Catching up on la centaine again...
I think I've talked about this before, but it's a theme in my life - an ongoing theme at that. It's this - life takes us to some places that we never would have thought of. It makes seemingly random places important to us and seemingly important places become random. My life is as much about the place as the event. You'll have gathered as much by now, no doubt.
Rotterdam is a special place in my life, and the Hotel New York is exceptionally special to me.
The HNY started out life as the European terminal for the Holland America Line, who would transport folks across the sea, next stop Ellis Island. It's a great old building and has been lovingly put back into service as a hotel.
Much as those amazing people set out on new lives in the new world all those years ago, so today does the hotel play host to more modern dramas. And she does so in the way that any 'Grande Dame' would - elegantly, discreetly and with great class.
My own dramas have played out there over the years.
I've met colleagues, friends and lovers there. Sometimes they were colleagues that turned out to be friends and, later, lovers. I've loved and lost, and loved and won at the hotel.
At the hotel, I've hosted my own birthday party, with a dozen friends from around Europe. And I've hidden in a room there for three days when I was feeling desperate. There's nothing like eating room service lamb curry in a bed with three-hundred count sheets when you are feeling down.
I've drunk myself silly, and drunk myself sad within her walls. Hangovers always feel better, sat at the window with a koffie verkeerd in my hand, looking out at the grey Maas.
She's given me memories galore, some devastatingly sad, some gloriously happy, all memories that I cherish and that make me feel alive. My life has taken turns for the worse and turns for the better and still she welcomes me.
When the next Mr TBNIL shows up, I know where we'll be headed. We'll take the water taxi across the river into town. Get some food and cocktails on Witte de Withstraat. Walk back across the Erasmusbrug. Stroll together along the waterfront in the moonlight.
We'll imagine the new lives that started on this stretch of water - the people who bravely left behind their families, homelands and traditions to make homes far, far across the ocean.
And when we get to our room, we'll close the curtains and retreat into our own world.
As I say, with me it's as much about the place as it is the event.
And boy, this is some place.