Amsterdam again

After dinner I decide to walk it off with a gentle stroll. The sun has not yet set, so I start to stroll east, the sun to my back. That will make it easy to find my way back – walk into the setting sun till you come to the canal you recognise, and there’s the hotel. Besides, I think that perhaps the red light district is somewhere over there, and Karla had asked me to find the house with… well never mind.

Half an hour later and I am beat. It occurs to me that I have walked an incredible amount in the last week. Perhaps a tad too much. I shall return to the hotel. I start to retrace my steps.

Ah, there’s that funny little bridge I walked over. And there’s that street with the odd name. And there’s a canal. Another street with an odd name. Another canal. I don’t remember that shop. Another bloody canal! And another. How many pigging canals can one city have?

I am walking towards the reddish part of the sky, the sun having just set. It is all blurring into one. Every canal looks like every other canal. Every street has an unpronouncable name. I pass a man mowing the grass on top of his canal boat. Maybe I am begining to hallucinate with fatigue.

I walk up to a man watering his window box. At least he’ll be local. "Excuse me. Stupid tourist. Lost." I show him my hotel key card with the street I am looking for printed on it. He tells me that I am walking in the wrong direction. I want to go back over three main canals and one minor one. There are degrees of canals? They all look the same to me.

I trudge back. I cross 4 canals. Their canalshipness is lost on me. They may be main, minor or the English Chanell for all I can judge. No hotel. I cross another canal. I walk alongside another. Someone comes up to me and asks if I can tell him where some streeet or other is. He is lost. I have visions of armies of demoralised tourists trudging listlessly around Amsterdam all night, in a scene from Dawn of the Dead.

I ask another resident. "You are going in the wrong direction." Of course I am. "See that bridge over the canal? Cross over that canal and another three, and there is the street." What’s Dutch for deja vu?

I trudge on. My hips are aching with every step. My feet are on fire, and I am developing a blister on the sole of one foot. My mouth is bone dry, but my shirt is dripping wet with sweat. It is twilight, but the muggy heat is still in the humid air.

I cross a bridge, and can’t remember whether it is the third or fourth. I had zoned out for a minute back there. It must be the third, because there is yet another bloody canal in front of me. Over that and there is a totally unfamiliar street. I squint up at the street sign. No, this is it. I could almost weep with relief. A hundred metres and I am in the hotel.

I make straight for the bar. "Beer, for the love of humanity, give me a beer."

"Do you want a small one or a large one?"

Let me tell you, dear reader, there are time when size really does matter.


About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

One Response to Amsterdam again

  1. Karla says:

    The cat house, Bob – the one with the lovely yellow-haired creature sitting in the window that I photographed in 1989…hey, have I shown you all my canal photos?? šŸ˜‰

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