Hello, Amsterdam

Katie’s on a mission to go to Helsinki for a conference of European independent theatre companies (the IETM). Being an environ-mentalist, she’s decided to go by train, and we thought it would be a good idea to stop off in Amsterdam for a few beers to celebrate her birthday while she was at it.

The train was fantastic. Straight from Waterloo to Brussels and then one more train up to Amsterdam. Also being Thursday we were joined by business people and not tourists. On Thursday afternoon we managed to find our little hotel, which came complete with golden wallpaper, right in the middle of the museum district. The Van-Gough museum was still open so we went for a bit of rubber-necking. I know it’s clichéd, but I like cliché – the real paintings jump out at you like the postcards just don’t. It’s organised chronologically, so you can see the progression of his work as it gets ever more startling.

We had dinner in a huge North-African restaurant called the Bazaar. We sat on the balcony where we could watch everything going on and soak up the Dutch atmosphere next to a huge red pattern tiled wall. Afterwards we managed to find a bar which served a good guiness.

We had left hotel booking until the last minute (btw, lastminute.com was useless but we found a better site), so we had to move hotels on Friday morning. The new hotel is almost next to the Anne Frank Huis, and comes complete with room for the three non-existent kids on a mezzanine level in the loft. Katie has bought her own guidebook, which is full of empty pages which she has to fill in.