The journey begins early in the morning. Squeezing myself into a bus with 20 kilos of luggage packed into a military backpack and a normal backpack during rushhour is not that easy. In addition, the last few days were really very warm and accordingly was it this morning. And so I headed to the city of Stuttgart to the Express Train.
Why am I riding on the Train at all while I could just fly to Amsterdam? I'm not a fan of easy ways. Traveling by train takes some effort, but also benefits. You get into conversation with people and get to know interesting stories and perspectives. And if you do not feel like it, then you just look out the window and let the landscape and the thoughts wander past.
I arrived a little early on the platform. People were already waiting for the train. Over time, there were more and more people. Vacationers. On the way to Frankfurt am Main airport. Finally the announcement came. Attention! Train is arriving. I was happy because I had a reservation. The crowds are entering into the train. I heard from a distance "no air conditioning" and "evacuating the car" and "at Frankfurt". Then I approached the train attendant at the entrance. Fact! The carriage in particular which I’ve got my reservation for had to be cleared because the air conditioning was broken due to high temperatures as soon as we arrive in Frankfurt. Well, so much about the reservation. As planned in Frankfurt I squeezed through the train forward to another carriage and of course found no seat. But honestly, I didn’t really care. All I could think of was getting out of the daily bullshit and have a change of surroundings.
After a short layover in Cologne and with an hour delay, I finally arrived in Amsterdam. I was overwhelmed by the view of the city. My hotel was not far away just at the Singel Gracht just 5 minutes from the train station. Good for me because the two backpacks were getting pretty heavy.
The check-in at the hotel was relatively simple and uncomplicated. The lady at the front desk was really nice and took a lot of time to explain everything to me. Everything was paid for except one thing, she told me. I would have to pay the city tax. I could vaguely remember that I read that somewhere. I do not remember exactly how much I paid but it was about 33 € and a few cents. I paid with 50 quit and got the exact amount of change back. She explained to me that there are no 1 and 2 cents in the Netherlands. If you pay something, it would simply be rounded to the next 5 or 10 value. After a short form I was ready to go to the room.
The bed was big and the view spoke walls. Literally :D. But I did not care. I would only stay there to sleep anyway. The location was perfect.Right on the canal, near the train station, ferry terminal, City Cruises, city center. The staff was nice and helpful and I had a amazing breakfast every morning. It was perfect.
Everything unpacked, showered and I went down to the reception again. I wanted to explore the city. At the reception I asked for more. Where are the photo spots? I was shown some places on the map in detail. So I set off on my first exploration tour of the canal city.
But first I hunted down for food. I was on the road for 7 hours and was incredibly Hungry. But no matter which restaurant I passed, it was ridiculously expensive. I was already expecting it. Then I found a restaurant that sells something warm for a relaxed price. Schrimpskroketten. Haha. Why was that so cheap, I wondered. then I saw the plate? It was a mini portion. However, after all, something warm in the stomach. I moved further into the city, deeper and deeper into the streets and the canal. The sun was setting and lit the channels in magical light. I kept on drifting away with my mind from the charm and the wondrous energy of this city. Until I finally went lost and did not remember where I was. I was in heaven.
Today I Learned:
It's right. Amsterdam is the world capital of cyclists. But as bike-friendly as the city is, so relentless are the cyclists. Although they drive quite well on their designated paths, if you are stupid or not paying attention (which happens easily if you are overwhelmed by the city), you will quickly be run over by a loud roaring Dutchman. It is especially dangerous at night, because the Dutch often drive without light - you'll not see them coming. Always look at the road ;)