It's baking hot. I am stuffed to the gills and dehydrated but still manage to fit in a sorbet, which is delicious. Our private Facebook group jumps into life as everyone reminds everyone else that we absolutely have to be back at Central station by 1530. Andrei suggests we meet at Beer Planet, to which our party agrees. Ed though leads us to the main square first, for some involuntary tourism.
About 45 minutes before arrival I suggest that we actually all have a sensible chat to make sure we each know where and when we're meeting, since the maximum number of people staying in the same place is 3. We go through it several times, but even so when we get into Amsterdam Centraal there's a chorus of "so what are we doing and when?". This pisses me off further so I just say "well, I know where I'm going, see you at 8.30" and bugger off.
It would be a pleasant walk to my hotel if I wasn't carrying an uncomfortable bag that I refuse to wheel on cobbled streets and uneven pavements because I can't stand the loud noise. Also I'm carrying a cooler bag whose handle is perpendicular to regular suitcase handles making them impossible to stack nicely. It's very fucking hot and my hotel has the steepest steps ever.
Getting up those with two bags is traumatic. I leave one on the little landing and head to reception where a friendly man checks me in. He hands me a receipt for city tax, which has my full credit card number on it WHAT THE FUCK. And he takes a €10 cash deposit for the card and TV remote control. Um, OK. I go into my room and it's tiny and dingy and has no window. Closing the door sets off an alarm. Sigh.
I go speak to the receptionist and he does something and the alarm stops. My single bed is tiny. Only one of the three lights works. The motion sensing light in the toilets doesn't stay on long enough, meaning I have to wave my hands about periodically when using the loo or having a shower, which is virtually the same thing because it's bloody cramped.
Our venue for the evening is a stone's throw, and looks nice. I don't really fancy going there just yet and anyway I have an errand to run.
Helen lived around here for a while, and I send her pictures to reminisce over. It's nice. Again, had I not been in a terrible mood I might have appreciated it even more.
There's alleyway art as well. After this it's still too early to meet the others, so I slowly retrace some of my earlier steps in the stupid, vain hope that I might spot the missing top of my pen, assuming it came out when I was changing glasses from the same pocket. But maybe I just fancy staring at the pavement for a bit.