Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Europe tour 2013 continued...

All right, it's time for the second part of this story.

Honestly, there's not quite as much to tell about my stops in Amsterdam and Paris since these were almost purely session stops -- no videos or live performances.  But there was A LOT of wrestling, and there were some funny moments also.

I left London Monday morning on a too-early flight from London City Airport.  The silly thing was that everyone assured me this airport was very close to the studio and easy to get to, but no one knew exactly how to do it.  So I left even earlier to manage the trip, and I ended up on the only flight of my life that's been too short -- no time to nap!

I arrived too early to check into the hotel, but that gave me a nice chance to do a tiny bit of sightseeing and stroll around the Vondelpark and up the Leidesplein.  After check-in, I had three back-to-back sessions -- all with guys who'd booked wrestling but ended up preferring muscle worship.  That was a bit restful after my busy time in London and my early morning travel, but, on the other hand,  I've never done so much arm wrestling in so short a period!

The next day was quite miserable and rainy, which was perfectly fine since it was my major stay-in-and-session day.  One gentleman in particular was completely endearing -- not only was he fun to wrestle, but as a gift he brought me a rubber ducky mascot from his soccer club (so sweet!) and Murakami's 1Q84 trilogy.  This has become the very next item on my reading list; an inspired gift.

And then there was Wednesday.  This was the day I reserved for sightseeing since I'd never been to Amsterdam before.  I mapped out a walking circuit of the city with more stops on it than I could possibly make.  I figured I'd just set out, stop when I felt like stopping, and skip things when I felt like walking.

Stop number one was pancakes.  When I saw Bettie in London, she'd just come from Amsterdam and she "warned" me that the food was awful -- all potato fries and waffles.  I personally couldn't see a thing wrong with this and vowed to sample fries, waffles, and any other local delicacies I encountered, which I found included pancakes, cheese, and beer.  I admit my diet usually consists of "do more exercise" unless I'm preparing for any specific event.

Next I wandered a bit through the Jordan district, where I found two specialty balloon stores right across the street from each other.  Alas, it was still too early for them to be open, and I had to press on.  I came upon the Tulip and the Cheese Museums, which equalled gifts for my mother and sister (tulips) and my father, brother, and 2nd sister (cheese).

I passed the Palace and the New Church and did a bit of lovely, upscale window shopping.  (I would really buy too much at Desigual if I let myself get started).  I headed on to the Old Church, where I got to witness the uncanny degree of secularism in Amsterdam.  At the New Church there had been a visiting exhibit of Ming Dynasty art on display.  At the Old Church they were installing another exhibit "The Museum of Broken Relationships," which featured mementos and text explanations that people across the world had donated commemorating their break-ups.  Plus, the Old Church was smack in the middle of the Red Light District, so the working ladies in their display windows were actually facing the church wall across a tiny little foot path.  Fascinating, and quite un-American.

From there, I headed to Central Station and walked along the water to the Maritime Museum.  I was running low on time now, so I didn't try to go in.  But my hopes were fulfilled and there was an exhibit of historic canal boats moored outside the museum.  I had a great time looking these over, and then I continued to the Botanic Garden, where I used the same tactic of circling the place and seeing what I could see over the walls and through the windows.  I was trying to save enough time to get to the Stedelijk Modern Art Museum.

I soon realized, though, that I would never make it to the Stedelijk before closing, so I detoured into the FOAM Photography Museum.  Not a bad choice.  And very entertainingly, one of the exhibits was "Dalton Anatomy," a series of photos of sculptures the artist had made from found objects and refuse in Ridley Road Market -- which was practically next door to where I'd just been staying in London.

I wrapped up the day with a pass through the Museumsplein (even though everything was closed), a delicious grilled salmon dinner (have to take myself out nicely at least once per trip), and one last late-night session.

The next day I headed on to Paris, but before I leave Amsterdam, I will note that the single strangest thing about the stop was the manager at my hotel.  Bettie had also warned me that her Amsterdam hotel had given her trouble over having guests to her room.  I happily had not a bit of trouble myself, but her warning did make me hyper-conscious of the front desk and whether they seemed to be over-interested in the hotel comings and goings.  In the three days and nights I was there, no matter what time I passed by, the same manager was NEVER not at that desk.  I hope it was a set of triplets because otherwise it was a cleverly disguised robot.  Actually spooky.

Onwards to Paris.  Of this stop, there is very little to say except that it was the busiest session stop I have ever made.  I was lucky to arrive again earlier than I was able to check in to my hotel because in the time I killed waiting I walked two blocks and discovered, without trying, the best almond croissant in the world.  This was the extent of my exploration in Paris, and I'm sure I could have had equally good success at any patisserie in the city.  Lucky too that I've made more leisurely, touristy trips to Paris before.

Once I did check into my hotel, I immediately had six sessions that day, fell into bed, and was up at 5:30 am to get started again at 6.  Wonderful stop, wonderful people, wonderful matches with everything from hard competitive wrestling to tickle bondage to boot domination.  Next time I'll plan a longer stop!

So that concludes my Eurotour 2013 Travelogue.  In conclusion, I will be back in 2014, without a doubt.  Some planning is needed, but I expect even more stops (at the very least, Germany, I won't miss you next time!) and more wrestling ;)

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