|One of many canals found in Amsterdam|
I was tired and if I'm honest I could have done without dinner. In fact I was seriously considering not having dinner and just hitting the sack but convention kicked in: I always have dinner at dinner time (although the time was edging towards 9pm). So I went out with no idea of where to eat, although, having stayed in this hotel once before – in room 357 opposite room 356 and a much better room, I hasten to add – I knew what was out there. There was an Indonesian restaurant about five minutes away, there was an array of cheap and nasty places, plus some standard trattorias and pizzerias in and around the Leidseplein area and, nearby, a couple of hotel restaurants.
|Soup served in a jar at Joost. Why not a bowl? Why? Why?|
My business meeting for the next two days was back near the Centraal station, mildly annoying as there was a cocktail reception for the event in question the night I arrived and I could have dropped in and introduced myself had I known where the place was. Still, it was not to be and I eventually opted for a cab on Tuesday morning to take me to the hotel in question. But that was my only taxi. For the rest of the trip I walked there and back and it was very enjoyable, thanks to excellent weather. Hotter than Spain the UK papers were saying before I left for Amsterdam and I have to admit that it was very nice walking along the canals and through the streets of this great Dutch city, watching the many cyclists riding along the cycle paths. I could have cycled to work these past two days but because the cycle paths don't necessarily follow the same route one would take on foot I decided not to introduce any more confusion into my daily routine. Besides, with the sun shining it was very pleasant.
|A traditional Dutch 'Stampotje'. Tasty.|
Last night, business over, I took a longer walk than usual and tired myself out in the process. I ended up enjoying a glass of wine and some very salty nachos with a guacomole dip by the canalside, reading The Economist's view on various subjects from Iran's nuclear deal with the west to the fact that both David Cameron and Ed Milliband are making predictable promises to the electorate along the usual ideological lines. The paper argues that had they both gone against the grain – let's say Cameron announcing he would end the non-dom taxation rule and Milliband cutting taxes for top earners – then the electorate might have more respect and turn out to vote; it's looking as if turn-out will be low and that another coalition government will be in place after May 7th or whenever it is the election is taking place.
|My view of the canalside last night.|
Oddly, I gave the Best Western Leidse Square a fairly poor review on TripAdvisor the last time I was here, but this time I had a better stay. Perhaps they knew I was coming as the phone in my room didn't work and the room was tiny, although, compared with my last visit, the breakfast was much better – the fresh fruit salad wasn't as tired-looking and the general vibe was better, possibly because there were more people than last time. But if you consider the faulty phone, the tiny cell-like room and the mildly grubby and very slow to arrive lift, well, perhaps another poor review is on the cards, especially when there's a decent hotel just across the road. That said, the room was fine, I got a decent night's sleep, the shower worked fine so I shouldn't really complain and let's face it, the hotel is bang in the centre of Amsterdam. Who could ask for more? Well, alright, a restaurant would have been nice, a phone that worked, a faster lift, a bigger room...