bet your bottom dollar there'll be SUN!

I should be in bed. It's late - 1:30 am - and I have just finished a concert (well, a few hours ago). I am very sleepy. Therefore it's possible this will make even less sense than my previous posts. Prepare thyself.

So Thursday was a lovely, lovely day. When I left you all, I was marching out into a dreary Den Haag day, fairly certain I would be rained upon. It was Ascension Day, and most of the town was closed, and I was having trouble finding even a cafe open to feed me. When I got closer to the center of town, I saw a pleasant looking Greek cafe, so I popped in for a gyro. Next to me in line were two Italian guys and I couldn't resist striking up a conversation with them. They invited me to sit at their table and we began the usual "so how do you speak Italian so well if you are a musician from Texas, currently on tour in the Netherlands?" Never fails. Anyhow, Emanuele and Daniele were super kind and took me out for coffee after our gyros, and piano piano, the day brightened. Literally. Where before there had been only gray gray skies, I began to see the hint of sunshine.

So after coffee I hopped on a tram to the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum), where I saw an incredible exhibit of the works of one Helene Schjerfbeck, a deceased Finnish painter. She was amazing. Really. I am shocked she is just now getting recognition, 60 years after her death. Go hunt her down online - it'll be worth your time. Anyhow, I wandered around this very good museum for at least an hour, and then I went to the cafe, which is in a courtyard - and there I saw liquid gold. Pure, unadulterated sunshine, cascading in through the tall glass windows. Giddy with glee, I ordered a hot tea and some sort of cranberry cake and headed outside to bask like a lizard in the sun. I had no idea that I was really that tired of the clouds but I felt better than I have in days.

Happily rejuvenated, I headed towards Haarlem, where I had a gig with Eva. I got there a few hours early and I wandered around the charming town center - one of the prettiest I've seen so far. I plopped down on the steps of the town hall and started sketching bicyclists, no doubt inspired by the works of Ms. Schjerfbeck. It's funny how seeing amazing art makes me kind of think I could do that too, much like hearing a great songwriter made me think that I too could write songs. You'd think it would be the opposite, that it would be intimidating, but there's something about the approachable-ness of artists who have a touch of the down-to-earth about them, be it Van Gogh or Aimee Mann, that encourages me to pick up a pen or a guitar. Whatever the inspiration, I sketched my childish drawings quite happily until the shadows grew long, and then I headed to my dinner - at an Italian restaurant, natch. I had stopped by there a few hours before to reserve a table and got to chatting with the owners, who asked the same question from earlier in the day, and we got around to my music, and I left a CD with them to listen to. When I returned for dinner, "Little Films" was playing over the system and it was to my own album that I ate my pizza that evening. Very odd indeed.

The show that night at Cafe Briljant was a lot of fun - Rob, the owner, is a fantastically nice guy, and it was so lovely to finally hear Eva play - you really must check her out, I think. We'll play again tomorrow at a house concert in Rotterdam and I am so looking forward to it.

As has been the theme of this trip, we scurried out as soon as the last 5 strings rang out on my guitar (I busted the E string while tuning for "Love Story") because we had to catch the last train back to Den Haag. The last train we made no problem, but the last tram to Eva's place was a different matter. She lives at least a km from the station, if not more - I'd say 2 km - and she pedaled us home at 1 in the morning, God bless her, with me on the back of the bike. I'm getting pretty good at Holland from the back of a bike.

Which brings us to today (I swear I'm almost done). This morning I headed to Utrecht to meet up with Hugo and Margriet, the organizers of tonight's house concert. They have been marvelous hosts - incredibly kind. Margriet lent me her bike (for once I was actually doing the pedaling!) and Hugo took me on a bike tour around the old center of Utrecht. It was so lovely - a bit like Amsterdam (because of the canals), but different too - it's a lot smaller, has a medieval feel to it. We spent the afternoon in town and then headed back to get ready for the house concert. This was their first concert to host but you would never have known it - they were pros. Likewise for the audience - easily the most attentive crowd I have had in a long time. They set a new standard for my house concert audiences. Really an amazing, lovely evening. Thank you so much to everyone who came.

Two days are left on the Dutch tour - I'll be sad to see it end (though I'll be happy to get back to my own bed and get the backpack off my back and unpacked for good). Stay tuned for Rotterdam part one and Amsterdam part two.

Love and goodnight,

Leave a comment