The Amsterdam Journals - Volkshotel

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

So, this is it.
The line of my life where instead of steadily crying into an expensive spinach and lemon juice in Soho, googling how to get those fun concentration meds prescribed and querying why I'm not loved up in Florence writing poetry and supping Prosecco like it's squash - I've booked a flight to Amsterdam alone to curve it around with meditation, running, writing and probably crying into an expensive spinach and lemon flavoured juice along a canal.

My friend Max, who is legitimately the male version of me 
(for all the worst bits, his best bits are nothing like me which is why I adore him and he's not an idiot) has just moved out here for university and I have every intention of using and abusing his hospitality as well as giving him a bloody good cuddle over a large glass of red wine.
His lady was in town the night I arrived, so I booked into Volkshotel for a shelter of safety and to weigh out my first ounce of inspiration.
I have never truly understood the importance of travel or of running away and the notion of 'finding myself' on a distance shore has always induced a strange sort of acid reflux.
Running manically to my gate at Gatwick, sitting still and calm next to a wonderful Dutch lady called Jana on row 23 and smoothing over my bed covers for the night all started to crack open how much I am here to learn.

I settle down beneath a bunker of trinkets, bowling pins and gramophones, typewriters and foreign books in the downstairs bar, swill my wine from clockwise to anti and marvel at how freeing anonymity is but realise how alone I am. 
It's a thought that starts and stops for much shorter than I thought it might.
The staff here are intrusively good looking - their bone structure and milky eyes dancing into my own less milky gaze every ten or so minutes, perfect and clean and cool, checking I'm okay.
I tell them I'd be less okay if they weren't so attentive and sweet.
It's lovely to feel safe, particularly, it's lovely to feel safe here.
The hotel is like an architectural lovechild of a Shoreditch basement bar and a playhouse you'd have dreamt up as a child.
Everything demands to be touched or sniffed at, instagrammed, penned about.
It's these details, the candles at breakfast and the in-house illustrations, the hanging chairs and gaudy signs that spring me up much earlier than usual to find a corner downstairs and scribble my first sightings of clarity into my notebook.

No better introduction could've been wished, a truly perfect first night.
'Volkshotel is a place for dandies and poets, dishwashers, nightbloomers and artists.' it states on their website, I would struggle to find words more fitting.
Good morning Amsterdam, please let you continue to be this wonderful.


  1. Ahhhhhh I never thought of Amsterdam as a place to learn/be calm/alone. It always seemed like a picturesque place to go with your family and enjoy good food/drink/dessert/museums. It's nice to see another side. Volkshotel definitely seems like a place I wouldn't mind being alone.

  2. Amsterdam is such a calm and wonderful place, so jealous you were there!

    xo Camilla

  3. I've honestly fallen in love with the photos and your description of this beautiful town. It takes a bit of courage to travel alone, and must admit I've never thought about it before this post of yours. The more I think about the idea, the more benefits I realize. I hope you've achieved everything you've hoped to when you decided to go to Amsterdam.



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