We arrived in Amsterdam 1.5 hours late, thanks to the Deutsche Bahn messing around with the trains to the point that Eika (who had organised the summer school) was ready to cancel the whole trip and return back home. But we somehow made it to Centraal Station, ushering a herd of very tired students (and just slightly less tired lecturers) first to a workshop, then to dinner, and finally to the hotel. While us lecturers decided to call it a day and have an early night, the students went out and partied until 3 am. I honestly don’t know how they do it.
On Saturday, we went on a sightseeing trip by boat, resulting in some nice pictures of Amsterdam taken from sea level, so to speak. While the others decided to go shopping or visit museums, I was more interested in walking around; I have been to Amsterdam before, but there are still spots I haven’t seen, so I enjoyed the sunshine and had the camera at the ready.
I returned back to the hotel at about 6pm, ready for a short nap before going out again; when I entered the lobby, I noticed Stacey, one of our students, sitting alone in the corner. I asked her whether she wanted to join me for dinner, to which she replied that she would love to, but couldn’t – she was out of money. After my initial confusion, I sat down and talked to her, only to realise that she had not only miscalculated her expenses, but had also been robbed at knife point some days earlier – something she had not mentioned before as she was afraid of being sent home. Good gracious.
So I took the girl to dinner to a nice Italian restaurant in the vicinity; we had a really good chat and enjoyed some first class food. At some point, Stacey wondered how old I was; when I told her, she was dumbfounded: “But you look like 27!” Thanks, Stace, but you don’t have to flatter me – I will pay for the food anyway. She insisted on me looking much younger than my age; then again, she is from Hull, and I remember my last visit to the city – most of the people looked about 40 when they were actually 25. She certainly earned her dinner, though.
Sunday meant another day of shopping for most of the students (I have no idea how they are going to take all this stuff back home by plane), while others joined us for a walk through the red light district.
After a while, Eika, Raffa, George, and I became separated from the others; as it was another very warm and sunny day, we decided to sit down and celebrate the last day of summer school in style. My memory is a bit hazy, but I think we had 4 litres of alcohol between ourselves – within 2 hours.
In retrospect, it is actually a bit of a miracle that we managed to get everybody back home without any major incidents.