed to find such a wonderful bunch of friends. Thank you Angeline, Emily, Laura and Zoe. The funniest thing was that the blokes left behind with a great many kids arranged to meet up also. They enjoyed a take-away and bloke chat. Maybe they were planning a bloke trip or something.


We arrived in Amsterdam at lunch time on Friday. After taken ownership of the boat we explored the neighbourhood, had lunch in a Cafe, wandered around some more and then went back to the boat for food and a wee rest before going out for the night. The plan was to go dancing. There was an 80's and 90's night at a club called the Sugar Factory. We went to an upmarket bar to warm up, where we met the former Dutch prime minister and the bar's very own cat. It was happily sleeping on a sofa, not the least bothered by the noise and all the people. The club was buzzing with people of all sorts and ages. The music was not great. I am not going to mention the word we used to describe it exactly but I shall mention that Ghostbusters and the Spice Girls featured on the DJ's favourites list, as well as Macarena. School disco anyone? I didn't dance as much as I normally would but it didn't matter. I was delightful to see all the happy faces dancing and laughing. There was a marked absence of orangey spray tanned girls with over straightened hair and ridiculous high heels. There were not many track suits to be seen either. The young (and not so young) look beautifully normal, something that maybe the Glaswegian weekend scene should aspire to. We didn't get back until well after 3 am, stopping at the Irish pub for a wee last drink and at snack bar for chips with satay sauce and mayonnaise.






On Saturday we set off with no major plans other than visiting a market, look into some shops and partake in a boat tour. We did indeed all of the above but we also bought a wedding dress for the bride to be. The wedding dress buying came a bit as a surprise, not least to the bride, who already had a dress. It is a beautiful beautiful vintage style dress that must have been waiting in the shop for a very special bride to be from Glasgow to arrive. The dress came to life on her and I am not ashamed to admit that emotional tears were shed. The boat tour paled into insignificance after the experience of buying a wedding dress without actually planning to do so. Still, it was interesting. Houses along the canals seemed a bit wonky, sometimes distinctly leaning in one or the other direction, often held in place by discreet metal structures. The ground is apparently very sandy and soft. I am not sure how comfortable I would be in a flat where you can roll from one end of a room to another without any effort.




It was tempting to spend another night partying but tiredness, hunger and maybe a sliver of common sense drove us in the direction of Chinatown instead, where a delicious Malaysian meal was devoured with relish. We also learned that Google maps should not be trusted for directions and that there is at least one foul tempered tram driver in Amsterdam, slamming the door shut before all of us had managed to spill out of the tram and passengers waiting at the stop could board. It was interesting that the waiting Dutch passengers apologised for the rude behaviour of one of their fellow Amsterdonians, rather than complaining about being left behind.



Sunday was dedicated to our cultural education. We visited the Museum of Modern Art but not until after stopping at a maker's market where we bought lovely handmade things. The queues at other cultural venues were too long to be seriously considered. Instead, we explored some more after dropping our bags at the luggage storage. We accidentally entered the red light district. It is immensely sad to see young girls posing in a window, waiting to be chosen like a Mars bar in a vending machine. It was angering and sobering to see men ogling and equally angering to see people take photos. We left the area as quickly as possible and went back to neighbourhood with independent shops, where more money was spent than planned on a handbag, ear rings and other bits and pieces.

All to soon we had to head back to the airport. I would have liked the weekend to last another day or so. I am happy to have amazing friends who like to spend time with me. I like to spend time with them, too. We are all so different and yet we have a lot in common. I like the person that I am when I am with my friends. It is a happy me. I have laughed so much my abdominals are sore and I may have peed myself once or twice, too. I have added to the general entertainment by being myself - and by being clumsy. Imagine for example how the laughter echoed through the departure hall at the airport when my pull-along trolley slipped out of my sweaty hand and whooshed down the escalator, myself in hot pursuit. My brain could just not compute why I never caught up with the case. We were going up. Nobody was hurt.

And so it is back to normal routines. The children have not missed me one bit but were pleased to see the small gifts I brought them. It is a short week and I am grateful for this. How was your weekend? Do tell, please, for I may not have the time to catch up with missed reading. xx


25 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. I can feel your aching abdominals! Chips and mayo take me back. Were they in little paper cones. You have whetted my appetite for a trip to Amsterdam. So much to do. Hope your week is not too mundane after all that fun. B x

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  2. Such a lovely trip you have had, Amsterdam is on my list of places to visit one day, nice collection of photos, My week end was just lots of jobs outside getting done while the weather is good :-)

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  3. Glad you had a great time! Laughing with friends is one of the most wonderful joys of life isn't it!! Hope you can catch up on your sleep soon and just look back with happy memories on all the greatness of the weekend! xx

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  4. Your description of the boat sounds just wonderful. Loved all the photos too!

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  5. IT sounds like a wonderful trip. I have been to Amsterdam twice, my niece lived there for two years. I loved it, the museum's the food, the canals and architecture. I was horrified with the red light district, and steered us clear of that area.
    Glad you had a wonderful time, do we get to see the wedding dress?
    Meredith

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  6. Gosh, it sounds like a wonderful time. I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam. Your photos were really nice to look at, I felt like I had the chance to go to. I'm so glad you had fun with your friends. Enjoy settling back into reality, I know you will do just fine. Have a good week, Christina.

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  7. What a wonderful weekend you've had. It's been many years since we've been to Amsterdam so I really enjoyed your photos.

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  8. I enjoyed your adventure, Christina! I had just seen a tv program about Amsterdam [including the red light district which was presented as a regulated business...but I feel as you do]. I'm glad you made some good memories and hope you have a happy week. I'm putting together a post about my grandies attending a Spring Bunny Brunch :) xxxxxxx

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  9. What a wonderful weekend Christina ... I would so love to have been there on that sofa bed with you! Grateful for great friends.

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  10. So glad you enjoyed it, Christina, and you've described so well here. X

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  11. It sounds like you had an absolutely perfect time, I'm glad xx

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  12. Janet Laura 's Mumhh22 March 2016 at 08:30

    Hi So glad you all had a great time Laura has wonderful friends So happy for her and dress is gorgeous XXX

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  13. Sounds like an amazing weekend and what an honour to be part of the buying of the wedding dress. I love Amsterdam it brings back some wonderful memories.

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  14. What a wonderful weekend! Sounds like a great hen do, I presume that is what it was?

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  15. What a fun post Christina, and what a fun time you had! There's something incredibly important about spending time with close friends, and also about laughing until your sides hurt. That's the way it is when I go on those also with my cousin. One of my fondest memories is her laughing so hard she was rolling on the grass in a pasture, oblivious to the sheep and cow dung. :-)

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  16. sounds like a truly wonderful weekend xxx

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  17. What a brilliant weekend! Love every bit of it, except for the inadvertent visit to the red light district. I'd have done a u-turn as quickly as I could too. Enjoy the rest of your week back at home and Happy Easter in advance!

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  18. It sounds like you've had a fantastic weekend. Worth being tired for!

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  19. A good weekend! And it is good to remember what you're like when child-free!

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  20. Oh your weekend sounds amazing I am a tad jealous! I would like to revisit, we only had a day in Amsterdam when we went and the boys were young, it was a mini break. I would like a better look around I personally loved seeing all the bikes, it's something we all need to be moving towards but with our climate we would be constantly drenched! I've been catching up on my sewing. xx

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  21. It sounds excellent fun, what a lovely bunch of girlfriends you have! That would've been me with the trolley, I am the clumsy one in my gang xx

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  22. Sounds fantastic Christina - you describe all the fun so well and your photos are so good I felt I was there with you. I used to go to Amsterdam a lot for work and in the 1980s and early 1990s it was a very pleasant city to wander around and take in an art gallery or two. Nowadays I go for a day trip and I'm usually stuck in the Rai centre for the duration but I'm still aware of how much busier the city is compared to the old days. Just like any European city I suppose, London and Glasgow included. The wedding dress story is lovely. I always think wedding dresses should find you rather than the other way round. Buona Pasqua to you and your family.

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  23. Hey Christina,
    I can just feel the happiness from this lovely post. It's a very rare thing for me to meet up with old friends for any length of time. We live in such far flung places these days. And how I could do with a proper belly laugh today. Sat with friends, or dancing to cheesy music and having a general mooch about. I envy you it all!
    Leanne xx

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  24. What a happy post, it sounds like you had a really wonderful, fun time with your friends. Leaving daily cares and chores behind forma few days is a very restorative experience. How amazing that your friend found her wedding dress by accident. What a special moment X

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  25. Oh, such a great post! It sounds like you had the best time. Dancing till 3am, laughing, shopping - all so wonderful. I know it's bad of me but I am entranced by the photo of the tacky plastic clogs, they're so kitsch! I would have bought some for the kids, as a joke, of course... ;-)

    I like the way you described your friendship with those women. We are always our best self with our best friends, I think. x

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx