Bad news

Someone at last night’s party told me that 2 years ago you couldn’t buy any house in Amsterdam below 187000 guilders if you weren’t already a resident of the city for at least five years. If that is still the case, I can forget about the house on Wilhelminastraat that I’m checking out tomorrow.

I walked past it last night before going to the party and the street looked a bit scruffy. Lots of bikes parked on the sidewalk, so that probably means lots of students. Some of the houses on the street looked dingy, others looked prim and proper. ‘Mine’ was an inbetweenie – it definitely needed a paint job on the outside. All the curtains were closed so there was no telling what the inside might be like.

The neighbourhood looked lively enough with shops and bars and only a few minutes walk to the main street & tram (Overtoom).

Books
I spent most of Sunday strolling around the city of Deventer. My dad had been invited to the authors’ lunch by his publishers. It was a typically bland Dutch lunch (the quiches were tasteless and raw) of mostly sandwiches and soup. I’ll probably gripe about Dutch food in a future edition of ‘Flat’ my column about Dutch culture.

90.000 people were expected to visit this biggest book fair of Europe. I thought it was quite enjoyable, if a bit crowded. If only I hadn’t been forced to wear my dress shoes for the occasion – I don’t know how many stalls we passed, but my feet started complaining half way through.

I found some gorgeous books from the 20’s and 30’s but they were way too expensive for me. I also dug up a more recent book on Bauhaus (the movement, not the band). My dad was interested so I held back and let him buy it so I can borrow it! My interest in Bauhaus lies mainly with graphic design and architecture – I have very little love for Kandinski’s paintings.

I’ve a bit of a throat on me… cough cough.

How to live…

… with a neurotic traveler.

I tend to do several neurotic things when I’m about to travel. 1. buy new clothes to travel in 2. buy new bag to put new clothes in 3. pack and unpack bag countless times

I used to bring too much stuff, but I’m over that. I’ve traveled a lot, I suppose, and I’ve learnt to travel light. These days I tend to bring too few clothes. But that doesn’t matter, because my philosophy is: ‘more reason to shop on location!’

So I got a nice navy V-neck cotton sweater. Ideal for summer evenings on the quay. And a pair of very thin light greenish khaki workers. I’ve been breaking in my new hiking boots (Nike… terribly un-p.c.!).

I have so many travel bags… but trust me, I did check out the on sale backpacks at ‘America Today’. Fortunately, my wiser self managed to strangle my neurotic ‘I need bag’ self.

I haven’t started packing my bag yet. But I did pick it up from behind the sofa and flung some clean underwear in it.

Am I the only neurotic traveler?

Sleep.
‘You look really tired,’ someone said to me yesterday. And I probably did. I don’t sleep much, 5 maybe 6 hours a night. Yesterday evening I got home with a headache, finished my sushi dinner quickly while watching Father Ted, fell asleep around 9 and slept for 9 hours. I guess I needed that.

Busy weekend ahead:
Party tonight in Amsterdam for W’s birthday. ( I got her Bridget Jones’s Diary – hope she laughs as much as I did reading it. Any woman should get it, it gently takes the mickey out of all us 30- somethings. )

Then on Sunday I am accompanying my parents to the author’s dinner at a book festival in Deventer. My dad’s been invited and he is also covering the event in his magazine. I’m to take pictures for publication. It will be nice to be able to hide behind the camera.

Sushi: How to make ’em, What they look like

Book fair

I am accompanying my parents to the author’s dinner at a book festival in Deventer on Sunday. My dad’s been invited and he is also covering the event in his magazine. I’m to take pictures for publication. It will be nice to be able to hide behind the camera.

Oh yer nothing but a Smoothhound

Yesterday I was complaining about not being able to book accommodation in London on line. Well I found Smoothhound systems who at least offer the opportunity to either e-mail the hotel or send an e-mail via fax.

11.00
Whether this actually works we’ll find out soon, I’ve just faxed and e-mailed about 20 hotels in central London. If it does work – I’ll be a happy girl.

11:53
v. pleased. 2 return faxes already. Not exactly the tariffs I’d hoped for, but it’s a start. I guess you can’t really complain about 25 pounds a head for a basic room off Tottenham Court Road. It’s only a small stroll down to Cyberia cafe. ;-)

12:30
Went ahead and booked the Garth Hotel. (Full English or traditional Japanese breakfast… that must have been the clincher.) I quite like the idea of being able to walk back to the hotel rather than having to take the last tube.

Cyberia was my first introduction to Internet Cafe’s – and I spent many many pounds in there looking at my own homepages… as one does.

Smoothhound: 1,000’s of UK Hotels and Guest Houses

Oh yer nothing but a Smoothhound

Yesterday I was complaining about not being able to book accommodation in London on line. Well I found Smoothhound systems who at least offer the opportunity to either e-mail the hotel or send an e-mail via fax.

11.00
Whether this actually works we’ll find out soon, I’ve just faxed and e-mailed about 20 hotels in central London. If it does work – I’ll be a happy girl.

11:53
v. pleased. 2 return faxes already. Not exactly the tariffs I’d hoped for, but it’s a start. I guess you can’t really complain about 25 pounds a head for a basic room off Tottenham Court Road. It’s only a small stroll down to Cyberia cafe. ;-)

12:30
Went ahead and booked the Garth Hotel. (Full English or traditional Japanese breakfast… that must have been the clincher.) I quite like the idea of being able to walk back to the hotel rather than having to take the last tube.

Want

I think I want this place. Nicely situated in central Amsterdam, close to my friends and – wow – it’s affordable. Why? Did somebody die in it? Is it smelly and neglected? I’ll find out on Monday, at 4.30 pm – I’ve just made the appointment.

My flight has been booked… fortunately the budget seats were still available. I remember a few years ago the cheapest flights to London were 260 guilders. They’re 178 guilders now thanks to competition from Easyjet and other budget flight operators, I suppose.

Now I’m hunting for cheap accommodation for one night in London. I’ve been booking accomodation in London through the internet since I first got on the web… that’s April 1995. At the time, it seemed more easy to find something, simply because there was less choice.

However, not much has changed when it comes to actually booking something. On line reservation is rare, you still have to phone or fax the hotel. I would like to see a system where you can check whether a hotel has rooms available. It should be possible.

It’s nice to see pictures of the hotel – the front of a building may not say much about the quality inside, but how else are you going to choose? It doesn’t matter much this time around because it’s only for one night. We’re travelling on to Brighton the next day. There’s lots of choice in accomdation in Brighton as well. I’ve tried e-mailing a few places, but so far I have received no answer from any of them. I shouldn’t think Brighton is booked out in this weather. (Yes darlings, it’s still pouring down in Northern Europe.)

… I hope to find Tellytubbies t-shirts in London for my friend’s two toddlers. :-)

Want

I think I want this place. Nicely situated in central Amsterdam, close to my friends and – wow – it’s affordable. Why? Did somebody die in it? Is it smelly and neglected? I’ll find out on Monday, at 4.30 pm – I’ve just made the appointment.

My flight has been booked… fortunately the budget seats were still available. I remember a few years ago the cheapest flights to London were 260 guilders. They’re 178 guilders now thanks to competition from Easyjet and other budget flight operators, I suppose.

Now I’m hunting for cheap accommodation for one night in London. I’ve been booking accomodation in London through the internet since I first got on the web… that’s April 1995. At the time, it seemed more easy to find something, simply because there was less choice.

However, not much has changed when it comes to actually booking something. On line reservation is rare, you still have to phone or fax the hotel. I would like to see a system where you can check whether a hotel has rooms available. It should be possible.

It’s nice to see pictures of the hotel – the front of a building may not say much about the quality inside, but how else are you going to choose? It doesn’t matter much this time around because it’s only for one night. We’re travelling on to Brighton the next day. There’s lots of choice in accomdation in Brighton as well. I’ve tried e-mailing a few places, but so far I have received no answer from any of them. I shouldn’t think Brighton is booked out in this weather. (Yes darlings, it’s still pouring down in Northern Europe.)

… I hope to find Tellytubbies t-shirts in London for my friend’s two toddlers. :-)