Stepping out of Amsterdam Centraal the neon lights and Christmas decor blinked against a palette of greys. A chilly wind pushed back our hoods and teasing out hair (for those of us that have hair). Suddenly aware of how inadequate our jackets were we prioritised going shopping for jackets made for European winters.
I’d wondered how I’d feel about my old friend Amsterdam visiting her in the Winter instead of Spring or Summer when fields of brightly coloured tulips abound and pots of pretty flowers overflow. I need not have feared – the welcome was as warm as ever even if the streets were the quietest I’d ever seen. It was the 26th of December and clearly people were recovering still from their Christmas festivities.
A cup of coffee down we set off to get suitable jackets for our European and Icelandic trip. So many people have warned me that I would need to put my vegan values aside and settle for wool or fur. They were wrong. I understand how in the past these would be sensible options but fortunately for myself, and the animals, time and technology have moved on and I found some great synthetic options at Carl Denig – Here’s the irony, even although they in fact farm down (poor geese) they had several wonderful cruelty free options – my old friend Patagonia and a new one Kjus. These have now been not only winter tested but Iceland tested by moi and I can confirm they do the job perfectly.
Later that evening now properly attired for the weather we set off for a show and dinner at the Palazzo. Very like Madame Zingara it is a dinner with performers in between. Whereas in Madame Z the madness and general air of OTT overflowed from the stage into the staff and audience here the only provocateurs were on the stage. If Amsterdam had met us with a palette of greys, presenter Reuben Kaye brought us 50 shades of grey with his provocative and talented performance, while Joris Bijdendijk seduced our palates, not skimping any passion on the vegetarian options. Beautiful bodies twisted, stretched, danced and balanced in an array of breathtaking acts. I do have a touch of coulrophobia (fear of clowns) and I was pleased to see humour that was subtle and sans any red noses thanks to Peter Shub. The next morning we are off, courtesy of WOW airlines, to land in Keflavik airport.