I took the train to Brussels and had 1 cup of tea. Seriously, that's the only thing I did. With the length of time I spent doing charades to show the waitress that I wanted tea, I certainly earned it.
Taking the Eurostar from London to Brussels made me realize why trains are the most desirable form of travel. The service was better than I'd expect at a 5 star restaurant & the the endless green fields & farms are something out of a movie.
Stepping on my Thalys train from Brussels to Amsterdam was an entirely different story. It was a first day in the high school cafeteria scene. Everybody was already friends & I was the new girl who brought instead of bought. I had an overbook ticket so I knew damn well that if I didn't find myself a seat soon I would be stuck on platform 5 next to signs I couldn't read.
Ran through train car 18... Nothing. Onto 17 - "Sweetie sit down!" A Moroccan native who now resides in The Netherlands took me under her wing & before I knew it I was surrounded by men & women of all ages asking 21 questions about where I'm coming from and where I'm heading to. It turns out they were coming home from a weekend in Paris that their boss takes all 150 of them on every year. They taught me everything from places to avoid to what kind of American Express card I should be looking for if I want a certain type of man to pick me up. 1 of the employees walked with me from our stop to the tram to make sure I got to the hostel okay.
I'm staying at The Flying Pig, one of the top hostels in the word. I'm steps away from famous museums and cafes & of all the sight-seeing I've done I loved the canal riverboat cruise the most. I had to wear headphones to hear the tour in English & I still loved it.
Amsterdam is quaint. There are 600,000 bicycles at any given time in the city. You rarely see parking lots, only bike racks with thousands upon thousands of bikes locked up. The tulips are the flower of Amsterdam because Turkey introduced them to the Netherlands in the 17th century and they were a a symbol of wealth. Amsterdam natives say that 'windmills made this city' and they are one of the most prepared cities in the world for when sea levels rise. All of which I learned while cruising the canals.
Night life has been fun but I never overindulge when I'm alone. On my first night my new friend Seb showed me the rope - pubs, live music & dancing.
On my second night I ended up at the place I always say I'll never go when I'm somewhere foreign, The Hard Rock Cafe. It was 10pm and I hadn't eaten since 11am. My feet were KILLING me. The manager at the door was a New York native and when I heard his accent I said, "I'm wicked hungry! Do you know where I'm from?" He guessed right, sat me next to the riverboats and I prepared to completely splurge on my dinner. We ended up in a long conversation about what had just happened in Boston and before my meal was through he came of to my table to tell me - "I'm covering your bill partly because I think it's incredible that you sat down at a table for 1 for a steak and champagne at 10pm and my wife always says live in the moment (which you're clearly doing) and because New York gets it & I get it."
Holy random acts of kindness.
Today I saw the sights & attempted to buy my dinner from a grocery store. I couldn't understand ONE sign in the place & walked out with 1 roll, a container of mango, 4 apples & 1 mini bottle of wine.
My inner chef is ashamed but inner American says, good job Kerri, you'll make it one more day.