Arriving in Amsterdam was a satisfying experience. By my count I had flown through the airportat least half a dozen times without ever leaving. It seems I have had a lifetime of layover in Schipol airport,
and then on Friday I actually got to leave.
It felt a little like Tom Hanks in Terminal.
Anyway we left, took the train into the city and walked to
our airbnb. This was my first time using
the service and I had high expectations based on what my friends had told
This ominous staircase greeted us, which was representative
of our experience in this building.
Inside the apartment we found a curt Dutch woman sporting orange cowboy
boots and a barking Dalmation. She
demanded her hundred euro cash deposit (we missed the fine print on that one)
and then got frustrated when we had to go to an ATM. Once we finally got to the room we were
surprised to find it was not pictured on her site, it was the Harry Potter room
of the house: smaller, dirty, and more dysfunctional than the other. We tried to reason with our host about false
advertising, at which point she transitioned from fluent English to broken
sentences. The rest of our interactions
were equally charming, but not worth dwelling on. We got in touch with airbnb, who was very
accommodating and gave us a refund for the weekend.
We escaped the apartment and went in search of dinner, but
at 9 oclock on a Friday night most places were packed. We landed on Mazzo’s, a large modern Italian
restaurant with just enough garlic hanging on the walls to feel rustic. Having gotten some good news from home
earlier in the day and battling through our housing escapades I decided to
treat myself. I had a delicious glass of
red wine and truffle parmesan gnocchi.
The picture does not do this dish justice. The gnocchi was light and fell to pieces in
my mouth, coated in a thick parmesan béchamel sauce with large shavings of black
truffle. It was an experience. For one of the few times in my life I was too
stuffed for dessert, but I finished the meal with an glass of limoncello, which
is a very strong olfactory memory for me.
It takes me back to traveling the Amalfi coast with my brother and
father, getting a little tipsy, trying the family’s iteration of the drink at
every little restaurant we went to. It’s
a smell that brings me a smile, and a great way to end the night.