Archive for Travel

Boat Hopping

We got up scandalously late and had a super breakfast on the boat, followed by a leisurely bath. We wandered over the Amstel to Omar & Péter’s houseboat down the north side of Theater Carré for drinks and nibbles. A lovely, permanent, purpose-built houseboat fitted out in a very smart modern style. Péter and Omar seemed very happy and relaxed.

On to our own boat for a pre-dinner cup of tea with Jan, Chris and Matthew, and then Tempo Doeloe for a superb rijstafel followed by a lovely dessert plate of exotic fruits, sorbets and ice cream. The very hot rendang was amazing: my face turned red in a cartoon fashion and I tried to keep a straight face, but the post-shock flavour and sensation were amazing.

Final boat of the day was Chris and Matthew’s for more drinks and nibbles with the French girls and then the Portuguese-German contingent, and so another late night / early morning.

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We started late with a lovely breakfast from the supplies provided, and then took the tram round to De Joordan for a quick peek in the Stedelijk Museum Bureau. The video installation – The Black Room
by Melvin Moti – was fascinating but not sufficiently to keep us for more than fifteen minutes, so we carried on wandering the pretty streets, heading back towards the Dam Plein. Lunch was a light but very welcome bite at
Café van Daele.

Popping into a couple of gay bookshops on the way back, we decided that Vrolijk is much the better stocked although Intermale has a good selection of secondhand English titles.

Then only just time for a short rest before getting dressed up for the main event. First stop Matthew and Chris’s huge houseboat, just north of the zoo, for a glass of wine. They were sharing theirs with two guests from Hungary. We made aquaintances and then headed over to the Uilenberger Synagogue for the ceremony.

Omar and Péter looked fabulous in traditional Hungarian jackets. The celebrant from the Amsterdam registry office was a very vivacious woman, and although the ceremony was in Dutch, we picked up on her positive and very supportive delivery. Documents signed, the formalities gave way to drinks and canapés and a mini-line-up to meet and greet the parents. Sadly my Hungarian is completely non-existent.

The wedding caravan moved on to its second destination of the night, the private room at the ultra-stylish Brasserie Harkema, suspened behind huge plate glass windows above the main dining room. The food was moderately good but the occasion was fantastic.

Our final destination, until the early hours, was the party at the Badhuistheater, complete with guest appearance from a very convincing (male) Tina Turner. We didn’t manage to get Matthew on the dance floor, though…

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Our trip to Amsterdam for Omar and Péter’s wedding started with another awful Central Trains experience: our Stansted train was first five, then ten minutes late, then cancelled. So off to Bishop’s Stortford by slow train where we jumped in a taxi to the airport (£11 and 15 minutes for future reference!) We felt better after an easy checkin, on-time departure and early arrival into Schiphol, albeit with the now-obligatory 20 minute taxi around the huge outfield before we got to the terminal.

The houseboat is fantastic, equipped with everything we need. Timon recommended a bar on the corner which turned out to be a real gem: Oosterling Slijterij-Tapperij. We had delicious Brand Imperator and Dobbelbock, and slept extremely well afterwards.

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