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the party dies down

The amplified chanting and chucking coloured talcum powder over each other festival (we never did find out what that was all about) in the main square finally ends. The sun sets on Easter. The shops all close for holiday monday. All, that is, except the one that's selling authentic Hawaiian shirts, damn them. Ah well, no matter, gezeligg. I only find a nice one once in a blue moon. Expensive, but after the cheap but always reliable thrill of finding a tall tower and going up it, I feel it to be a luxury which is, er, not quite justified.

To Ellé's delight, at Singel 404, we find a lunchcafé which does herbal tea. And six types of freshly-sqeezed juice, yoghurt shakes, enormous chocolate brownies and oh, all manner of good stuff. We look at a few coffeeshops, but the level of smoke in most regular cafés is enough to stress Ellé out and of the coffeeshops not closed for Monday, precisely one has tables outside. Three, very full, tables. Needless to say, the one she's set her heart on (it has a Van Gogh mural on it) is closed. "Let's go tomorrow," she says, brightly. Hmm. We're travelling tomorrow.

I stare at the sunlight on the canals until it's time for dinner, when we decide we're all Dutched out and eat in Spanish at the Pata Negra, a tapas bar covered with painted tiles and graffitti while the boss twirls bottles and laughs when we call him Tom Cruise. "Are you from Spain?" asks Ellé (in Spanish - at least I think that's what she said). No no no! Cuba! ....oops.

We head off for chocolate and coffee and cool our heads at the Café Marcella round the corner on Amstelveld on the grounds that it has a canal view and sunflowers on the tables, and then we wander down to the Amstel to look at the lights, describing a big circle back to the Utrechtstraat, where (sod's law) I finally spot the indy record store that would have told me where to find a club I'd like. Not to mention a shop which appears to be selling high fashion military fetish gear. Great, but unfortunately, as Pata Negra didn't take visa, what we now need is a cash point that isn't gebruiken. No luck so far.