Wednesday, 21 May 2014

One night in Amsterdam

About fifteen years ago when my children were teenagers, my daughter had to go to Britain for an interview at university. Her dad being the one she had got her brains from, was chosen to accompany her. I was left at home with my two teenage boys. A long weekend loomed ahead. On the spur of the moment I decided to take them to Amsterdam to visit my cousin's daughter and her boyfriend. A quick trip to the travel agent and we were all set to go. I felt very adventurous and daring and quite proud of myself. They, on the other hand, complained that to go to Amsterdam with your mum was really so uncool. As we boarded the plane their enthusiasm increased. We landed at Amsterdam airport and all of us felt the thrill of the adventure, not to say being impressed by the amazing sights of huge mounds of doughnuts.
While we were waiting for my cousin's daughter to come home from work we decided to try the open air ice-skating rinks that were all decorated for Christmas and looked so inviting and we had heard so much about. My boys were fitted up with skates and I move round the rink so that I could take photos of them as they came into view. I waited a long time with my camera poised and so walked back to see where they were. Lo and behold my youngest son had tripped up on the rubbish rented skates, fallen on the ice and his face was covered with blood. As my finger was on the button I automatically clicked it, at which point my elder son, ever protective of his younger brother, looked at me in amazement and asked what sort of mum takes a photo of her son like that. An ambulance arrived, cleaned him up  and then drove away telling me that no harm was done. Then what I could only describe as one of the heavy mob, with a heart of gold, loomed over me and told me I should take my son to hospital just to make sure nothing was broken because his nose was very swollen. Actually it wasn't really, he has a Roman nose. He told me that he had been in so many fights that he had had the bone in his nose removed specially. He then called us a taxi and bundled us in. The taxi driver asked me if I wanted to go to the good hospital or the bad one. Well without hesitation I said the good one, because in spite of the inappropriate photo my son means the world to me.
At the hospital they were very kind, pronounced him fit and well and told us to take it easy after our shock and absolutely no alcohol.
We then went to my cousin and her boyfriend's flat where they were waiting with a tray set out with champagne and tapas. My cousin's daughter was on the phone to her mum. I explained why my son was covered with bandages and said sadly no alcohol for us. She spoke to her mum, then she turned round and said emphatically "Mummy says champagne is the very best thing to have after a shock."
Everything was on the up from then on.
They took us to a restaurant near the red light district, it was full of young people and my cousins knew everybody. Large jugs of Margaritas appeared, the rim of the glass covered with salt. My sons became animated and joined in enthusiastically. I was just about to wonder how I would ever stand up again when someone ordered food. Delicious Mexican food that was perfect with the endless supply of Margaritas. My cousin and her boyfriend were delightful entertaining company and I felt the years slip away, I was a teenager again myself !!!
Afterwards my cousin's boyfriend took my sons to have a look round the Red light district, they had to see it, he said. We girls, yes I was one of the girls again, held back happily reminiscing and catching up with each others' news.
My cousin's boyfriend came back a bit peeved, the girls behind the glass windows had only been interested in my boys.
The warmth and friendliness of our hosts and all their friends was the best cure we could ever had hoped for.
The next day we went round the Van Gogh museum which was wonderful and deserves a post of its own, and then to Anne Frank's house,ditto.
After Anne Frank's house we were all very sad and down and wandered round the streets looking for somewhere to have lunch. It felt a bit like London, a bit like home, and then joy of joys we saw a sign outside a sort of Dutch pub saying Tomaten suppen. Tomato soup in a pub on a cold winter's day when you're feeling in need of cheering up, wonderful.
I secretly like to think that after our Amsterdam experience I became a cool mum after all, thanks to my cousin's daughter and her boyfriend.

No need for a bike lock in Amsterdam simply take your saddle with you, Ouch !!!

Not sure what was on offer here, but it made us smile

The scene of the accident

Amsterdam terraced houses coming to an end

Canals instead of streets,

The next day everything was much brighter


  1. This post made me relive the whole weekend all over again, what an adventure we had! Thanks for writing about it - And posting the pics, hadn't seen those for a while - I must say I'd really like to go back to Amsterdam now, ...maybe I could do without the ice-skating :-D

  2. How entertaining! Brings me back to when I also was in Amsterdam and other parts of Holland, a long long time ago ...