It was another usual rainy night as I made my way from the birthday party and swiftly shut the door to the car in order to stop the rain from coming in, as the water droplets began to run down my face. I wanted to start cursing the weather gods for another depressing rainy night and swear once again that this would soon be the last of the dampness that would infiltrate my body, knowing surely that there would be many more wet situations that lay ahead...... on that you could depend on.
As I made my down the road toward home the shuffle on the Ipod landed on a song that quickly removed the dampness I felt from the rain and suddenly warmed my soul with such vivid memories that dried all the droplets on my face. In response to the memory a different form of water began to slide down my cheeks as if the physical waterworks had been turned on full force. The lyrics slid into the music that transported me back into time. How I made it home is still a mystery as I have no recollection of the trip because my realities were elsewhere.......................
We had to hurry and catch the train as the home surroundings where we stayed were getting a bit confined and Europe beckoned for us to take the next adventure that we had come to experience. With a quick and decisive idea we hurriedly ran to catch a train as we still had pockets full of memories that were still waiting to be made. In the last moments before the train left the station we assuredly found a private car where we settled in for the four hour chug into the sunset toward the country of Holland. Taking in the deep breaths for the sigh of relief of making the train on time with seconds to spare we knew that there needed to be libation ingredients to celebrate our next segment of the European adventure. As we sipped on our drinks we witnessed the sunset across the miles of land that spun around us as we made our trek into the fields of tulips toward the city of Amsterdam.
As is par with our longevity of friendship there is always a secret surprise that is lurking out there for us to share, and we both knew it would be just a matter of hours before something would show up for us to experience, and of course we were not to be disappointed. Upon arrival we made our safe journey into the bright city lights and made our way to the hotel that would most assuredly remember that we had stayed there. The excitement danced in our eyes as we took the time to refresh and renew ourselves before we made our stroll into the hubbub of Amsterdam, for it was a Friday and the weekend approached and how we hoped for the fun that was just around the corner. It had truly been a very long day and the energy that was in the air gave us second wind to take in the view of what would lay ahead for us. I quite simply remember the joy that I felt as I watched VonFuerstenberg strut the streets that we would call home for just a little while. As his blond hair blew in the Dutch air on that cool evening, I so recall the picture that was indelibly inked within my mind of that moment of time that held it's place in the now of then.
It may have been called the "Hotel New York", it however had it's unique European flavor and we became the controversy that would go down in the annuals of hoteldom. Yes,...we had arrived...they evidently did not get the memo....however we made it our goal that nothing would stop the "silliness express" route that we were truly traveling on. What would come after that would just become the icing on the cake.
We walked and we walked and I showed him the sights of some of the places that we would be visiting the next morning and as we made our journey back to the hotel we both agreed that the morning would hold all kinds of shopping experiences. The adrenaline that still ran throughout of beings made it a difficult scenario to beckon to the sleep that was greatly needed and thus began the first round of uproarious laughter that would garner us some reprimanding in the morning as we joined the hotel for the free continental breakfast. Evidently the other guests did not appreciate our joy and laughter and thus we were directly asked to tame it down for respect to the other guests. It was all we could do to not bust out in a duet of laughter but we held it together and made a promise to be more considerate....however that was not to be.
As we exited the hotel we made our next stop the local bakery for the scrumptious sweets that held the magic of hash within its ingredients and decided that a trip to the Bulldog cafe would provide us with the extra ingredients that would make our further shopping experience one to never forget. As the effects of our bakery items began to take hold and with the bag of green that aromatically followed us, we decided to indulge and get lost in the thousands of shoppers and stores that beheld all the items that spoke to us as we walked by each storefront window. Each place we entered held many things that caught our attention and with the guards of logical spending on hiatus for a while our shopping extravaganza flourished out of control. The many packages continued to grow throughout the day and as we stopped for a lunch break and miscellaneous cocktails along the way, our arms became leaden with the weight of all that we had to carry during the afternoon of spending.
Not wanting to give it up and give in to the physical tiredness that quietly crept over us, we trudged back to the hotel to rejuvenate and prepare for the nights adventures that lay ahead of us. We quickly unloaded the weight that we had been dragging around all day and barely could find the floor of the room. After the refreshing drinks were stirred we proceeded to give each other the personal fashion show of our purchased loot and once again the laughter erupted beyond control. The time still held it's waning daylight so we both hoped that it was not annoying to anyone, as the laughter became so very uncontrolled, as it always becomes when the two of us are together.
Onward to the preparation of showering and primping for the Dutch people who were to soon to make our acquaintances. After what seemed to be hours of clothes changing we made our final preparations into the night of neon lights and ambiance. Our strolling took us to the red light district where we witnessed the decadence and debauchery that money could provide for anyone who wanted the thrill of anonymous affection. Amused and awed we finally made it to the restaurant of Italian cuisine that held the culinary effects that settled sweetly on our palates and the ambiance of the restaurant created the perfect setting for what lay ahead for us. "Vonfuerstenburg" being the great cook himself exited the restaurant with a five star grin and we made our first stop for our after dinner aperitifs. The night's outside energy was exhilarating as many people were enjoying the calm balmy evening also. As we walked we were drawn to the loud singing from a pub across from the street and as we made our first entrance we were welcomed by everyone where we shared our drinks and sang to the fevered pitch that permeated the room from every ones vocal skills. We certainly got caught up by the excitement in the room and stayed for quite a while, yet we wanted to move forward to what might lie ahead for us.
With our trusty map we located the Route 66 and settled in for the remainder of our night. The bar was small and local which made it easy to speak with the many local patrons and got suggestions and ideas for the next few days of intrigue.
Stepping out of the bar as it closed it's doors, we both realized that it was too long of a walk back to the hotel so we made our way to the main street to hail a cab for our ride back to the comfort of bed. As is usual after a night of liquidity, the need for a late night snack grew imminent and I suddenly remembered the "Automatic Barbarella" that was two streets away. Much like the days of the eatery in New York called the "Automat" you dropped your coins into the desired selection of food and the door slid open for retrieval and suddenly another took it's place. Within the line of other hungry late night guests, we dropped our Dutch guilder coins into the designated choices and staved off the hunger pangs that consumed us for those few minutes, yet we still had to catch the ride that would deliver us to our sleeping environment. With flailing arms and jumping around we managed to procure the cab that would take us on a ride to hell and back.
It started off simple enough by telling him the name of the hotel, and before we could get out the last syllable and the doors completely shut, a stomp on the gas pedal sent us flying down the brick cobblestone streets wet with the mist of rain that began to drizzle as we left our eatery. Slammed against the seat and clinging for dear life as we slipped and slid down the streets toward our destination we feared the worst was about to happen within the confines of the cab from hell. As fate would have it, the streets that we needed to go down were closed for maintenance and clean up and we had to reroute down worse and smaller streets and the ride became a sheer terror as we clung together hoping for a safe outcome. Our stifled screams turned into hysterical fearful laughter as we rocked back and forth and side to side in the backseat. The look on our faces was utterly astonishing as we silently spoke with our thoughts and the trepidations were transported by silence. We spun and slid from curb to curb down those cobblestone streets and prayed that upon our arrival we would exit those cab doors still in one piece. With one last turn we slid to the front of the hotel. As we preyed our fingers from the grasping of the seats we made our way out of the cab and kissed the ground that we lived thorough
that "roller coaster ride from hell".
We stood frozen for a few moments after we paid the fee and waited for the shock to wear off for. Upon entry into the room, the effects had taken hold and once again the rupture of hysterical laughter took hold and began to grow louder until we tried stifling them with our pillows which barely reduced the volume of such magnitude. It would become another long night and before our eyes fluttered to sleep, we could see the sun making it's entrance as another day was dawning....We did live to tell!
Our excursions for the next couple of days only added to the memories and crazy instances of happenings that culminated into many wonderful stories. We were asked to move our room in the hotel as our ubiquitous presence still reverberated throughout the walls on those many nights. So down to the basement we went, along with the pipes and the tiny windows that showed the many feet of the people walking by. To say it was bad was not something true as we just went with it and realized that we had been given another step closer to the exit door. We survived and still the laughter flowed. The pure enjoyment of washing some articles of clothing and leaving them on the warm pipes to dry just added to the fate that we were living through. Museums and more shopping prefaced the nights of pubs and bars. Van Gogh became Van Hock with a bit of flem attached and separations to explore on our own reunited us with stories of new found information that we shared and revisited together. As our Dutch days melted away we prepared for the next segment of our journey and Germany became our next focus of disruption, but little did we know what lay in store for us. The quarters that we had in that basement of the Hotel New York would become the shangri-la unrecognized until our arrival in Koln.
The train station was a flurry of activity as we gathered our pounds of luggage and new bought goodies and boarded the train to Germany. We settled into our compartment and took advantage of the motion that lulled us into relaxing after many days and nights of non stop activity. After having a bit of lunch and a cocktail we silently watched the scenery fly by and quietly anticipated what laid ahead. It was a smooth and quick trip to Germany and we arrived refreshed. As was the case from country to country we had to exchange our monies to meet our spending needs and that was the first problem that greeted us upon our arrival. The exchange bank short changed us and there had to be a recounting of the money after the bank hours to insure that we had told the truth which was infuriating but the choice was not to be ours, so we ventured onward to our new Hotel digs. What we would encounter in what was to be called a Hotel was underwhelming and quite honestly a bit frightening, yet we persevered and just went with it. Why, I still wonder to this day, have no idea why we just did not find another place but alas it was not to be. We just wanted to get on with our exploration and shopping.
We entered the hotel from a back side door that you had to enter. It led you through a bar that was dimly lit and it held the most interesting cast of patrons, that seemed straight out of a "CABARET" style movie. Inclusive of the weird characters dressed in drag costumes, big wigs and jewelry. The smoke that filled the room was so very thick that you could barely find your way through the room. When we were taken to our room and when the door opened we confirmed our worst fear of disgust.
Yet we still settled on it and agreed that it would be just for one night only...if we survived it...you just can't imagine the uncertainty of it. We set our things down and hoped that if we left that everything would still be there when we returned.
Since we were only going to be there for a couple of days, we both had decided that staying away from our room until we absolutely had to return was the best approach so we left and met up to retrieve the money that was not given to us, and much to our happiness they found the overage and gratefully returned the money. With delight we went off to celebrate with a great dinner and drinks. By the time we had finished eating it was time to visit the local pubs. We stayed out late dreading the moment when we had to return to the "CABARET" hotel. Our biggest fears were that our belongings were stolen and that we had to make our way through that smoky Dragville pub in order to get to our rooms.
Fearful to undress when we made it to the room and decided that keeping our clothes on to sleep was the better choice. We tried to make the best of the situation but the loud music kept us from any sleep that tried to come our way. Every diva female singer blasted through the walls as it seemed the drag show had no ending. Finally, silence arrived as the sun began to rise. We listened as the walls fell silent and then we heard the trudging of feet up the stairs and many voices as they made their way to their rooms with the conquest of the night. Replacing the loud music was now the constant coughing and cries of sexual activity that permeated the halls for the next few hours. We were living a nightmare in Germany and clung to the hope that we would get out alive and unscathed. The matter of showering would bring on another dread and we took another option and decided a sponge bath would be the better choice for our health.
Hastily we cleaned up, checked out of Weirdoland and made our way back to the train station to store our luggage and items in the lockers, so that we could shop freely without carrying everything around for the day. After a lovely boutique breakfast, we set off to shop and tour the city.
While the sun shined on us, we acknowledged the horror of what we had experienced the night before and hope lovely the day had turned out to be. In and out of many stores and finding treasures we just had to have made for a fun memorable day. A cuckoo clock would be the first highlight of the day and a terrorizing visit to a marionette store would freak me out as the joke played on. We noticed a sign that stood out on the store front that read WOM (world of music)so we entered its doors and became overwhelmed with the vast library of records and discs for sale. We both got lost for a long while in this store and came away laden with music that would represent the memories we were making on our European Adventure.
The day flew by and we felt the exhaustive feeling of being tired and decided on a sun nap in the park by the river Seine. As we napped the warm sun enveloped us and renewed our strength to move forward as we had to catch a train that would take us back to our next country of adventure.
Settling in our private car and as we had our cocktails we opened our bags of treasures and examined and reminded ourselves how we found each piece. It was not long before we quietly settled down and gazed at the scenery that flew by our window. I put in a new CD that I had bought and magically blended into the whole scenario playing out before me.
I glanced across to where "VONFUERSTENBERG" slept in his seat as the ear phones in my ears played out the song that ignited the memory that I write.
DIO COMME TI AMO ...........oh god how much I loved that moment of time and having the person close that I will forever call FRIEND.