The Amsterdam Journals - Final

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

As my ankles swing and kick at my now almost defunct carry case, I realise why I've not seen a single lady in heels other than the reflection of my own suede pointed toes in puddles.
Amsterdam, I notice all too late into my trip, is not the place for anything other than a good pair of New Balance's with your jeans rolled up an inch above. My red jump suit feels a little sad and my feet a little sore, but my sartorial efforts are as ever an effort that I have grown to love begrudgingly.

I clack through the front doors of Morgan and Mees in West Amsterdam, check into the first room on the first floor and collapse in a heap in the middle of the bed.
For the first time since I've been here, I am alone, properly.
Not alone in Max's house, not alone a canal away from brunch with Raya or drinks with Kelvin and Peter but completely and ineffably alone for the next twenty four hours.
It creeps around me for a while as I open the doors onto the balcony, unsure whether to settle into lonely or rested.
The internal barometer ticks onto rested, wavering over excited and I kick my shoes off and get stuck in.
The evening grows dark and cold quickly, so I shut the balcony doors and dance around my room to 'Back To Me - Moonchild' and slide onto the bathroom tiles to disrobe and get ready to take myself on a date.
Oh sweet, sweet hotel bathrooms, how I love you so- but none more so than this one.
Expensive smelling conditioners are nailed to the tiled wet room, muted corrugated glass contorting shapes of light over my knees and collarbones as I step in and I slip into a long awaited silence of clean. It's one I'd always imagined to have in my own home one day.
It is a push to leave my room for the evening, but the restaurant downstairs with its gentle wafts of pasta and wine and the hungry din of metal pans in an open kitchen are enough to pull me back through the glass key doors and down for dinner.

During dinner, over looking the empty seat in front of me, its space filled with 'If You Feel Too Much', my notebook and a bottle of house red, I'm forced to remember what's brought me here in the first place.
A few days prior to booking my flight and arranging my adventure I was left somewhat startled by the end of something that had just started. C'est la vie, c'est la god damn my bloody vie because I am bruised bitter and bored of this notion now. I imagined by this point I'd be hapless and ruined in my own self pity but as I flit my glances from the empty to seat to the impossibly perfect date setting around me I feel unusually free. I don't know whether it's the fit waiter that had just served me my spaghetti vongole (which was delicious) or the fact that instead of being under my duvet back in London crying my eyes out I was making my way in a beautiful city, staying in a beautiful hotel, writing everyday like I'd always hoped I would be. I'd come out on top. I was absolutely, one hundred and fifty five million percent- living the dream, alone.
And okay.
And being served by a fit waiter.
I could hardly wait to get back upstairs, making a quick side tour to the bar for another glass of wine, I unfolded the spare duvet from the cupboard and made a den on my balcony overlooking the canals.
Four hours later I'd written just over 13,000 words, drunk three more glasses of wine, a cup of orange and jasmine tea and eaten six pieces of shortbread.

In the morning I reluctantly packed my things, said goodbye to the room that I know I will model my one day apartment around and popped for breakfast.
I love cheese. I love ham. I really, really like freshly squeezed orange juice. They nailed it.
The restaurant looked somewhat different to how I'd remembered it from the night before, quiet and bright, each painting showing faces I'd not registered previously. I felt calm, I felt full, I felt home.
I can't recommend Morgan and Mees enough. An utter sophisticated beauty without the pretence. Truly, quite perfect.

I recorded a piece called 'I Fell In Love When We Fell Out' at 2:36am whilst there, which you can listen to here -


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