I’m thrilled to be back in Amsterdam – one of my favorite cities – (check the Amsterdam archives to hear me fawn over her in ’06 like a lovesick schoolboy). A couple days here on my own (doing a little work, actually) prior to D‘s arrival as she wraps up her African safari. The plan is some time in Paris, then back here for Picnic ’09, then to Ghent, then back here again… we’re gonna have fun.
I’m a year late at a true update. So, as 2007 comes to a close, it’s high time for a general update on my new scene – especially since I’ve not sent out holiday cards. Some of you have been following along here (thanks!), but most of you haven’t had the time, so here’s an abbreviation.
For those of you considering an extended jaunt in Europe, or the merely curious, I’ve been pulling together a list of lessons learned from my journey. I wanted to travel light (to enable flexibility and mobility) and see a lot of places in the few weeks I was there. However, I didn’t want to move around so much that my memories would be of travel rather than new places, people and cultures. As it was, I chopped a couple places off my itinerary and still felt I moved around too much. Overall, I had a wonderful experience and can’t wait to do it again – better. Here’s a general idea of how I’d make it better.
Continue reading Lessons Learned in Europe
First of all, this train scene is bullshit. The compartments are evenly divided among smoking and non-smoking, which I think is unfair. One could be forgiven for thinking that all Europeans smoke, because there seems to be smoking just about everywhere. I saw folks smoking in a sushi restaurant in Amsterdam and remember thinking, how can you taste the sushi?
Anyway, I choose a smoking compartment because the non-smoking compartments are stuffed full, and I’m hoping to spread out and get some writing done. I am listening to my iPod as I settle in.
Continue reading Train to Paris
After agonizing whether to head south to Milan or east to Vienna, I decided to head east. I took the ICE (inter-city express; a high-speed train) from Amsterdam to Duisburg, then connected from Duisburg to an overnight train for Vienna. I was dreading it but wanted the experience.
Continue reading The Train To Vienna
Had she been warmer, I might not have left.
She, who had somehow trained her girls to run, on cobblestone, in heels, and look great doing so. She, who brought a type of Scandic modernness together with a thousand years of history and made it look like it belonged together. She who, despite being a bit rough with me, had finally whispered – no, sung – into my ear what I’d been aching to hear: that I could stay as long as I wanted. But, she and I had to say good-bye.
It was a summer-vacation kind of love; you know, the love under whose light anything seems possible – infinity visible again in the everyday – even swirling around right there in your coffee cup. The kind that can take all the dreams that long ago rusted away under the rain of your own mediocrity and make them shine again. Or – was that just me, more awake?
And likewise, it was an end-of-summer-vacation good-bye; just like that girl who hugged me before she got into her parents’ station wagon to head home for school, I told her we’d see each other again soon. We’d stay in touch – somehow be together again, I said – and then felt the heartache as she faded off into a darkening sky. But later would come new friends, new adventures, and so on – and before you know it, that rain kicks in and you start to forget…
Anonymous reader asks about Amsterdam (my girl,) “how’s the pot?” Well, I actually didn’t smoke any pot while I was there. Now, you’ll need to find the easter egg in that sentence, thus freeing me to file a fuller report later on. I have just spent 15 hours on a train and arrived not-so-fresh in Vienna, still feeling the motion of the train. More soon.
No trip to Amsterdam is complete without time in her famed Red Light District. I meandered through a few times, and actually ended up there by accident while out wandering on Hallowe’en night.
Now, before I get started, and all you high-society prostitution know-it-alls get up in my stuff with your snarky emails about how, nimrod, the way to get laid in Amsterdam, if you’re not a cheapskate, is by calling one of those sketchy Estonian modeling agencies and asking for Vlad, not by wandering around in the Red Light District – save your breath. I was just looking, and was doing it for you.
Continue reading Amsterdam’s Red Lights
I find myself making excuses for her. The things I said I didn’t like about New England – the cold, the wind – these things are here. But they seem somehow alright; seasons with Amsterdam seem so much more appealing and livable.
I am reminded of an ongoing conversation with a friend a long time ago – he had always carried on about how blondes were his thing – some of us sort of chuckled about it. Could it really matter that much? Then, one day, he fell for (and would later marry) this wonderful girl with dark hair. I said to him, “But, I thought you were all blonde, all the way?” He said, “fuck hair color, I’m in love, man!”
Continue reading Random Amsterdam Thoughts