July 4th, 2019


So a jolly nice biz class trip over, not entirely without incident, they ran out of booze, but that's for elsewhere. But a remarkably easy transition to Philippe's train line. Step off Eurostar, go through the gates, buy a ticket, from the machine, which is in English anyway, go back through the gates to the platform, and a few mins later I was on my way. Dead easy. 15 pleasant minutes to Amsterdam Zuidoost, where he lives, and he was on the platform when my train pulled in, ready to take my luggage! Car parked right outside the station, an whoosh, back to his house.

His home, as you'd expect from a Frech, well brought up gay banker, is lovely. I got the whole top floor with a huge bed, sofas and a balcony with a terrace and table and chairs outside, great view. It was akin to being in a suite in a rather nice boutique hotel!

Friday was a beautiful evening, we sat outside all night, chatting, and drinking bucket loads of Prosecco, had some antipasti and then some pasta, and a lot more Prosecco. A lot of years to catch up on, too many (I've already booked another trip in May next year). He is the same, tall, athletic, incredibly good looking, tanned, still playing tournament tennis, and still no husband or boyfriend. So we giggled away and picked men for each other on our respective dating apps. He picked David for me, a Brit who's lived in Haarlem for many years, who I am actually still chatting to!

Saturday morning, breakfast in the garden, then we hop in the car and take the scenic route to Muiden, not far away. https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/plan-your-trip/day-trips/castles-and-gardens/muiden

Park up right in the centre of town, on a canal to have a coffee and watch the world go by. There's a little man actually inside the bridge, operating the opening mechanism so that people and bikes or boats can take their turn. An incredibly attractive little town. And then on to the castle. 700 years old, and a picture perfect fairytale castle! Moat, dungeon,turrets, a falconer and beautiful gardens. Extremely well preserved and stunning to look at and explore. https://www.muiderslot.nl/en/

Then we walked along defence wall, to see the multitude of boats bobbing about on the Vecht in the glorious sunshine, and on to an honesty farm shop to buy eggs, admiring the glossy cows en route. We chatted to the Backroads Cycling guide, and felt a bit sorry for the tour (it was 35 in the shade) and then stopped at a fish stall for Kibbeling. Fresh fish cut and battered in front of you. Absolutely yummy, much better than the fried fish we get! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbeling

Back home, and 2 hours sat in the hot tub in the back garden. Bloody lovely, it was sooooo hot!

Saturday night we took the tube into Amsterdam, had a wee walk around Chinatown and had a very ordinary meal. Don't pick a restaurant when it's late and you're starving! And then gay bar time, which was fun. It's different to the UK, everybody talks to you, bar staff and customers! Great music, and I now have Phil drinking G&Ts. 4am finish in the back garden again, him feeding me, LOL!

One thing that did disturb me in the city centre was the bikes. They hit people quite often, and they are big, heavy bikes! The locals ride fast and aggresively. I'd be happy out of town, but not in the city centre, they are like two-wheeled Sicilians!

Sunday we didn't get up til lunch time, and sat in the garden again, with toast and jam, chatting away and making plans. Until 4.30 when I realised I had a train at 5.45, and was not dressed or packed. Faaaaark! Mad rush, he drove me in to Centraal Station. Luckily no passport control or security there, so *phew*

Didn't get home til 11pm, very tired, but having had a fantastic weekend. Suspect I may get a cheapie interim flight over in the winter, he's very keen for me to come back asap :)