Friday, December 19, 2008

No Dutch Treat

When you're travelling on holiday (as the British like to say) there are some days that feel less like a vacation than others. Thursday was one of those days.

We took the train from London to Amsterdam. It was an all day trip with a stopover in Brussels to change trains. Noisy fellow passengers and general fatigue tested our patience.

When we arrived in Amsterdam at 4:30 pm it was already dark. We were only one overpriced cab ride away from our accomodations but when the driver dropped us off there was no sign of the quaint bed and breakfast we had booked but rather only a hair salon at the address that we had been given.

A hair stylist came out and asked if he could help us. We told him we were looking for a B&B. He said we were in the right place. Sure enough he led us upstairs to our room.

Actually it was pleasant enough. A two room apartment that was spacious by European standards. Of course you had to be a sure-footed yak to make it up the steep and narrow staircase that led to our room and having your own tank of oxygen seemed to be advisable as well.

We are here to visit a friend of Allison's, Donna Beech, who moved to Amsterdam from Santa Barbara a few years ago. Amsterdam strikes me as being a Dutch Berkeley. Very liberal, very permissive. Filled with lots of young people as well as people who don't want to grow old.

Amsterdam has an infamous red light district as well as the numerous "coffee shops." Haven't yet checked any of them out but when I do you'll be the first to know.

I'm sure it won't be long before Wendy McCaw sends "The Investigator" over here to make sure that I've stayed out of trouble.