26 Oct 2007


"the evening plane rises up from the runway
over constellations of light"
Neil Peart 1989

The following morning I load the already packed suitcase into the car and we set off for John Lennon Airport, Liverpool. The flight leaves after two o clock so we have plenty of time to buy overpriced drinks and food whilst we wait. Have a quick chat in the lounge to a bunch of Dutch Rush fans who were here for the Manchester gig last night.

The flight is being shown as 20mins late departure though they announce us to go to the gate 10mins before the board says, herd us on quickly and then catch up the rest of the time in the air. Plenty of Rush t shirts all over the half empty flight, including a guy who has yet to tell his wife he's just got a ticket for the Tues night Rotterdam show off ebay; "I'll text her when I arrive!" , wonder how that went down?

Once we arrive in Schipol its straight down to the station to catch the train into Amsterdam central. Once there we follow some emailed instructions from the hotel that takes us down Singel canal until we finally arrive at the door. The hotel looks nice and seems to be in a nice area. Some of the local residents are even getting into the festive spirit a little early by putting little red lights in the doorways ;). Actually the hotel was chosen after quite a lot of searching. In the end we went for the number one choice on trip advisor which had a lot of good reviews. It's a traditional Canal House from the 18th century called Hotel Brouwer. Our room is on the 3rd floor which is accessed by a lift the size of a coffin. The room is nice and spacious and clean and has great views out over the canals and the bridge, where the tourist boats can be seen passing underneath. An English lady has been left in charge of the night desk so we ask her about finding somewhere to eat as we are famished. She says there are plenty of places around but I'm not sure what she has in mind. In our research we had already realised that food was going to be a bit of an issue in Amsterdam. They have little or no culinary heritage of there own, lots of Indonesian restaurants of varying standards. Lots and lots of tourist trap places, and plenty of basic Kebab shop establishments. Added to that was the fact that everywhere seemed to be shut tonight. We ended up near the New Church in an Argentine Beef House (there's lots of these as well). Pretty unmemorable apart from the fact it was way more expensive than it should have been.

Job number one tomorrow has to be to work out where on earth all the decent restaurants hide in this city. Surely the locals want to eat decent food at some stage.

After dinner we return back to the hotel and get to bed. Nobody on trip advisor seems to have mentioned that those nice views of the canal come with a price. With no double glazing and 18th century window frames that barely fit into the walls, the hotels location is not the most restful of areas. Finally get to sleep dreaming of scooters, motorbikes and people falling into the canals.

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