I’m sitting in Amsteram’s Schiphol Airport, waiting for my flight back to London. I’ve been in the Netherlands since Wednesday, when I flew over for a conference.
Work-wise, it wasn’t too bad. But I was a little sleep deprived (one night due to impressive thunder and lightning!) and survived off some pretty awful conference food. Also, I didn’t really help myself by digging into deep-fried Dutch food at every other opportunity.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say the Dutch haven’t added a huge amount to international cuisine. And before anyone gets too angry with me, I’ll hold my hand up and admit that ‘traditional’ Irish food isn’t that great either. But the Dutch have really perfected the art of deep-frying anything and serving it up with thick, thick mayonnaise.
I had more than my fair share of bitterballen this week, which I feel has slowed down my metabolism somewhat. And then there was a cheese. If it ewasn’t in cheese-rolls at the conference, it was on cheese-boards in bars.
I need a week off food, sustaining myself only on air, pleasant thoughts and some distilled spring water.
But we all know there’s fat chance of that happening anytime soon.
I stayed at the NH Krasnapolski Hotel, which I’d definitely recommend. Superb service, a lovely restaurant and a breakfast which was the best possible start to the day.
The weather was superb in Amsterdam, and I managed not one but two trips on the canals, both fuelled some something cold and wet. Wednesday saw me and a colleague enjoy some champagne and a brief tour of Amsterdam, while also taking in the delightful sunshine. I was so glad I had packed shorts! And it was such an impulse to hop on board. I’m glad we did though – the laughs were worth it.
Thursday was spent at the conference, and in between presentations, I refuelled on some excellent coffee and some not so excellent cheese rolls. (No matter where you go in the Netherlands, you’ll not be more than 100 metres from some cheese in a bread roll. It’s a national obsession…) I also got to say hello to a cute robot – one who’d I’d previously met in Japan. She was called Pepper here, but I don’t think that was her name as she greeted people in-store in Harajuku…
Dinner that night was served in a lovely venue – the Beurs van Berlage – but unfortunately, the food was simply awful. As was the stage magician who was conjured up to entertain us. Or as I put it, prevent us from having conversations with he other delegates over a meal. 🙄
After my own presentations were finished on Friday (whew!) I was invited on another boat cruise, this one lasting much longer. The sun was still out and the views were stunning. It was incredibly relaxing and I didn’t really want it to end.
So once I’d dragged myself ashore (bags and baggage) on Friday night, I headed out to Schiphol once again, but this time to pick up Frank and our hire car. We drove out to our hotel in Soest, where we stayed this weekend. A combination of relaxation and a seven-year-old’s birthday party this morning.
Our hotel was a Hilton and was blessed with quite a nice sauna and steam room. I of course spent several hours in it Saturday afternoon, after visiting Utrecht in the morning. I’d never been and was very impressed by how beautiful it is. Much greener than Amsterdam and with a definite slower pace of life. I’ll be back for sure.
So now for a return to London. I feel like I’ve been away from home for an age! Amazingly (for me) I’ve no travel booked this week. But it’s only two weeks until I’m off to Tokyo with my nephew and I’ve quite a bit of prep to do before I leave.
The travels continue, of course – after Tokyo, I’ve booked a long weekend in Sitges for the end of August and another two weeks in Japan in September.
I can’t remember exactly when I was bitten by the travel bug, but I’m so glad it happened.