An interesting beginning

Trip Start Sep 17, 2010
Trip End Oct 17, 2010

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 1:
Packed and got to the airport early (amazing for me). I checked my big backpack and carried my daypack. When I got to Detroit, the flight for Amsterdam was already boarding. I meandered my way to the gate and they scanned my ticket and it said there was a change to it and I had to see the lady at the counter. Great, I'm late and I can't get on the plane...well, she got it straightened out really quickly and I was on the plane. Next, I go to my seat and someone's stuff is there. WTF? Girl says someone is already sitting there, so I talk to an attendant and they come over. The girl comes back and says she's moving. Way to freak me out lady.

So I get off the plane, get my passport stamped (yay!) and head to the train. That map and schedule is IMPOSSIBLE to understand! Went and got my Eurail pass validated, then realized I have no idea what to do with it. Now I know that's because I don't have to do anything with it other than fill out what train I took when. Sat in first class and didn't hear anyone speak English, so didn't talk to anyone. At least I got on and off the train with no issues. I'm learning. It was a short ride to Centraal Station. I got off and walked to the hostel. If you saw the place, you'd have been scared. Nothing wrong with it, but it was down an alley right off the main strip of the red light district. Girls in the windows right next to it and it's a Christian hostel. I dropped off my main pack and wandered around. Of course I ended up on the main strip first. I had a 50/50 shot. It's quite interesting. Porn, sex shops, live theater, coffeeshops...pretty much everything that's illegal in the US and most other places. That night I couldn't believe the line to get into the live show! People were even going with their girlfriends. Weird. So I mostly walked around today and got an idea of where stuff is. Thank you Garmin. I love you. I took lots of pictures. The architecture is amazing and I really like the canals. There are more canals in Amsterdam than Venice. It's a really clean and nice place.

The one real thing I did today was go to the Electric Lady. Awesome. The guy was a total hippie and really nice. He made the whole museum with his partner. Didn't sound like she's there anymore. You wouldn't believe how much he knew about blacklight stuff and he had rocks from all around the world that glow. They even glow different under different wavelengths of blacklight. You'll have to see the pics (hopefully they're good) later.

I ate at a Spanish place and had a seafood paella. REALLY good mussels and squid. The plate was way too much, I only ate half. The guy made me take the rest with me. I tried to pawn it off on the guy at Electric Lady, but he didn't want it so I ended up tossing it. I also went to a couple bar/cafes and had kriek, amstel and palm beers. All very good, though the kriek was kinda weird. It's like a cherry flavor.

At the end of the day, I tried following some groups around to see where they went, but NONE went anywhere! They just kept walking and walking. FAIL. So I called it a day at an early 11:30 after trying to post here. Evidently I can't write enough in a half hour and couldn't submit it when I was done. FAIL2. I went to bed and woke up to a much better morning. I could never really get a conversation going with anyone other than the Electric Lady guy. He said people here are more too themselves, so hopefully Brussels will be a bit different.

Day 2:
Started off the day early, ~7ish. Went down and had breakfast at the hostel at 8 and checked out, leaving my pack. They had pancakes, which I found are more like crepes in Amsterdam. I went to the museums to figure out the opening times since I lost my sheet that had them. I went to the Rijkmuseum (sp?) first, then the Rembrandt. I then decided to go to the library to see if I could find a computer to upload pictures. No such luck. It wouldn't even let me get to my blog. I posted on facebook and left. Incredible library, though. It was a museum itself! Went to the botanical gardens. It was nice, but probably 10x better in the spring. Mostly green and a lot of wilted stuff. The good places they had were in high humidity environments and my lense fogged up with the quickness, so I have very few good pictures. It was still neat. Rembrandt's house was really neat. They showed how he made (or rather had his students) paint and etchings. His studio was really nice. They said it always provided the right amount of sunlight for his work. You can tell by how masterful he was at shading. Everything he did had just the right ambiance.

After the gardens, I was hungry, so I wandered around in search of food and beer. I got trout with garlic, fries and a salad. OMG the fries here are WAY better than the states. What are we doing so wrong?! The fish was really good. I could have delt without it being the whole fish with bones, but oh well. I had a Wit Bier to start and ended it with a Heineken. Heiny is also way better here than in the states. I liked the Wit Bier better, though. You really can't go wrong with any beer here. Then I headed back to get my bag and go to the station for a trip to Brussels. So I get on the train and am off. Of course my ticket doesn't work for the high speed train. Had to drop E74 on a ticket cuz I was already on it. I didn't even see another option. Bastards. Train has wifi. Of course you have to pay if you're not first class. Oh well. At least I can charge my phone which is what I'm using to type all this.

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