BLACK TROLLS OVER EUROPE III TOUR REPORT - Ciaran O'Hagan
It seemed that the day would never dawn when Waylander would finally embark on our first proper tour. Of course, in true Waylander tradition, the preparations were a slightly nervous affair as we had to abandon the recording of our new album to bring new guitarist Tor Dennison up to speed. As it turned out, the rest of us were more than glad with the chance to brush off the cobwebs, of which there were quite a few!
Of course, something had to go wrong. The new t-shirts with the new design were meant to arrive on the Thursday, worst case scenario, Friday. So, after rising early I put myself on parcel watch for the day. The hours dragged by and by 3 p.m. I was in a bit of a panic to say the least. Several phone calls later and it wasn't looking good. The courier company here were blaming the company in England and vice versa. By 7pm it was clear that we wouldn't be getting the shirts for the tour. It was a right kick in the balix.
We squeezed in a quick run through the set, packed up the gear and parted ways to await the bus at our various locations.
Saturday 12th November Black Trolls Winterfest
This was always going to be a long day due to the 7am flight from Dublin. Getting the bus from Banbridge at 1 a.m. meant no sleep on Friday night and bumping into a dear old friend on the bus meant sleeping away the journey down was out. It was a pleasure dealing with Aer Lingus at check in compared to the horrific experiences we've had with ryanair in the past. The flight itself was uneventful and we arrived at Dusseldorf to be met by the lifts laid on for Primordial and ourselves and arrived in Mulheim in no time.
The venue itself was impressive, reminding me of the Odyssey in Belfast in many ways. There was little exploring to be done so it was back to our dressing room to sample a few of the complimentary beers whilst nipping in to catch bits and pieces of the bands who were playing since 10am. Stage time for us was about half 2, and as we checked levels etc it was good to see that the venue was filling up nicely. We were perhaps a little nervous and the on stage sound certainly didn't help, but we blasted through a 30 minutes set without any major hiccups and seemed to be well received. It was a great sense of relief and augured well for the rest of the tour.
Back in the changing room we chilled out for a while with a few well earned complimentary bottles of pilsner. I was finding it tough going, being avid ale. Bitter/stout drinker, so in my wisdom decided to go for a dander in search of a supermarket. Less than ten minutes later I was getting stuck into one of my favourite German brews, Diebels Altbier. Negator, who we were sharing the changing room with arrived and the party moved up a gear or two. After a while things began to get a little hazy but Primordial were about to play so no better way to shake off the chronic tiredness. A great set as usual, made all the more impressive considering that drummer Simon was on crutches with a broken foot. We even got a shout out from Alan which we appreciated. So back to the changing room to kill some time before Immortal's set it was.
It was at this stage that things began to get a bit strange. We all went outside for a smoke and when we entered the room once more we were stunned to see two people going through our bags! Obviously we weren't best pleased. The security didn't seem to care much and I was getting seriously angry by this stage. Eventually we discovered that nothing had been taken so tensions eased a little. Then something even more bizarre happened. The security ushered everyone backstage into the various rooms, informing us that Immortal were arriving and we weren't allowed out of our changing rooms until they'd entered the stage area! Despite this we went in to watch them but somehow the novelty had worn off for me and after half a dozen songs I began to get bored. We hadn't time to dwell on it as the tour bus had arrived and we had to quickly embark. Next stop, Holland
Sunday 13th November Drachten, Holland
It was a long night spent drinking with our bus mates for the tour, IX Dark Centuries and Odroerir. We hadn't slept in 48 hours but one can not underestimate the stamina enducing powers of ' the Craic'. Not surprisingly we slept late and stumbled into the venue where copious amounts of coffee were imbibed in a bid to return to the land of the living. After confirming our stage time some of us decided we needed a wee tonic and several beers later we were finally back on an even keel.
The crowd wasn't massive by any stretch of the imagination but were attentive and appreciative for Chain of Dogs and Cruadalach, so after a very pleasing level check and monitor tweak, we blasted into our set. It seemed as if the shackles had been taken off, we were on fire, and the audience reacted accordingly. We fed off their energy and finished to loud applause and shouts for an encore. We were buzzing; we'd reached a level we knew we were capable of. This is what being in a band is all about. We triumphantly returned to the band room to get changed and no sooner had we done that when a hot meal was served up. The timing was perfect.
I was in unusually good form so, after grabbing a few beers from the rider I ventured in to catch the other bands. As it turned out the bands didn't receive my avid attention due to the sheer friendliness of the audience who wanted to chat and buy me beer. To refuse would have been ill mannered in the extreme so I persevered. I ended up chatting to some local bikers about geographical locations, local history and potential locations for a biking holiday and before long Siudakra had finished and the evening's proceedings were at an end. I was quite keen to visit a coffee shop so one of the locals kindly drove me the half mile there, marched me up to the front of quite a lengthy queue and demanded I get served immediately, which duly happened. This seemed like the end of a perfect day. What I didn't know at the time was that the bus was due to leave earlier than expected and while I was on my adventure the other lads were getting anxious as the departure time drew ever closer. Nothing was going to go wrong on this day though as I arrived back with 5 minutes to spare.
The haze lasted well into the night, and beyond..........
Monday 14th November Kassel Germany
Again we woke late and disembarked into a very cold winter's day. Rumours abounded that the show that night had run into difficulties, with conflicting stories creating a cloud of confusion. We reckoned that we should eat just in case the rumoured cancellation came to pass so off we went exploring. It didn't take long to get fed and get a general feeling for the layout of the place. We arrived back to tales of rows between the promoter of the venue and our tour manager so we went into the inappropriately named Hotspot to investigate. It was even colder in the warehouse type venue than it was outside! It was not only cold but was a right shithole too with excrement on the walls of the toilets and boke in the sinks.
Chain of Dogs were line checking in preparation for their set when they were told that the show had been pulled as the promoter hadn't bothered to promote the show in any shape or form! We were all, understandably, pissed off. Our tour manager, after a brief phone call to the promoter told us all to load out the gear, apparently after being threatened by the promoter, who was going to get ' the boys ' round to move us on. After we'd loaded out, which took little time considering there were about 40 of us on the tour, quite a few of the band members were getting excitable, with iron bars and broken paving slabs on view. When it became clear that the promoter's threat had been an empty one, the situation defused and soon talk turned to getting seriously drunk to ease the disappointment. Again, not wishing to appear rude we agreed and quickly hoofed it off in search of a supermarket or a beer shop. It seemed like we'd been walking for miles and were just about to give up when we found a supermarket. Ten minutes later we were standing outside with a crate of the finest German bottled beer each. It was a long walk back with such a heavy burden so we ' borrowed ' a few shopping trolleys. The party lasted into the wee small hours but we were a tad disappointed at the Germanic lack of stamina. Ah well, maybe they'd learn.
Tuesday 15th November Bruchsal Germany
I awoke surprisingly early the next day to discover that we were already parked outside the venue and that Steve Reynolds, who was standing in for Michael on bass for the tour, was already up. Steve's excuse for being up so early had me in stitches. He had been told that the toilet on the bus was no longer allowed to be defecated in due to one of the German lads having a dose of the shits, which had blocked the toilet. Steve had woken up with an overwhelming urge to empty his bowels so, off he runs round a quiet suburban area desperately seeking a toilet. The venue nor any of the few shops weren't open yet so he hops a fence and legs it towards an allotment type area where upon he immediately dropped his bags and well and truly fertilised the plants. It was at this point that he discovered he was in school grounds and had just carpet bombed the children's vegetable patch! A nice start to the day.
Load in was early so we had some time to kill, which meant I finally got the chance to read for a while. It's not all that easy to get some peace and quiet when you're sharing a bus with 19 other people. We were then summoned for feeding time with many of the lads being delighted that it was pizza on the menu. At this stage a combination of eating too much, and several days of booze and sleep deprivation had left most, if not all of us, feeling pretty drained. Then we spied that the rider had some welcome additions with several bottles of spirits as well as the usual crate loads of beer. A pre set pick me up was in order and it seemed to do the trick as we took to the stage and played another tight set to an appreciative audience.
We were pleased with the way the tour was going and felt that we would easily last the pace. We took advantage of the rider and wandered out to watch some bands in anticipation of Olaf's [chain of dogs vocalist], settling of a wager during the headline slot. Since the incident involving Immortal on the first night, having a dig at them became commonplace. Olaf had agreed with Siudakra to go onstage during one of their songs dressed as Abbath and crabwalk for the duration of the song. As you can imagine it caused great hilarity among those on the tour. By this stage of the night, due maybe to the copious amounts of Jim Beam involved, I was thoroughly enjoying Siudakra's set and after the fiasco of the previous night I think everyone was just in the mood to party. Which we did of course. I have hazy recollections of a much needed food stop then sitting up front with the bus driver, determined to stay awake until we had crossed the border into the Czech Republic
Wednesday 16th November Prague, Czech Republic
I awoke to the sound of voices, so figuring that I'd slept really late, I stumbled out of my bunk and almost went head over tit down the stairs. I wasn't feeling the best. It soon transpired that one of the Cruadalach horde was offering the use of their shower facilities as that night's venue had none. Dave, Steve and I decided that a shower would be most welcome so joined the others as we went off in search of a bus. It took a while for me to wake up and I came to the sudden realisation that it was bloody freezing. It seemed to take an age until we were crunching through the frost toward the welcome warmth. A bite to eat and hot shower later and I was feeling pretty human again, so back to the tour bus we ventured.
We returned to a horrific sight. As the toilet had been blocked for a few days and we were parked in a huge car park in a warehouse district, the driver decided to unleash the aromatic contents. I'm just thankful that I hadn't slept late. The thoughts of that sight and stench greeting me first thing would have been too much.
Before long it was time to drive to the venue and load in which ended up being easier said than done. It seemed like an eternity before the bus stopped, which turned out to be because of the one way system. The driver decided just to stop on the main road and hopefully we wouldn't take too long to unload so the driver could unblock the street again. Some drivers took exception to this. Then they met our crazy bus driver. Load in that night was completed in double quick time.
The venue itself was an old building with the ground floor being at the top, the main bar, a level below and the small bar and stage being the floor below that. A section of the main bar was set aside for the band's use so we had a beer and contemplated the food that was on offer. Eventually I grew adventurous and tried a few wee nibbles. To say it wasn't my thing would be an understatement and I wasn't the only one, so it was quickly decided to venture out into the chill Prague night in search of some fast food. It took a while but we were lucky to find a food court in a shopping centre, just in the nick of time. At this stage we realised that only Dave and Steve had Czech money so thanks to them we sated our hunger.
Fully satisfied we returned to the venue and the last of the complimentary beers before we adorned our woad and took to the stage. As we line checked it was becoming clear that this show could be something a bit special with the bunker like venue filling rapidly and people jostling for position down the front. We blasted into the set and the crowd went mental. The energy in the room was palpable. The crowd were singing along and we were in the zone, despite the really tight squeeze it took to fit the 6 of us on the small stage. When I announced a song from our debut album the place erupted and we rode that wave of pure adrenaline right up until the last note of the set. The crowd screamed for more but alas there was a schedule to keep, so we left the stage to heartfelt congratulations all round. I feel I really must stress the point that this was one of my favourite Waylander shows ever, the crowd were nothing short of amazing and I can't wait to return.
Obviously we were on a high and most of us fancied ascending a touch more. Unfortunately, the rider had run dry and as most of us had no local money it looked like being a rather dry night. Dave, Steve, and several members of the other bands came to the rescue though, buying us several rounds. I volunteered to go to the bar at one stage and ordered a whiskey along with the 8 beers for our table. The barman proceeded to fill the glass to the brim. Ouch, I thought, something has been lost in translation here. I was quite apprehensive that I'd have enough money to cover the round and breathed a sigh of relief when I was handed back a handful of coins as change. Drink must be ridiculously cheap here I thought, a notion confirmed by many others which led rapidly to the inevitable session. We had Karlson from Odroerir and several members of Chain of Dogs to party with and we all got stuck in. At one stage there was an obscene amount of beer on the table but we manfully made our way through to the bittersweet end. Load out was quite humorous at times which is no surprise considering that a few were way more inebriated than they were used to. The rest of the night was spent teaching our foreign friends some Irish slang which kept us mightily entertained until the early hours.
Thursday November 17th Berlin, Germany
I was looking forward to my first visit to Berlin, despite realising that there would be no time to do the touristy thing. At least I'd get a feel for the place. We had some time to kill before load in so several of us took the opportunity to have a wander about. I was feeling unwell so water and a cure were on my shopping list. In the supermarket I couldn't find any beer that wasn't either Pilsner or Weissbier so I decided that Berliner, obviously local, would have to be my poison of choice. I horsed a lough load of water into me, brushed my teeth and went for a sit down. I still felt like shit and the notion of another beer had about as much appeal as a slurry imbibing competition.
Recall that I mentioned that our box of shirts for the tour didn't arrive before we left? Well, thanks to the efforts of Martin Walkyier at Pricktees, it had been arranged to have the shirts delivered to the K17 venue today. As the venue opened I trudged inside, desperately hoping the courier company had done its job. Thankfully a large box was waiting inside for me so the new design was quickly unfurled for all to see. That cheered us up quite a bit and gave the few of us who were feeling under the weather an extra wee boost.
Some hot food, some complimentary beer and the promise of a hot shower after our show perked me up more than a tad I was really looking forward to playing in such a prestigious club. Show time came and we took to the stage to a near empty venue. I have to admit that I was feeling a little bit gutted by this but thankfully by the end of our first song there was a steady stream of people rushing into the building to see us. I found out later that we'd been advertised as being on stage much later than we actually were. Ouch! We ploughed through the set, with the songs from our debut album being particularly well received and finished to a satisfactory roar of approval from a venue which was now looking busy. We'd played better but were pleased with our endeavours.
The post performance shower was bliss and I was now less nervous about the proposed night on the town which all the bands had agreed to. The bar was separate from the venue itself [imagine katy dalys in relation to the limelight in belfast, only on a much bigger scale] but had a screen which showed the bands onstage. I wasn't feeling quite up to standing watching bands for hours so I found a comfortable position propping up the bar and ordered a beer. The pilsner wasn't going down at all well so I ordered a black beer which looked like flat Guinness. Still struggling. All I really wanted to do at this stage was go to bed but the thoughts of losing face and missing the tour piss up put me in a determined mood, there was nothing else for it. Whiskey!! I necked the first double and before I could even utter a sound to order a refill, the barman marched down the bar and filled my glass to the brim, said, Slainte, and went back to serving customers. I was speechless! When he came back to refill my glass again he explained quickly that many people had waited a long time to see Waylander in Berlin and that from then on I only had to pay for my beer. The ole uisce bheatha was doing the trick and by load out time I was ready to take on the world.
What happened next is unsurprisingly hazy. A few beers and a few smokes on the bus was had by several of us and before we knew it we were getting phone calls from the Viking bar telling us to hurry up. When we finally made it everyone was in high spirits so I wandered up to the bar to seek out my chosen beverage for the duration. The first thing I noticed was that they had bottles of Diebels in the fridge and as I had the taste for whiskey from earlier, it seemed logical that good beer and firewater chasers were the order of the day. Ordering the whiskey was incident free, ordering Diebels wasn't. The bar owner started slagging me off for drinking a non Berlin brew, much to my surprise. Then I noticed that he'd obviously had a few himself and was undoubtedly an eejit of the highest order so my horror quickly turned to complete amusement as we gave each other good natured dogs abuse for several minutes. Good tunes were blasting on the jukebox, everyone was pissed and having the craic and going to the bar was an adventure, it was perfect really. The night seemed to fly by but the standout moments were, the bemused look on the foreign bands' faces as Saul reverted to his usual accent with the glut of slang that entails, discovering that Tor had talked our resident teetotaller, Dave into going on the rip[we were all excited by this prospect], Steve dropping his trousers while we tried to play pool, about a dozen of us standing on tables giving it loads to Hallowed be thy Name and the messiest trip to the kebab shop of all time. If Karlson had not been with us, the Gods alone know what the hell we'd have ended up eating. To top it all off, a Waylander member decided to get his member out, and his balls, then his arse. It was chaos on the bus [or so I have been told] with people shouting, laughing and falling all over the place. Without doubt this was the messiest night of the whole tour.
Friday November 18th Bad Salzungen Germany
Unsurprisingly, we slept very late this day and when I eventually surfaced I was in the horrors. Most of us had missed load in so the club was already open. Maybe a beer and some food would stop the rapidly accelerating shroud of diabolic sickness that threatened to engulf me at any second? Not this time. I couldn't face either and had no choice but to retreat to my bunk. Panic had begun to set in as I was pretty sure this was no mere hangover. The flu type symptoms were no real surprise as it had been doing the rounds on the tour and had finally caught up with me. I told the others to rouse me an hour before we played and immediately sank into what I hoped would be a curing sleep.
Almost an hour later, as we prepared to take the stage I was drained of all energy and doubts had crept into my mind about my ability to even perform the show. I had to dig deep into my reserves of energy and luckily after a few songs the adrenaline started pumping. It was a strange show this, the crowd payed complete attention but simply wouldn't participate. At one stage I wondered if they had all been smoking weed and were too baked to do anything other than observe. We came off stage not too sure how we'd gone down but were pleased that we'd played another fairly tight gig. As we found out before the night was over, it wasn't just us who had trouble rousing the crowd and even Siudakra had a pop at them for their lack of enthusiasm.
We retreated to the bus to get changed in relative silence. It was obvious that a week of over indulgence had taken its toll on everyone. No one really seemed up for going back into the venue and as I’d had a few beers and was feeling slightly better I gave serious consideration to venturing inside alone. When the choice became bed or south park I quickly decided that watching bands would be infinitely more tolerable. The venue itself was spacious, with a platform behind the floor area in front of the stage which gave a great view. I stood watching bands with Olaf from chain of dogs for a while, until standing up was beginning to become too much like hard work and retreated to one of the couches that ran along one side of the venue. I could quite easily have spent the night there such was the comfort factor. I must have looked the picture of health, as twice, members of the tour came up to me to offer their sympathies. Talk about feeling paranoid.
Back on the tour bus after load out the general mood was quite subdued; it seemed the party was running out of steam. My beer was tasting none too good, so for the first time on the tour I decided to have an early night
Saturday November 19th Dresden
I arose reasonably early this morning and despite a sore throat and some sinus congestion I was feeling nowhere near as ill as I’d anticipated. Steve was the only one up so we decided to go exploring. It soon became clear we were in some grey coloured suburban area so made our way back to the bus. The venue must have opened while we were away so a welcome visit to the toilet was undertaken. After freshening up the day took on a more optimistic vibe. Load in was swift and the backstage area was spacious with bar facilities. The hot food went down a treat as did the half dozen cups of coffee which seemed to soothe my throat quite a bit. We had hours to kill before anyone was due on stage and looking around I noted that most of the touring bands had moved beyond hanging around with their own and mingled freely with those they had gotten to know on this tour. They had obviously gotten used to us!
When we wandered outside to retrieve our stage clothes we noticed something quite unique. Several merch stalls had been set up outside and there was a healthy crowd hanging around them, chatting and browsing. Several braziers were lit as it was a bitterly cold night and I decided that the locals were either hardy bastards or were simply a bit mad. We got changed and briefed Arne and Olaf from chain of dogs about their impending appearance onstage with us to perform Born to the Fight.
As we done a level check it was clear that Dresden were looking forward to our performance which gave us just the boost we needed. Even though Dave's bazouki refused to work it didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, or us. We blasted our way through the set and it was great to see the crowd really banging their heads and by the time the chain of dogs lads joined us onstage for our last song we were buzzing. We finished to well deserved approval and made our way backstage with a spring in our collective step.
I discovered there were shower facilities and amazingly there was no queue and after turning the water blue I felt better than I’d done in days. I returned to the backstage room to overhear Saul recount tales of audience members waiting since 1998 to see us live and them wanting to meet us. I agreed to go back into the venue but there was the more pressing matter of sinking a few beers first, not that they were my first of the day, it's just that the earlier pre gig beers were purely medicinal. After sinking a brace of beer in double quick time we headed into watch a few bands. After a while though, I yearned for the comfort of the backstage as downstairs was getting too claustrophobic for my liking. When I got back upstairs it was clear that several people were in party mode and decided that it would be rude not to participate .The craic continued back on the bus, with impulsive cries of Slainte[in German accents] only adding to the upbeat atmosphere. Somehow a deck of cards appeared so I decided it was time to seek some victims, I mean opponents! Natalie from Odroerir had had a few and announced that she was the poker queen. So, I innocently asked her to teach me Texas hold em. I'm not sure if money actually exchanged hands but her enthusiasm seemed to be waning in dramatic fashion. Someone decided on a compromise, strip poker and much to our surprise she readily agreed. What happened next was surreal. Poor Natalie lost hand after hand and was steadily shedding items of clothing. One of the guys was dealing and I knew that foul play was happening but it was too obvious so I deliberately declared that I’d the worst hand next time and removed my t-shirt. It was only at this stage that the rest of the bus began to realise what was going on with the hubbub of conversation decreasing alarmingly. Two hands later the poor girl was clad only in bra and knickers and sudden realisation that everyone on the bus was watching hit her and she panicked and made a run for the bunks upstairs. Her band mates were in convulsions of laughter and were absolutely amazed. I have to say I felt quite guilty but as someone pointed out, the poker queen needed to learn the hard way.
The party started to wind down after this and people began drifting off to their bunks. There had been an ongoing party war since the beginning of the tour and tonight the Germans were determined to finally get off the mark as several of them dug their heels in, determined to last the course. I'd had enough by this stage so I left Tor, Den and Steve to fly the flag. Obviously our foreign friends had no chance of victory which duly transpired but an honourable mention must go to Toby from XIV Dark Centuries for a valiant effort.
Sunday November 20th Rotterdam Holland
It was an 800km trek to Rotterdam in the fog which seemed to have shrouded all of Europe. We were in a race against time to arrive at the appointed time. By the time I fell out of my bunk we were on the outskirts of Rotterdam and were definitely running late. It was slow going getting through the city centre en route to the venue in the suburbs. I then discovered that Tor had pulled an all nighter! The things we do to live up to our national stereotype, eh? After an incident where the bus driver reversed up the motorway [by this stage we knew our driver was a nutcase so no one even remarked on this] we finally arrived at the venue and loaded in; in double quick time. A group photo of all the tour was called for but it wasn't all that easy to rouse a few of the late sleepers. In fact, Den actually stumbled out of the bus a minute or so after the photos. None of us cared too much as we were all drained and extremely tired and desired nothing more than to perform our set and get home.
It came as no surprise that all the bands had to cut their sets short but no one complained. After getting some welcome hot food into us we discovered that our post gig travel plans had changed. We weren't getting a lift to Amsterdam airport after all and would have to make our own way there. We weren't one bit amused with the news but hadn't much time to dwell on it as our set time was approaching fast. After getting changed and ready to play we waited in the backstage area where someone pointed out the rider. It was cans of Dutch lager. Hoping that the alcohol would ease my trembling limbs and add some much needed energy to my being, I sampled a can. I nearly threw up! After being used to quality beer all through the tour, this stuff was vile in comparison. Ouch! We finally took to the stage and looking around at my band mates I realised that I wasn't the only one who looked on the verge of collapse. Regardless, we dug deep and worked our way through the songs. When I announced our last song the sense of relief on the other lads faces was evident. When we finished it was such a great feeling to know that we'd completed the tour and had played well every night.
It was a surreal scenario afterwards as we hadn't time to unwind. Instead we had to pack for our journey to the airport. When we'd packed we returned to the venue to say our farewells to our tour friends who reacted angrily when we informed them that we had to leave almost immediately. They reckoned we were being treated pretty poorly but in fairness it was more of a decision taken by the tour bus company rather than Black Bards. We had to leave during XIV Dark Centuries' set and with our bags and gear in tow disappeared into a fog filled Rotterdam night.
By the time we disembarked the train in Amsterdam the notion of travelling onward for a 24 hour wait at the airport filled me with dread and we quickly decided to have a look around for a place to stay for the night. We'd made money from merch and it was to be gladly sacrificed if at all possible. Dave and Steve went off on a hotel hunt while the rest of us guarded the gear. After an hour, by which stage we were freezing our arses off, the lads returned with welcome news. We'd scored a decently priced brace of rooms for the night. After checking in and dumping off our luggage we went for food, and then spent a few hours dandering aimlessly around the red light district and the coffee shops. It was my first time in Amsterdam and to be honest I was underwhelmed by the experience. We returned to our rooms and before long there was a smoky haze and contented grins all round. Then Steve farted. It wasn't an ordinary fart either, it had everyone gasping for air but it seemed to hit Saul harder than the rest as he ran for the toilet and boked his ring up. It was gruesome and hilarious in equal measure. Not long after this we all crashed out, extremely relieved that we had a bed that wasn't claustrophobic, had no feeling of motion and the constant hum of an engine and clinking bottles.
Monday November 21st Amsterdam
I awoke somewhat refreshed, as did the others, and after some complimentary coffee, the kind staff agreed to mind our luggage until we had to leave for the airport at 4pm. We went searching for somewhere to have breakfast and found an Irish bar advertising fry ups. We were sold. The chef came out every now and again to deliver the food to the tables and it was clear that the old lad was baked off his tits! This was confirmed when he came to our table with the last breakfast for Dave. He asked who had ordered one with no beans to which Dave replied in the affirmative. Quick as a flash the cook set a full breakfast in front of him and said, Don't eat the beans!!! We nearly had heart attacks laughing.
A few more of Amsterdam's finest herbal roll ups were sampled and we wandered around for a few hours before we collected our gear and headed for the airport. The fog hadn't lifted but thankfully the flight was only slightly delayed and it was a huge relief when the plane landed back in dear old Eireann. It had been one hell of an experience but nothing beats your own bed.