After about two hours of walking along in some very nice streets (not all were as clean as this but all were nice) looking for a hotel (I mentioned they are swamped?) The novelty was beginning to fade.
I was tired, the sun was starting to show, and I hadn’t sorted anything.
Of the many many times I have gone looking for a place for the night, nothing was ever close to this for full bookedness.
I was tired and everything was a bummer.
I came to that stack of bikes and wondered about corner hotel – hadn’t seen it before.
Just as I turned to look the door opened and a dark silhouette invited me in.
Above: The stack of bikes I saw the night before (ie earlier that morning) with The Corner House Hotel on them.
I didn’t think to take a selfie.
It looked like a very very pleasant place indeed. And I could have a beer, but no real alcohol because it wasn’t allowed to sell it at around 6 am.
Surfacing in Amsterdam
After a few hour’s sleep – seeing as checkout is at 11 am and them hotel peeps are pretty serious about their checkout times – and I owed it to Hassan to honour our dawn gentleman’s agreement.
Right: Later that morning, Urban guerrilla chick with a touch of sleepless sour.
5.11 Tactical Stryke Pants – brilliant for any Occasion
Happily, I was able to brush my Columbia sneakers at a brushing machine during one of my many visits to hotel receptions the night before.
This was during a two plus hour wander around the red light district looking for lodging, having just bussed it in from the airport where it was all a bit of a faff to have bike stored overnight.
Then into central Amsterdam by around 3 am, walking around the district’s I’m familiar with. It’s full swing season in a city that’s always in full swing.
This, you may recall, had to be done in casual taking bus from beach to beach attire. Less than entirely appropriate for one of the most famous red light districts in the world.
It was perhaps just before 6 am that Hassan found me.
Now Hassan was Turkish, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Turkey. It was a main entry point for me to North Iraq and I had a fair bit to do with the Kurdish issue throughout south East Turkey. But also, I drove all over the country on breaks and various other jobs looking at (and for) stories and antiquities.
I’d also just come back from North Cyprus, which is (for all practical purposes) Turkish territory, I’ve often been struck by the hospitality of the Turks.
Above: Morning at The Corner House Hotel
While in the many backwaters of Turkey I’d always been invited by people to stay – this is in rural more than urban settings. I’d be stopped at the side of a road taking a picture or something and someone would invariably appear, ask if I’m OK, and almost automatically invite me to stay the night.
Some bits of Turkish are close enough to Arabic I always understood the meaning of ‘manam’ when it was offered to me.
And I believe it was this sense of taking in strangers or travellers that prompted Hassan to open the door when he saw me walk by at dawn.
He’d known instinctively, that peculiar sense the Turks seem to have for a lone traveller
who may need a hand and a place to stay.
He saw me walk past, and came to the door and opened it before I saw there was a hotel there.
He did not speak much (or any) English, and he was a night watchman, nothing really to do with the daily running of the hotel.
I was in The Corner House Hotel. (right) A very luvly jubly place indeed.
He made it understood that there was an empty room, that he’s willing to let me sleep there on the understanding that I give him 100 euros. Next morning I was to talk to the hotel receptionist and settle with them. The room may be less than 100 euros. But it
may be more. He doesn’t know. And I have to settle before 11 am. Checkout.
It was 220 euros.
I promised to honour this, and as such, bleary eyed, exhausted, half asleep, I cleaned up and came down to talk to the receptionist before 11. I tried to be tried to be bright eyed and bushy tailed which just too much effort.
And as if everything I’d been through wasn’t enough, I’m trying to take a picture of my morning coffee and some fella in a red t-shirt walks right into my picture.