Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Bad Holiday Timing

Well, we got back from our holidayette on Monday evening. Hadn’t factored in that we’d inadvertently chosen Amsterdam's Gay Pride weekend for our little sojourn; heaving crowds with the place resembling Torremolinos or Benidorm on a summer's day - hideous. 

Wooden bike

On the flight out there was a bunch of macho Bristolians heading for a stag weekend – I’ll bet they were a bit shocked, especially as the groom was dressed as a bride. The queens would have loved him. 

Gay Pride on the Amstel

The Dutch are remarkably tolerant of these festivities and everyone we spoke to passed it all off as a cracking party. I somehow think an Old Sodbury Gay Pride event wouldn't go down too well - too many comedy gays and drag queens.

We visited the flower market where I spotted bonsai seeds being sold. Wrong! – there are no such things as bonsai seeds – they’re simply tree seeds and, unless you know something about cultivating bonsai, they will grow into fully fledged trees. Some people will fall for anything. 

Geodesic roof over the Maritime Museum

On our first night there the crowds were so ghastly that we had to move further out of town to find a decent restaurant that had any seats available. We found a lovely little place called ‘In De Keuken’, or ‘In the Kitchen’, a nouvelle cuisine establishment with the kitchen being what would normally be the bar area (hence the name). Had we tried to book we’d almost certainly not have managed to get a reservation, but we were lucky to find a table of 3 had cancelled just moments before we turned up. Food was heavenly but lacking in any substance whatsoever (as you’d expect with nouvelle cuisine); all foams and artily arranged shavings and slivers of food at horrendous prices. I found it necessary to look for a pizza parlour on the way back to the hotel to ensure my hunger was sated – Hay gave me suitably disapproving looks. 

The aftermath of the Gay Pride event (which involves hundreds of barges on the canals with gay anthems blaring out) was enough debris on the Sunday morning to keep our local street cleaners busy for several months - the entire barge route was several inches deep in beer and wine bottles. However, Dutch municipal cleaners managed to hoover up the majority within the first few hours of Sunday morning.

Gay Pride aftermath - Sunday morning on the Skinny Bridge

Replica of the Amsterdam, a Dutch East Indiaman

AK47 turned into a lamp base


  1. I once had a similar experience with what I was told was a miniature guinea pig as you describe with the bonsai seeds. Having little skill with such things it turned into a very large South American rodent which terrorised animals for miles around. Glad you had a good holidayette (holidayettes are for wimpettes)

  2. That looks like a nice break, despite the chaos.

    I've never been to Amsterdam. It looks good on your photos.

    1. Well recommended, but there again I'm a native.