Posted at April 16, 2010
Yarr. Sorry for the relative silence since London, I have had neither the time nor the inclination to do much since. After Geneva I was ready to go home; instead, I continued on to Paris, where I fell ill. And due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland, it looks like I might not be able to go home on Saturday.
Amsterdam! Train from London to Harwich, ferry to Hoek von Holland, train to Rotterdam, and another train up to Amsterdam. Transit was a little brutal due to the ferry: it was long enough to be an overnight trip, but not long enough to get proper sleep. The alarm went off at quarter to seven Central European Time, or quarter to six by UK time, and the ferry had only left at midnight.
Nevertheless, I made a good day out of it.
Amsterdam was wonderful. The people were friendly, and all spoke English (I tried learning some Dutch, but it’s a weird language). The city centre largely dates back to Amsterdam’s glory days in the 17th century; most buildings were six or seven story warehouses, and there were canals everywhere. I took a boat tour through the city, and it was redonkulously beautiful.
And, of course, I checked out the red light district. It was at its eeriest in the late afternoon when things started going: all along the alleys were doorways, and in each one was a woman tapping on the glass to try to get your attention. At least later in the evening they were largely occupied… but at night, the neon lights were mesmerizing.
Umm. Cars and boats alike parked / docked on the edge of the canals. The interior blocks had the occasional major street running through them (usually with a public transit train running through them), but otherwise it was just alleys. The city was made to be travelled by foot; I’d wager that vehicle traffic, aside from the thoroughfare between the train station and the city, was a distant third in traffic, after pedestrians and cyclists.
I took lots of pictures. I’ll start uploading after I get back home.
nfg: I wouldn’t mind an extra day or two, as long as I know when I’ll be able to go home.
Marc: You know, most people wouldn’t begrudge an extra day in Paris. Too bad about the illness though. Maybe you should just go to café, grab the International Herald Tribune, and watch the people go by.