Let's meet in Paddington tomorrow at 6pm...And so the adventure began. The previous weekend's unsuccessful attempt to jump country could not be left to stand. A fully overbooked Eurostar made it clear that a weekend trip to Paris really was a drunken pipedream; instead, flying to Amsterdam for a day would have to suffice.Catching a late flight out of Heathrow put us in to delightful Schipol Airport rather late in the evening. A double-decker train into Amsterdam Central and an easy stroll down towards Dam Square ended up in a decidedly spacious suite at the hotel opposite the "de Bijenkorf" department store. In 1200AD some enterprising chaps decided to build a dyke over the Amstel just yards from the window, providing peace of mind for all those in the low-lying south, and inadvertently creating the foundation for the current capital of the Netherlands. It was before midnight on Friday and everywhere seemed very quiet. Odd.Determined to make the most of a single day, an earlyish breakfast was served in Barney's. Morning was even more quiet than the previous night, with just a few of the hardcore rolling joints in the bar next door. Odd.Ambling through the city brought a little shopping here and there and a tour around a diamond factory to see some sparkling marvels. A boat tour is definitely a great way to see the city as the canal network is fairly extensive. The 'homomonument' is a great example of both the city's open attitude and the great flexibility of Dutch in creating single words with delightful meaning.Wine and freshly baked bread (with walnuts and raisins, actually) worked as a late lunch. I wanted to go ice skating in Dam Square, but we couldn't. Coffee before dinner in an Italian restaurant and by eleven, everywhere was once again deserted, really deserted. If I were to investigate the phenomenon, I would probably start with the frequent signs to effect of "DO NOT SMOKE YOUR JOINTS OUTSIDE" surrounding the multitude of coffeeshops.Back to the airport for an early flight the next morning. Airport delays are never fun and thankfully there wasn't one, but if there was, Schipol as a genuinely great airport would be the best place to have it. Transfer in Heathrow and a nine hour slog back to Seattle for work this morning.Recommended. Photos in the gallery.