So The Engine Room shut up shop for two days and went on a jolly jaunt. Why? Well, we thought we deserved a break, we’ve been talking about it for so long and we wanted to talk about the future over a Heineken or two. So we chose a city of creative inspiration…
We went to experience Amsterdam, just 50 minutes away on a plane and in just 48 hours, from arrival to departure, we embraced so much. We needed to taste the Heineken to find out if it truly does taste different. (Yes it does by the way!) We needed to eat cheese, every variety including coconut, lavender, pesto, smoked and good old Gouda. We needed to experience the public transport from trains to trams to taxis and we needed to be educated and delve into the Rijksmuseum, canal district, shops, bars and restaurants.
Amazing that anyone can find their bike! Amazing how similar some of the Dutch and English language are like hello and hallo, goodbye/farewell and vaarwel, but at the same time how so many words are like picking your letter tiles for Scrabble. It is amazing how similar Dutch ‘verbazingwekkend’ is to ‘amazing weekend’. Amazing public transport that runs efficiently, taxi drivers that arrive in suits and we have to mention the Dutch gin, meat platters, sunsets and the most amazing use of an old garage, turned restaurant.
Apart from the obvious bicycles everywhere, there’s not much else to say apart from how they cycle with no hands and with one hand while texting, effortlessly. If we put a twist on this one and say ‘cycle’ again, we’re getting somewhere closer to life and existence and Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds: The Happiness Project The exhibition uses more than 200 anatomical specimens of human bodies to show the complexity, resilience and vulnerability of the body and to help us take some time out to consider what makes us happy.
Lloyd Hotel is the ultimate extraordinary. On one hand a one-to-five star design hotel situated on the upmarket eastern docklands of Amsterdam; on the other a hotel steeped in history - from a former emigrants hotel to a prison to a detention centre. Some corridors left us shuddering, especially after talk of ghosts, horror films and the odd practical joke. Other parts left us in awe with the stunning modern bar and its own design shop. Visit the studio sometime to see what we bought and hear more stories from Amsterdam.
Boarding the ‘smoke boat’ might make some people very happy, but we didn’t need any of that to make us smile. We were just happy to be there, happy to taste the delights of Lotti’s at The Hoxton, happy to experience snow crab, happy to get our tastebuds wet at the Red Light Bar and happy to go on a looong walk, finding wetransfer HQ on route. Happy to drive through the IJtunnel that connects the centre of Amsterdam with Amsterdam-Noord underneath the NEMO Museum, a building shaped like a ship rising out of the water!
Christmas chutney to be specific. Sometimes some things just can’t be explained, except to say it left us all laughing again, this time for over an hour and we’re still wondering what Christmas chutney is. We now think it was maybe too much Lousberg, Dolden Sud, French wine, Limoncello or Armagnac but it left us with a lasting memory of our final night in Amsterdam.