Have you ever experienced a series of strange coincidences? At the moment I’m reading The Celestine Prophecy. This book was apparently really big in the 90s. Written by psychologist and metaphysical counsellor James Redfield, it tells the story of an ancient manuscript found in the rainforest of Peru.
The manuscript contains nine insights that speak about how humans will learn to interpret the significance of seemingly random events, and come to interact with each other in a deeper and more purposeful way – ultimately prophesizing that the human race is evolving towards a more harmonious and enlightened future… It sounds a bit spacey, but if you can get past the glib, Dan-Brown style of writing then it is a really good read.
Since starting this book, I have noticed a lot of really spooky coincidences in my own life. Sure, you’re probably thinking I’m just imagining it – attaching meaning to events that really are random as a result of reading this book. Well, guess what – I don’t think it matters if it’s in my head or not. At the end of the day, what “reality” can I access outside of my head? And to see meaning and purpose in the everyday feels better to me than seeing meaningless and purposelessness… So I’m just gonna go with it ah’ight??
As you already know, dear readers, last week I wrote a blog about never passing up an opportunity to travel. No sooner had I published this blog, than I received a text from an Australian friend (who I hadn’t heard from in a while) saying he was in Europe for the week and did I have any plans for the weekend. Here’s the thing – even the most relentless travellers (such as yours truly) feel over it every now and then. After several action packed weekends in a row, and a significant backlog of mess and grime in my apartment (ewww) TBH, I was really looking forward to chilling out and apartment-detoxing this weekend.
Well, apparently the Universe had other plans for me, and if you write a blog one week about never passing up an opportunity to travel, and turn down an opportunity to travel the next week, then you are just the biggest hypocrite going around.
Hypocrisy is probably my least favourite thing, so here’s what I did: 1. Wrote back to my friend “hell yes” 2. Booked flights to Amsterdam 3. Wrote to my Dutch friend Suzanne (who used to live in Amsterdam) to ask for some sweet tips. GUESS WHAT?? Turns out Suzanne and her husband, Joris, were also going to Amsterdam that weekend for a wedding… and they were on the SAME FLIGHT AS ME on the way over there (insert emoji that looks like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”).
Suzanne made Joris switch seats with me on the plane so that she could give me the lowdown on Amsterdam during the flight (as a surprise, I upgraded him to Premium Economy - if he had to be displaced, at least he could have some more leg room!). Here are some of her tips:
“Take the tram to Leidseplein, turn left at Burger King. Keep walking until you start to feel like you have taken the wrong street. Then you’ll find it on your right.”
We found the L&B Whisky Café – the harder part was finding a seat in this teeny tiny bar that looked like it had been set up in someone’s underground cellar. The menu featured about 20 pages of whiskies from different regions, different year’s and many other categorizations that were totally over my head. In the end we settled for a tasting from Islay (I am going there in January, so I’m just whetting my appetite) and sat here for several hours catching up on the last few months.
Shopping in De 9 Straatjes
As the name would imply for those who speak Dutch (or for those who have a Dutch friend to translate ;)) De 9 Straatjes are nine streets, tucked away between a belt of canals. The streets are filled with shops, cafes and hairdressers (excuse me but WHAT is with all the hairdressers in Amsterdam? I’m sure it wouldn’t be as hard to get an appointment there as it is in Munich… sigh!) that are both quirky and characterful.
This particular suggestion of Suzanne's ended up costing me quite a bit of money, and nearly resulted in me checking a bag on the way home (if there’s one skill I’ve honed this year, it’s how to squeeze the impossible into my trusty Samsonite carry-on, and after several minutes of sitting on it and struggling with the zip I managed once again).
There were two stores in particular where I did the most damage: Beadies, a jewellery store with unique and make-it-yourself pieces; and Young Designers United, with collections by up-and-coming local designers. I love these sorts of places because I can convince myself that technically I am buying designer, and that I am never going to spot someone else wearing the same thing (PS: I found a similar store in Budapest, WonderLAB, where I also went nuts).
Apparently people who live in Amsterdam don’t go to the “Coffee shops”, but Suzanne still had a recommendation for me that she said didn’t hurt her throat as much as other types.
Ordering from the coffee shops is so funny (hi Mum!). The items on the “menu” are laid out in terms of their effects (sleepy, giggly, creative) and they even sell lighters for complete newbs like me (I only wish that they offered to light the damn thing for me too. I am so clumsy with everything smoking-related that I swear I nearly caught my face on fire). In the end I emerged singe-free and even more giggly than usual (you can imagine how annoying this must have been for my poor friend), but I also managed to get in some solid and relaxed z’s before my early morning tight-arse flight back to Munich on Sunday.
What about you? Do believe that coincidences happen for a reason? Has anything spooky happened to you lately?