mardi 12 février 2008

Day 1: train to Amsterdam


Woke up totally prepared. My pack was packed, all I had to do was wait for Lucia. She had work and dropped off her baggage the night before. So she'll come here and we'll get to Gare du Nord together. Watched the first part of Fargo while waiting.

We took the bus, then the RER. The weight on back wasn't that bad. Actually figured out later that I brought more than I should have, but no worries. We got in the wrong line to get our tickets, and then Lucia said she forgot the train confirmation number for the tickets and the hotel reservation I asked her to print out for me. We panicked a bit, since we also got in the wrong line. Called Keisha, who was at home, and she gave us our confirm. number. No sweat. We ran down the platform to the train car and boarded two minutes before departure. The ticket guy was funny, stamping our tickets, after witnessing us run towards him.

We settled in our seats and bought some food beforehand for the train. I only bought one sandwich packet thingie that was too expensive. It had three half-sandwiches that we shared. We both agreed beforehand that we would save money on eating and only eat twice a day and if really necessary. At least we'd lose weight. The idea seemed crazy and impossible at the time, and we even laughed at our sheer nervousness of the plan, but we adapted as the weekend passed. It all seemed to work out.

We stopped at Brussels, Antwerp, La Hague, and Rotterdam. A French lady next to me was convince we weren't going to stop at her stop, Rotterdam, but I assured her we would stop. She was elderly. I showed her my train ticket and compared hers to mine, that we both had the same train number on it, but she still asked one of the train people. Sure enough, it stopped at Rotterdam, the last stop before Amsterdam. She bis us goodbye and she hoped we have a nice vacation in Amsterdam.

Arrived at Centraal Station. Bikes everywhere! A lovely sight. Took a 5 minute metro ride to our hotel in Leidseplein. Our hotel was tucked in a little neighborhood outside the hustle an bustle. Down the street you can see Vondelpark. It was quite lovely.

The two guys at the reception desk were really nice and cool. Instead of that sappy instrumental music playing in hotel lobbies, they were playing "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones. It seemed to fit with the whole Amsterdam feel. Our room had a high ceiling and was pretty decent.

Starving and ready to get our grub on, Lucia and I went back to Leidseplein for dinner. That place was like an outdoor food court, so many different choices. Bars, steakhouses, tapas, and more. We settled on Thai, since it's vegetarian, and neither me nor Lucia are eating meat on Fridays. We both had a spicy, vegetable curry that was excellent. We conversed with our waitress, who was really sweet. She's from Vietnam, but going to school in Amsterdam for hotel management. She wants to open a hotel in Vietnam with her husband.

Afterwards, we went back, stuffed and tired and vegged out in front of the television watching "Teachers" subtitled in Dutch. It's a pretty sweet British show, very funny. I like the guy that plays the P.E. teacher. Tomorrow, Keisha was going to arrive.