skew_whiff: (raising hell)
skew_whiff ([personal profile] skew_whiff) wrote2012-09-07 05:56 pm

I'M BACK

I'M BACK, I'M BACK, PRAISE BE, I AM BACK

I am so elated I could honestly almost cry.

It is not because the internet service provider I signed up with made with the goods at last, mind you, but because after waiting all morning for a phone engineer that never came, I finally cracked, and have now struck a deal with the guy living next door to me that I'll use his wireless and pay half the share.

I really should've done that a month ago and saved myself the bother, and I don't look forward to the rigmarole of calling TalkTalk's appalling call centre and cancelling the whole shebang, but FUCK IT I AM BACK. GOD, INTERNET, I HAVE MISSED YOU.


Anyway. Amsterdam, for the record, was amazing - rather expensive, much more so than Berlin, so I had to tread carefully - but exactly what I needed, a relaxing stay in a beautiful city in which, for once, nothing went wrong. (Asides from occasionally getting confused by the barriers on the trams and missing my stop.)

I spent a lot of time just wandering around admiring the architecture and being amused by tourists - like the bunch of Germans who startled me on the train by barking 'Fahrkarte bitte' at me as they entered my compartment (I only wish I had enough German to have told them they were reminding me something out of The Great Escape; they were amused that I knew enough just to get all flustered and actually start reaching for my ticket), and the weird American guy who came into the cafe where I was eating breakfast to ask where he could go to buy a joint. I mean, jeez, bro, at least wait until after lunch.

I saw several museums, including the excellent Verzetsmuseum, which is about the experience of the Netherlands and its people during WWII - the stuff about the war in Europe and the Dutch resistance was fascinating, but what I was really impressed by was the little sub-exhibit about Dutch-occupied Indonesia during the Pacific war; it's a subject on which I know precious little, and I was particularly struck by the awkwardness of the situation in which mixed-race Dutch-Indonesians found themselves in after the war, not necessarily welcome in their home country or in the Netherlands.

I also ate exceedingly well, and came home with a bag stuffed full of cakes and Dutch gin. Including a packet of these biscuits, which made me burst out into entirely inappropriate laughter in the shop. It's not the name so much as the name with the exclamation mark afterwards - it just seems so incongruously jolly.

Talking of BoB, Webster was entirely right in that the Dutch do all speak English (and wrong about Van Gogh being born in Nuenen; he lived there, but not as a child), to the point that the signs in Schiphol airport actually have the English words for things first, above the Dutch ones. It's really easy to come by English-language books and newspapers, I passed an event where the University of Amsterdam were holding free outdoor lectures in English, I went to see a film which was in English with Dutch subtitles (and watched Top Gear on BBC2 in my hotel room)... it's a little odd, but certainly convenient.

So, yeah. It was amazing, and I recommend it to anyone. You do have to keep a keen eye out to avoid being run over by bicycles, but asides from that, it's a wonderful city - prettier than Paris, friendlier than London, good food is in abundance and it's easy to get around. I could honestly see myself living there one day.

But in the meantime - it's good to be home. Have I missed much?

Post a comment in response:

From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.