Thursday, 4 June 2009

Windmills and Prozzies...Welcome to Amsterdam

Day 6.
Eurodisney -> Amsterdam

Today, the 22nd of May, is the one month anniversary of Miranda going back to America – Boo! I know all her family and friends reading this will disagree with my call but I don’t want her to go home! We’re moving to Moscow together and that’s all there is to it!

After a long journey of bus, train and then metro which featured a man having a rather excellent conversation with himself and his other forty personalities we made it to the main train station. He was laughing away and what not... Ahh Paris... ...See ya! Anyway at the station we had to wait in line forever and a day to validate our Eurail passes – the heavens seemed to be on our side as we managed to rush up to a train which would leave in just three minutes – only to have the guard tell us that we needed a reservation and may not get on the train – the next one was in two hours. Sigh. This meant that we had to drag our sorry asses back to the queue of eternity. After about a hundred years of working out what the hell was going on with train times, reservations and so on – the woman behind the counter knew nothing but at least she was trying to be helpful which is something I can’t say for the entire French population. She said that we would have to take a later train when in Amsterdam because they were having construction done on some of the tracks – fine, whatever – booked our seats for the train TO Amsterdam (33 Euros!) and FINALLY got on the train. Sadly, we had to miss having lunch in Brussels because of this whole debacle so we maintain that we window shopped Belgium – we saw it all through the train windows – we drove through the station. So there.

It was about five hours on the train which consisted of Miranda and I playing various electronic devices – ipod, Nintendo – and was the rest we really needed from all our Parisian frolicking. There were two younger girls sitting over from us and I overheard one of them saying she spoke five languages! Boy, do I feel inferior or what?
Before we arrived the train passed a windmill! Hooray! First stereotype of Europe and subsequently Holland has been met! The train pulled into Amsterdam station and we had arrived... and no one looked at our passports. This was a big shame because we were really hoping to get a stamp for each country but it wasn’t to be... if you want to jump the borders and what not in Europe – just take the train!

We walked from the station to our hostel and those first few steps outside really opened my eyes. I mean there were these posters on the lampposts that read things like “sex with prostitutes could result in STDs” and “STDs tear families apart”. Yikes. The actual town itself was really sweet. So many little bridges over the canals with various darling little boats bobbing along. I almost died a million times in Amsterdam because they drive on the wrong side of the road AND there are a million bicycles on top of that so every time we came to a road I would wait for Miranda to go and then follow her. I didn’t die so you know she did well.

It was hard wheeling our bags through the town because it was so busy! People everywhere bustling about doing who knows what. Oh wait I know they were probably milling around trying to pluck up the courage to go into one of the various sex museums or sex shops which are littered about the place. Just to clarify - we never went into any of these "attractions". Seeing this small aspect of Amsterdam (we see the red light district tomorrow) made me really pity the residents of this city because it seems to be the place where groups of male tourists go to behave like real tossers. Sad times.

Our hostel was really nice though this time we were in an eight bed female dorm which was fine – the beds were really comfortable. We were a bit tired and grumpy after all the train nonsense of that morning so we decided to do what grown-ups do and have pancakes for dinner! We went to this little shanty restaurant next to one of the canals and asked for tap water only to receive tap water – in a can – because apparently this restaurant was temporary and had plastic pipes... Weird. Tap water in a can? She explained this to us because everyone in Amsterdam speaks English. I feel bad for their culture once more... The pancakes, on the other hand, were amazing which leads me to another trope of our European tour. We seem to take a lot of photos when we are queuing and eating. Keep an eye out for more food photos – because we ate a lot of stuff in a lot of places.
After our healthy dinner we had a swan about the town which is like a maze because we got a little bit lost. We started walking back when the shops were closed and got back to the hostel by about 10 – it was still light. Sun was just beginning to set. Freaks me out to this day.

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