Starting off in Rotterdam. A city it's difficult to love.Not great for beer at that time, either, most cafe just selling Heineken Pils. The only respite was in autumn, when many had Bpck on tap. Full and malty and pretty good. Even the ones from breweries like Heineken.
After couple of months looking around, I got a job in Amstelveen, just outside Amsterdam. I started taking the train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam every day. A journey of about an hour. Not wanting to waste this time staring out of a window, I did what I always did: learnt a language. In London, it was Czech. In Holland, logically enough, Dutch. I bought the Volkskrant (sort of equivalent to The Guardian) every morning and read it, with the aid of a dictionary.
Fed up of commuting, I persuaded my employer to subsidise a flat for me in Amsterdam. I shared it with one Dutch colleague, who often wasn't there. An odd building, on a corner of Churchilllaan in the Riverenbuurt, pne of the hotspots for Amsterdamse School architecture.
A few doors further down Churchilllaan lived a couple of English colleagues, also newly arrived in Amsterdam. We'd cross the canal and into De Pijp to drink in Dopey's Elixir. A cosy little wood-panelled place. with a very unusual beer on tap: Gulpener Dort. A 6% beer supposedly in the Dormunder style. Not sure how true to style it is. But a pleasant malt-driven beer.
In the summer, Dolores was released from the DDR and moved in with me in Amsterdam. It seemed like I'd properly established myself in Holland.
All that was soon to change. I became an expat again.