Wow – what a week! Where to start, when there were so many amazing experiences – and so many of them 'firsts' for this stay-at-home pup?! ;)
i have never flown before – hell, i've never even been out of the UK! – and so i spent much of the preceding week bouncing off the walls in excitement! In a way it was a relief to be finally packing – even if i did have to make some careful decisions about what to take so as to keep my suitcase under the 20kg which Handler had allowed me - and then struggled to understand what i could take in hand-luggage - and then worried whether i would get through the security checks wearing my collar and plug...
But Sir was very supportive, and He endured my endless texts and queries without complaint - although He did have to phone me on the Wednesday morning of the flight to say “I would be trying to finish my packing, only my fuckin dog keeps texting and distracting me from the job in hand!!” ;)
We flew from Bristol; they have now added 'International' to it's title, but really it is one step up from a regional coach station - but the dog was still impressed with its first visit to an airport, and so it happily trotted beside its Man, tugging along its suitcase and clutching its brand-new passport – ears swivelling and nose twitching at all the new sights and sounds... Handler also says that He was most impressed with the reception we received at the EasyJet baggage-drop at Bristol: He had already checked in online, so all we needed to do was drop of our suitcases, but both of the guys on the desk were incredibly friendly, and made a point of calling us both by first names (always a weird experience for the dog, since it seems weird to hear anything other than 'bootbrush' when i'm with my Handler)
Perversely, my favourite part was going through Security: Sir had said to wear our leather for the flight (so as keep our suitcases lighter) - and He was resplendent in His Dehner boots, lace-sided Rob jeans, waistcoat and gauntlets; unfortunately, all those rivets and lacings set off the alarms, and so He had to be taken to one side to be patted down and searched - whilst the dog sailed through, then had to watch enviously as its Man was groped and played with :))
There's not much to see at Bristol, but Sir kept the dog nicely entertained with maps and itineraries whist we waited for the Boarding call – then it was down into the Boarding gate (so excited, we were almost the first in the queue!), and then it was out onto the tarmac and up into the plane.
Since it was the dogs first flight, Sir made sure to get us a window seat; unfortunately He then had to spend an hour indulgently watch the back of the dog's head whilst it pressed its nose to the glass and cried 'oooh! i can see London!' and 'Look Sir: there's the sea!!' ;) Still, better an excited pup than a frightened one i guess...!
(Handler: or one that spends the flight honking up into a leak proof bag! LOL)
Schiphol airport was huge in comparison to Bristol! (once they had managed to get the arrivals doors open and let us off the plane...!). It was also a little scary to see armed police striding through the halls, complete with semi-automatic riffles. But we passed through quite quickly, then caught the train into Amsterdam central (with the dog making its Man lug the cases up onto the top deck of the train so that it could get a good view of the city as we came in – completely forgetting that He was still recovering from having put His back out the week before).
The ride into Amsterdam was fun - even if you do tend to see the more seedy parts of any city from a train - the Central station was also beautiful and distracting - and the trams outside a revelation...! But, it wasn't far to walk to our hotel, and we were soon across the road and checking in at the Bellevue Hotel.
Sir had called ahead and asked for a view, and so we had a nice room on the top floor at the front of the hotel – with two big windows and a view over Prins Hendrikkade to the Centraal Station and St Nicholas Kerk in one direction, and down Martelaarsgracht in the other. Like most hotels in Amsterdam, the room was small – but it was nicely arranged, and (more unusually) was both fully soundproof and air conditioned. The hotel also had a lift, so we didn't have to struggle with cases up those infamous ladder-like staircases :)
We even had one of those winch hooks outside the one window.
We both made a brave attempt at unpacking – but the dog spent half the time hanging out of the window and oohing at the trams and the fascination of being in a new city (and country!), so Handler finally relented and took His pup for a short walk around the block (i think it was also to try and burn off a little of its excitement!).
By now it was getting to late afternoon and both Man and hound were getting a little tired from all the travelling - so Handler took His pup back to their room, curled His pup in His arms, and we dozed for a while to the rattle and clang of the city outside the window...
(Handler: don't forget the ring of the tram bells, or the tuneful four-tone alarms of the Dutch police cars!)
Well – i say 'for a while...' - when we woke up it was after 10pm and night had fallen! But we are both night-owls when together, so we pulled on our leather and went to forage for a place still open for food, and then took a stroll down to Warmoesstraat. Rob and Mr B had just closed for the evening – but it was great to see their window displays – and even more fun to watch the 'normal' tourists and their reactions to the fully rubber-clad mannequins, strapped up in piss-funnels and harnesses...
To end the day, we finally called into the Argos - Amsterdam's oldest gay/leather bar. It was still quite early for them, and so there weren't many people about, but it was a good excuse to wander around and clatter down their cellar steps to go look at their play-room without distractions (including the very sexy black tiled sling-room).
(Handler: and remember sink with the big hose in the corner...!)
The pup also had a nice quiet time showing its Man's boots some devotion whist a sexy guy watched on...
By then it was the early hours of the morning, and so we finally headed back to our room. Handler was feeling a little under the weather (His back was a little tender after the traveling) and so the pup didn't hassle to play – but why would i need to, when i had the even deeper pleasure of sleeping safe in my Man's warm arms - dreaming of the next 4 days to come...