Thursday, March 15, 2001

Euro Trip 2001

For Spring Break 2001, my roommates (Andy and McG) decided that we'd all go to Amsterdam together, then they'd break off and go to Paris while I visited with a friend in Rotterdam, then we'd meet back up together in Brussels before heading to Reykjavik, Iceland. Sounds simple, right?


Well, why don't we start at the beginning (It's a very fine place to start)...

14 Mar 01
Boston, MA, USA
We got Sandoval (who was staying at our place because he was in town for work) to drop us off at the airport around 6:30 pm.Our flight left on time at 8:30 pm. It was a fairly uneventful flight, arriving in Reykjavik around 6:15 am local. It looked like we had just landed on the moon due to the light dusting of snow (yes, I know it doesn’t snow on the moon) on black volcanic rock. We killed some time in the lounge area because there isn’t much seating by the gate. I found a total of 8 radio stations, but I think some of them were repeater stations. Around 7:20 am we boarded a transport to the plane, climbed up some steps into the plane and we were off again.

15 Mar 01
Amsterdam, Netherlands
We flew into Schipol at 11:35 am. After waiting for a while for our bags to come out, we boarded a train bound for Centraal Station.
Public Art in Schipol
We then hopped on tram #2, punched our strip tickets, and rode until we got off at the Rijksmuseum. It was a brisk walk to the Atlas hotel. We probably should have taken the tram farther down, but we had no real landmarks after the museum. We dropped our bags off at 1:30 pm. From there we basically just walked around the city until we got cold.
Bronze lizards near the Rijksmuseum
Among the more amusing sights were some breakdancers getting hassled by an old drunken dancer in a public square. The streets were all torn up from the construction, but bikes were still zipping everywhere. There were a few near collisions under the Rijksmuseum diversion. Returning to the hotel for our jackets, we decided to get dinner at Indrapura, which serves really good Indonesian food. We watched a little Dutch TV before going to sleep.

16 Mar 01
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Woke up around 9 am, but stayed in bed until 11 am. There was a little confusion between us because we all thought we were letting the other two continue sleeping. We left the hotel at noon and strolled around the inside of the Rijksmuseum for a few hours. There were exhibits on Dutch history, art, ceramics, and the usual museum stuff.
We headed up the pedestrian shopping street after a canal cruise (I stayed awake this time), stopping at Leden for dinner. I had venison for my main course.
Oh deer, this is awkward.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel to regroup. We headed up to CafĂ© Rosso in the Red Light District to get some drinks and watch various ‘erotic’ performances. The performers seemed pretty bored, and the general atmosphere wasn’t that great.
Double exposure = drunk goggles
I had to stop at an ATM to get cash for a midnight snack at a falafel house, which was pretty good (3am food tastes better somehow).

17 Mar 01
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Woke up at 9am, got breakfast downstairs. Stood in line for the Van Gogh museum in a light and chilly mist. Did some last minute window-shopping (delft tiles, etc) before a hurried lunch at the same place we at the first day. We caught a cab back to the hotel (we had left our bags there after checkout). I told Andy and McG that I’d “See you in Brussels” and we parted ways.
I walked thru the Vondelpark to the City Hostel, which was basically on the other side of the park from the Atlas hotel. I’m told that they are full, but it’s little more than an hour before they sell off open beds. So while I am waiting, I called Nathalie and sorted out everything so that I’d meet her at 1:45pm at the Centraal Station Meeting Point (she told me there was a big neon sign, hard to miss) before we head down to Rotterdam tomorrow.
The tickets for the bed lottery started at 168, and I have 183. They began calling numbers at 3:15. By 4:15 I was in my 6-person room with 2 guys from Cambridge, UK and another pair from Leeds/Utah. I left to walk around town for photo ops. I logged in for 2 hours (10 guilders) to check email and IM friends. My dinner was McDonald’s McNuggetskip Menu. I killed a little time before the clubs opened (I’d decided to check out Escape, doors @10) walking around and logging in. I entered Escape at 10:15, and it was dead. I logged in again (the place was just down the block). I grabbed a Guinness at the nearby Irish pub, it being St. Patrick’s Day.
Notice the shamrocks on the ground?
I went back to Escape again at 11:30. They were turning people away at the door, but I got through. There were lots of good-looking women there, but every one of them were dancing in groups. I think there were a good number of Americans acting snobby too. I stayed until 2:45am. I arrived at my hostel at 3:45am. I used my pocket flashlight to determine that I was the only one back in the room, so I flipped on the lights and got things ready for tomorrow.

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