Ever since I could remember, holidays took weeks if not months planning in advance. Flights had to be booked as early as possible. Up until now, the shortest time I’ve had to prepare for a holiday is somewhat four months. Up until now of course, where little over 48 hours was really the fine line.
I shall set the mood for you back to when the idea first came into question.
It was a drunken Monday evening and the four of us had been on the topic of Mickey’s monthly adventure and that was where, I think, the joking about began. I have a vague idea of what happened next but it resulted in the booking of a city break to Amsterdam, later that week.
It has to be said, waking up with a post-it note on your passport saying ‘get travel money’ was a little confusing until I found in my internet history later on Tuesday. History that linked me to a mass of searches for flights and train tickets and well, everything! I wasn’t exactly sure what to say that day. Not to my three accompaniments or anyone else for that matter.
With nothing more than a spare set of clothes, for the awaiting search on the return trip, and my toothbrush, I was pretty much ready. Oh and the plane tickets – which were not last minute at all.
After nearly missing the train to the airport and for me a lonely bus ride to the terminal, we finally passed through security and onto the plane. It was really happening but still felt like anything but reality.
I was going to Amsterdam. I was on a plane, to Amsterdam.
A couple of typical ‘looking out of the planes window’ photos were taken, l admit, but darkness fell across the sky as we flew over the city. A giant red and white chequered box signalled our meeting point, literally, and as Mickey describes it, ‘a Dutch Fat Tony’ of a hotel transfer driver we had arrived at our two star hotel.
Or as I renamed it upon entry, prison.
The maze of corridors and discount leaflets for prostitutes led us to our room, or hole as some might say. The door swung open and immediately you’re faced with two bunk beds. High bunk beds. The girls, Mickey and Lucy, pulled shot gun on the lower two leaving Jack and I with the higher bunks. A chair sat in the middle of the room opposite a sink with only cold water. Four lockers without locks were to the right.
It was, a prison. Even my bed was too high for me. I argued that it was cruel to have such a high bed but the others agreed that it was funny instead and took this rather amusing photo of me flopped over the side.
Mind you, if you were to describe the bathroom, well its nicer than what I have in my flat here in London. Honestly. You could have a terrible nights sleep, but you’d sure have a great wash in the morning!
On the only full day we had in the city, we payed a visit to the Anne Frank museum before getting lost and finding ourselves in a flower market – and then a cheese shop. Or three cheese shops in the end. They were everywhere and appeared to all be the same brand. To fully describe it, translate our Starbucks on every corner into cheese stores. It was very much like that.
We explored the city on the two nights as well, paying not only a visit to a couple of coffee shops but also to the red light district twice. I could write about the architecture of the buildings and the beautiful canals but to be honest, I don’t think you’re interested in any of that. There wasn’t a lot of attention in the area on the Thursday night, but when we returned on Friday, it was certainly busier. Girls calling out from their windows at you, you couldn’t make eye contact or they’d be reeling you in.
A kebab shop later and it was too cold for us. There was a chill in the air and I certainly didn’t pack for it. On the Friday night I had to return to the prison early to endure our neighbours knocking against the wall in the most annoying way. Earphones in and I caught up with the latest on twitter.
You could say that the trip was a real eye opener, in more way than one. Other than the fact that the seedy backstreets were on par with what I had expected, it was scary knowing that the entire trip was planned after only a few glasses* of wine. I really must be a lightweight after all.