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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Newcastle To Amsterdam

Debbie was out the door before me this morning at around 7.00a.m. She's taking her mother to Liverpool again so that Doris (Debbie's mum) can see her brother. The train to Liverpool require a couple of changes and at the age of 80, Doris can't make all that platform yomping that the rest of us have to do. Fortunately the railways provide assisted travel services which means Doris is ferried to her coach via the station's wheelchair. With a taxi to and from the hospital, the trip is relatively painless for Doris though obviously still tiring.

My morning was spent writing show notes for some forthcoming DGMLive releases and then it was time to head off to the airport. I'm heading over to Amsterdam to see this...

Newcastle airport seemed decidedly empty once again considering it's a bank holiday weekend...


Across the way I can see my plane being readied...

I sat reading Private Eye for half an hour and almost as an afterthought I realised was supposed to be on that plane I kept looking at. I made it in plenty of time of course because Newcastle is such a small airport, but I nearly missed it because I'd relaxed so much drinking a cuppa and reading.

As it turned out the flight to Amsterdam was pretty busy and we managed to take off about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. About an hour later I was getting off in Schiphol...

 and onto a train...

I made it to my hotel which I'd booked sight unseen via the internet. Normally these have turned out to be fine. This room however was the smallest, narrowest space with a bed in it I've ever seen.
I took two steps in and had to squeeze myself into a corner to be able to shut the door.

Upon entering I discovered it had been recently vacated by a chain-smoker. The bed had a dip in it that made it resemble a hammock and when I sat on the thing, my knees touched the wall on the other side of the room.

However it did have a nice view with a balcony full of cigarette buts.

"Two days in here?" I thought to myself.

Kemel at the counter in reception was very helpful and said he could let me have a double room but it would cost me 50 Euros extra. I didn't tell him that if he'd said it'd cost 100 extra I'd have paid up willingly.

With the new improved double room secured, I took a walk around the vicinity.

Not for the first time I find myself thinking that life on the continent seems so much more civilised than in the UK. That was until I encountered these streets which in places were full of pot-heads and drunks making sounds that sounded as though they were in the business of clearing their throats after a heavy night on the Woodbines.

And what of the famous fleshpots of Amsterdam? Frankly, I was feeling puggled after an early start, work and travel. I retired at around 9.00 p.m. to watch something called A Game Of Thrones which my son had given me saying "You'll like this dad. It's all about politics."

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