Written onboard M/T Ek-Star August 2010
Queen's Day in Amsterdam 1990
Thursday 26th of April 1990 and I had got a ticket with Stena Line from my friend at school. He was working at Stena so they got free tickets. The ferry to Kiel in Germany was leaving Gothenburg 7 o'clock in the evening, I think.
And if I remember it right we arrived to Kiel in Germany 7 o'clock in the morning.
So it's easy to understand how hard it was to get out from the bed at arrival.
Especially if you had had a few beers in the bar on the ferry on the way from Sweden.
So there was time to have a few beers at Frasses before it was time to get to the ferry. According to my pictures and the clock on the wall in at Frasses it was just after 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
And my guess is that, well, and by judging from the pictures, we got a little tipsy before I left Frasses.
I left the school, well, Frasses and I went home to get my weekend bag in my student home in the late afternoon. Our student home was a 5 minutes taxi ride from the ferry terminal and I guess I was at the ferry terminal around 6 o'clock.
Friday 27th of April 1990 and I went to the train station in Kiel to get on the train to Hamburg. From there I had to take a train to Osnabrück. I had to wait for a while in Osnabrück (at first I remembered the name as Åsnabrücken, but after a quick check on the internet I found out that the name was Osnabrück) for my train to Amsterdam.
So I went to explore the town, not much to write home about so I just had a few beers at a pub close to the train station.
I was in my train compartment, alone, a wee bit tipsy and with good music blasting from my entertainment centre. Tipsy means charming so it didn't take long before I had 2 German girls in my compartment.
And of course, I'm pretty fluent in German, at least after a few beers. So we had a good time drinking beer listening to music.
The girls left the train before we reached Holland, at least I think so because I have pictures of them leaving the train. And I remember it quite well even today 20 years after.
But I don't remember arriving to Amsterdam. My first memory from Amsterdam is waking up in a room without any windows. How fun was that? What time is it? Morning or evening?
- Where the am I?
and by the look of the room it was not an expensive hotel, quite the opposite. Didn't look like it would be more than 10$ per night. when staying at this kind of hotel you promise yourself never to check in at the place again.
So imagine my surprise when we're celebrating Queen's Day next time. We're meeting our friend at the train station and he had been taking care of the hotel booking business while waiting for us to arrive from the airport. And he takes us to exactly the same hotel.
- Oh!! NO!!
Well, maybe they have a guy at the train station on the lookout for drunk people arriving.
But the location was excellent, on Warmoesstraat, a 3 minutes’ walk from the train station and 3 minutes from Cafe De Til, still open back then. Last time in Amsterdam, summer 2009 Cafe De Til was closed and there was a stupid souvenir shops selling T-shirts with marijuana leaf on and hash pipes. Who the wants’ to walk around with a T-shirt with a marijuana leaf or ADIHASH etc on the front.
Well, anyway, back to my hotel room. I woke up with no clue if it was morning or night. But as soon as I got out on the street it didn't take long before I knew where I was and I walked down to Cafe De Til on the Damstraat. My favourite place in Amsterdam.
And of course, back then they had the best beer glass in the world. The world famous Stapelbar, the small Dutch beer glasses. I Guilder for 1 glass, maybe 15 or 20 cl. The beer tasted so good when you drank from those glasses.
Today you have to ask for a Stapelbar and I'm sorry to say, on many places they don't have them anymore. But I think it had something to do with the Euro. When they started with Euro it was too expensive to charge 1€ for a small glass and they introduced the bigger glasses.
I had two friends from the last year in the engineer class coming down to Amsterdam Sunday evening, the day before Queen's Day. So I spent my days waiting for them at Cafe de Til. And when I needed change I moved to Choice Exact 200 meters further up Damstraat.
But Cafe de Til is enough, best place in the area and... Coming to think of it, this was the first place I ever heard “Bakerman” with Laidback. And this was during my visit to Amsterdam in April 1990. And I also remember hearing “I got the power” with SNAP at Cafe De Til for the first time ever. Yes, this is the kind of place it was. Can't really say that about any other place.
And Cafe de Til was conveniently located just a few steps away from my hotel so it was very easy to end up there. It's not like there is very much else to do in Amsterdam.
Meeting people having a good time. And when times turned “TOO GOOD” my bed was not very far away. 45 seconds with a taxi and I was back at the “House of Horror” as I called my hotel. OK, I must admit, there were advantages with the hotel as well. It was not like I felt like staying in my room wasting the days lolling around in bed.
OK, it wasn't like I spent 24 Seven at Cafe de Til. I walked down to Rembrandt Plein for a beer or two as well. And on the way there I passed a couple in a small boat and I experienced some of the everyday problems the locals can run in to in Amsterdam.
Walking around the town and I could see that they had a busy weekend preparing everything for Queen's Day. And actually, the day before Queen's Day is the day to spend in Amsterdam if you like to party.
All preparations are ready and Queen's Day is a holiday so no work. Unless, of course, if you're working as a bar tender, then you will find yourself busy.
Sunday 29th of April 1990 and I was going to meet the guys just around the corner from Cafe De Til, very convenient. So I could spend the day at Cafe De Til waiting for them.
There was one thing with cafe de Til, you were supposed to punch the lamps hanging over the bar. I don't know why, maybe a cash reward if you managed to hit them so they flew out of their socket. And as you can see on the pictures they are all much dented.
I left Cafe De Til to go to meet my friends arriving from Sweden. Right on the spot, amazing, this is something that seems to be impossible to do today when we have mobile phones and e-mail. But back then I never had any problem meeting people, Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsingborg or Bangkok.
OK, I ran in to some problem in Seoul a few years later. But this problem was not due to technical difficulties. But problem was solved the day after. And in the nick of time because I was about to leave.
Well, anyway, back to Amsterdam 29th of April 1990. By the time I left Cafe De Til the canals was starting to get full of boats with orange balloons, music and people drinking beer. Just to sit along the canal and see them passing by listening to the music.
I meet the guys and I took them to the hotel. This was embarrassing. When I left Gothenburg I told them that I would take care of the hotel things.
Well, blame me for getting motion sick on the train from Osnabrück to Amsterdam if you want. But I had not managed to find any better hotel, all hotels in the area were full. Nothing else expected at Queen's Day.
Even our rock bottom hotel was full so they had to sleep in my room. Well, next time I hope I can arrive without being motion sick??!!
- Hmm, maybe it was the girls slipping a Mickey in my beer? Horror! I might have woke up married!
Well, they were not impressed when we got to the room to leave their bags. Well, nothing to do about it, just to get drunk and laugh about it. For sure, that's what I do today, 20 years later.
But as we can see we were soon back at Cafe de Til, or it's even possible that we stopped for a beer before we went to the hotel. What do I remember?
Monday 30th of April 1990 and we started the day by a tour on the canals with one of the canal boats. and as you can understand we were in a hurry out from the hotel room when we woke up. No desire to spend any extra time on the room.
I don't remember if we slept at all, and if we did we must have been dead drunk.
3 guys in that room? I remember the room as one big bed. Bed? I think it was a board covering 95% of the room. But it's amazing what you can stand when you're young.
The only thing I remember from the canal tour is a small boat. There must have been 8 or 10 people in the boat that was built for 2.
We passed the boat and the swell put the small boat in motion. The boat was rolling and she started to take in water. And the more water that came in to the boat the more she sank. And the more she sank the more water came in.
It took a while for them to realise what was going to happen, but then 2 of them jumped overboard holding the camera high over the water. And as we can see, the guy in white T-shirt is climbing back onboard. What is he thinking? We can see that they have 0 freeboard.
Well, good, as we can see on the last picture they got assistance from another boat and I didn't have to worry about their fate anymore. But it was fun watching them.
Tuesday 1st of May 1990 and it was time to return to Sweden. We left Amsterdam with a morning train and there had been no sleeping during the night. So we were not very full of vim on the train back to Kiel.
I don't know how many times we changed train. But according to my pictures we changed train in Hamburg-Altona and we arrived to Kiel in time for the ferry. I think the ferry left Kiel 7 o 'clock in the evening and we arrived to Gothenburg 7 o'clock in the morning. Yeah, great time!
Friday 4th of May 1990 and it was time for a birthday party at Frasses. one of the girls had her birthday and she held her party at Frasses. Well, coming back home from Amsterdam the 2nd and you might think that I would have needed a few days to rest.
But bear in mind, we were only 20 years old, so no rest required.
Saturday 5th of May 1990 and this was the day I had to get out of bed early, birthday party or not the day before. we were going to Skagen to practice to taking heights with the school. Well, this was our Teacher in navigation special thing. To take the students to Skagen to practice the use of the sextant. It was not mandatory, but we were maybe 8 people leaving with our Teacher on Saturday morning. 2 of the students had cars and that was enough, so we were not many more than 8 people, for sure.
- We will meet at Stena 10 o'clock. (I think it was 10 o'clock)
- At the terminal? I asked.
- No, behind the shed at the far end of Stena Line's parking space.
- WHAT!!?? Are we going as stowaways?
Turned out that I was close to the truth. But this, well, it was fun. I came down to Stena Line, a 2 minutes’ walk from my student home. Everyone had arrived and more important, the two cars were there. Would have been a catastrophe if one of the car owners had decided to get drunk the day before and thus would have been home sleeping. All present and we were ready to go.
- Where are the tickets? I asked our Teacher.
No answer, maybe he was excited for the opportunity to get away on a day trip with his favourite students. So I tried again.
- Where are the tickets?
When they opened the port in the side of the ship we moved to a parking lot behind the terminal. I thought it was strange that we didn't pull up in the queue to the ferry.
- Do we have tickets? I asked our Teacher.
No answer, maybe he was excited for the opportunity to get away on a day trip with his favourite students. So I tried again.
- Do we have tickets?
It became quite clear that we didn't have any tickets when they started to let onboard the cars. We were sneaking up in the queue and we boarded.
Onboard we followed our teacher to the reception.
- What is the number of our conference room?
- What... I can't see that there are any bookings for a conference room.
- Oh yes, we're from the navigation school and we have booked conference room.
The girls looked in her paper.
- No, I can't see any booking for any conference room.
- This is very bad! Check again.
She gave up and we got our conference room. It was not like we could blame the Teacher if getting caught. We were 20 years old and responsible for our actions. And the guys with their own cars getting on the ferry for free.
It's not like you would have ended up in jail, but it would have been a major embarrassment to get caught. Like these people stealing toilet paper on their job. Imagine getting caught, I can imagine that you would just have wished that you could drop dead on the spot.
We started in the conference room, and as you can see on the picture we brought a lot of books. Those books are the correction tables and the Nautical almanac. You need 2 books to get the position with the sun. Well, actually only one, the Nautical almanac and the rest you can calculate.
But as we don't use a calculator we need a correction table for different latitudes and Local Hour Angle. And of course, we need the sextants.
We got off the ferry in Fredrikshamn and as I remembered it we started in Fredrikshamn. yes, it makes sense. Fredrikshamn has the sea to the East and as it was morning we had the sun in the SE and thus over Kattegat so we could take down the sun to the horizon by means of the sextants.
And when the sun was in the South we had to move to Skagen where we had the sea on the West side and thus we could take heights when the sun moved from SW to W during the afternoon.
When the sun was in South we could not take any heights because the sun was over Denmark and we didn't have any horizon. So we drove from Fredrikshamn to Skagen, this didn't take us many minutes' so there were still time to kill before we had the sun in SW and over Skagerack.
we visited the Swedish Seaman's Church in Skagen and then we also took the opportunity to visit a famous gallery or a museum or whatever it was when at Skagen waiting for the sun.
So when we had all our heights we went to the restaurant at Skagen. The guys took seat at the terrace and they started to check the heights. They had the time and observed height so it should be easy to check if they if they were right just by checking if they got their observed position in or around Skagen.
It was Saturday and we had been on the “GO” for quite a few hours. And don't forget that we had been at the birthday party the day before our adventure in Skagen. So there were 4 of us that decided to sit inside and we ordered beer. Yes, it was nice with a cold beer after all the running around in the sun all day long.
I think the ferry back to Sweden left Fredrikshamn around 6 or 7 o'clock in the evening so we had to leave Skagen. Now our Teacher was very nervous, I had been asking him about the tickets back to Sweden a few times in Skagen.
When we came to Fredrikshamn we parked so we had a view over the jetty and we could see when the ferry arrived.
When the ferry arrived out Teacher was quick to run over to the Officer in charge. He asked if we could go back with them to Sweden for free. No problem and we got onboard first of all. So we were in a dream position when they opened the bar in the disco. Yes , Saturday night and there was a disco onboard and we were first in the queue to get beers.
It had been a very nice day with one of the best Teachers we ever had at Sjöbefälsskolan on Kvarnberget in Gothenburg. He and our English Teacher are the two Teachers that pop up first in my mind when thinking about good Teachers on the navigation school.
There were Teachers that had been there for 20 years and when you asked them something they had to look it up in their books. We had one Teacher, he had been there for 100 years and he should teach us how cargo pumps on a tanker were working. Well, it was quite embarrassing, the students had to show him how to get the darn pump to work.
Well, as you understand we were tipsy at arrival to Gothenburg and we ended up at Rippers Inn and Daily's. This was a very good time, a gorgeous spring and school was soon finished. So there were parties more or less every day. But my next pictures are not until the 9th of May.
Wednesday 9th of May 1990 and the class in the second year in Navigation school had hired Maribell for a cruise in the archipelago. And this was actually my class, well, I didn't had any class. I did 2 years in one so I was both in the second and third year. So I could pick parties and ballyhoos like I was in two different classes.
Well, anyway, this evening they had rented Maribell for an evening cruise with shrimps and plenty to drink. And as no surprise the whole event started off at Frasses with plenty beers.
we walked down to Maribell from the school. Just down the stairs from Sjöbefälsskolan on Kvarnberget and you were on the jetty. I think M/S Maribell left from Stenpiren.
I don't remember what time we left and I don't think you had expected that. We got our shrimps, but I don't like shrimps. Well, if the shrimps is ready peeled it's OK, But to peel the shrimps, a lot of work for a little food. And you need a bucket of water to clean your fingers.
Well, I had a few shrimps while we left Gothenburg behind and I really don't know where we went. Maybe out to Vinga and back. We could watch the archipelago from the restaurant in it was a very nice spring evening as you can see on the pictures.
Well, as soon as the shrimps were finished we moved out on deck. My friends, of course, always the same guys making a tit out of them self, had brought a bottle of whiskey.
We cruised around in the archipelago while we were on deck drinking beers. I have a picture of the sunset so I'm pretty sure we spent a few hours on the boat. Of course, some of our Teachers had come with us so we had to behave.
But back then I had no problem with the behaviour.
Well, it's not like I have any problem today. Only get the concrete hat on after those long haul flights when I would be better off home in my bed, but:
- Let's go for a drink.
- Damn! I'm dead tired after my 24h flight.
- Don't be such a milksop!!
- OK, I'm coming
And as no surprise I end up with the concrete hat. But back in 1990 it was different.
We, at least according to my pictures, returned back to Stenpiren when it became dark. So it might have been between 10 and midnight when we came back to Gothenburg.
Coming of the boat and there were no plans for going home to sleep. If I remember it right we went to Daily's on Avenyn. I'm quite sure we didn't go to Frasses.
But I remember coming home at the wee hours in the morning. No traffic and pollution and the whole area where I lived smelled of lilac. We have lilac-bushes all over Sweden and the scent of lilac is very strong and it smells good during the spring
when they are blossoming. Well, anyway, as you can see on the picture I was not sober when I took the picture. A wee bit unsteady on the hand. Hmm, this might be a good picture of how I saw things when I came home double vision.
A very nice time of the year and especially this year when school was coming to an end.
Well, that's pretty much it from our cruise with M/S Maribell. But hold on, there were one more cruise before we finished school so join our tour with S/S Ingo, you might find it fun.
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