Craig Gibbons' Lifeblog lifeblog://tri.eat.net

18Oct/050

Amsterdam weekend

This past weekend, Laura and I met up in Amsterdam for a weekend of, well, basic R&R really. I was originally supposed to run the Amsterdam Marathon, but for several reasons, decided to give this one a miss and come out fighting next round. No matter, it was always going to be a fun weekend and simply put, I love Holland. For some reason, it always feels like going home. There’s something familiar about the place and the people (those scantily clad, behind crimson glowing glass doors notwithstanding). It’s almost as if some genetic memory, tucked deep away in the cortex, makes its way, tulip like, towards the surface and suddenly one is at peace, at home. Amsterdam is all charm. The canals, the squares, the quaint shops and restaurants, people on bicycles everywhere, it’s the sort of place that really feels like a vacation weeks later upon reflection. The Dutch are also really laid back and incredibly friendly. In most countries (viz USA) this would amount to annoying faux-friendliness, but in Holland there’s a kind of genuine generosity about the people which makes all the smiles and polite gestures fitting.

In any case, that really is enough ego stroking for the Dutch. This weekend was all about relaxation and relax we did. Apart from sleeping until 11am and meandering along the canals, we also watched a movie, in Russian, with Dutch subtitles (yeah, hmmm), checked out the Heineken Experience and cashed all those free beer tokens, watched some of the Amsterdam Marathon, took in a performance of Boom Chicago’s "Bite the bullet" (a must if you’re ever in Amsterdam) and generally made a point of avoiding expeditious activities. The key to surviving London is frequent escapes. For sheer practicality, Amsterdam rates right up there at only an hour flight time, an hour time zone change and on the whole great bang. Highly recommended and next visit eagerly anticipated!

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