Last Thursday I went to Amsterdam by Eurostar to the Van Gogh Museum. I shall draw a veil over my youthful trips to Amsterdam; suffice to say that art was not an integral part of any planned visit.

This time my best girlfriend and I travelled business class, but still shared a room, as we used to when we travelled in our university days. This trip had been planned off the cuff and felt like a naughty escape from our family responsibilities.

We stayed at the Conservatorium, and were as giggly as I remember being on earlier occasions ­– this time from the sheer disbelief of travelling together again, but with the immense pleasure of better credit.

……..

We spent more than three hours at the museum, enjoyed dinner in a trendy Japanese fusion restaurant and went on to have a drink in a “secret” bar. We walked into a fluorescent takeaway burger bar and buzzed at a well-hidden steel door, provided the password when prompted and were ushered into a glamorous, plush, dimly-lit area. We paid for a couple of rather over-priced vodkas before walking home.

We realised that it was hardly an underground operation – we had been given the location and the password by the hotel concierge – but were unreasonably thrilled by the clandestine nature of the transaction, and felt momentarily much more plugged in to contemporary culture than we usually do. We are going to Brussels and Bruges next.

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