I took my mum to Amsterdam last week. To be honest, I used emotional blackmail to get her to come on holiday with me. OH had no holidays left, Mini-me now has Teeny Mini-him to look after and I didn’t fancy toddling off on my own so I managed to get her to agree to chum me on the promise of a cultural city break. Her friends thought it was great her daughter still wanted to go on holiday with her but she was quick to disagree with them and told them I was only taking her because she was fourth reserve. Not true really (second maybe :p). We’ve been on holiday a few times before, just me and mum. We’ve been to Rome and Dublin and both times were a good laugh. Dublin especially as we managed to pick up a random Irish guy who took us out for the day in his bright red sports car. What a hoot that was!
To me, mum is ageless. In my head I’m still in my twenties so obviously she has to be in her forties. The only thing that gives away her age is her inability to cross a road. In Rome she was horrendous and kept dithering in the middle of the road – mopeds darting either side of her. Before we left for Amsterdam we were well warned (by my brother) to watch out for cyclists. Beware the silent traffic – look in every direct three times before you cross!
So heeding all warnings we arrived safely in Amsterdam and checked into our hotel. It turned out that a famous Dutch chat show was filmed in the hotel and they were expecting Tom Jones that week (RTL Late Night). Surprisingly, Mum wasn’t impressed and didn’t jump at the chance to thrown her knickers at him. A whole host of famous people were in and out of the hotel – not that we knew any of them apart from Tom.
When we weren’t waiting to cross a road, we spent our time wandering around canals, visiting art galleries and museums, drinking wine and spending our euros in beautifully quaint shops. The restaurants we visited all had their good points and we didn’t have a bad meal. Mum’s favourite meal was in De Duvel in the Pipj district where she had belgisch vispotje. When it was described to us the waitress said it was fish something – it sounded like buttz. I asked if it was fish pie. Nope but this time it sounded like fish puttz. I asked if it was fish cakes. Again nope. Mum ordered it anyway and when it arrived she decided it was fish bits the girl had been saying as it was crammed full of different bits of fish. Mum loved it. Now that I am home and have just looked it up I have discovered that it was Belgian Fish Stew.
My preferred dish was duck with honey and apricots, which we had in a french restaurant called Restaurant Bonjour. It had a cinnamon pear and chestnut flavoured mashed potatoes to accompany it and it was heaven.
We both loved the ambiance and service in Van Kerkwijk where there were no menus just a cute waiter to describe the dishes, making them all sound fantastic.
One evening we did a candlelight canal tour and on our way back I insisted that we walk through the red light district -assuring my mum it was one of the must do things in Amsterdam and any cultural visit wouldn’t be complete without it. Initially she said that it wasn’t too bad. We were walking past windows full of sex toys and saucy outfits at the time. I therefore, veered her down a side street where I could see red lights above some of the windows. She didn’t like that bit at all. She was surprised at how good looking the girls were and thought it was sad they had to be selling themselves. No amount of explanations around free choice, licences and the girls being in control dissuaded her. To her it was still someone’s daughter. And at that point her own daughter was dragging her 71 year old mum around the red light district. Needless to say, we went back straight back to the hotel.
I forget how old she is. To me she is just my mum. I don’t see her getting older.
I’m glad she came with me to Amsterdam. We had a great time. Even if she wasn’t impressed with what her daughter was doing in the Red Light district (dragging her around – not working!)