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Published: June 18th 2010
I can not go on enough at how much I love the difference here. Even from just riding the train through the small towns. The apartment building, yards and farm land.
I arrived in Amsterdam at 11:25 so I had 2 hrs to kill before meeting up with my host Emiel, so I got myself acquainted with Cenntral Station. I first went on a hunt for a bathroom where I had to pay .50 EUR to use it. You put your money in a slot and the door opens. So far the only difference of the toilets is there are two buttons on the wall, one small and the other big. My guess is the bigger button for the bigger flush.
After my paid washroom break I went out looking for food. I found a nice deli but did not want to attempt at trying to pronounce what it said on the menu so I ordered what I knew I could say "Hot Dog" and man it was the best hot dog I have ever had. I was put into a small baguette with a yellowish sauce, there was only one hole/opening in the baguette and there is where they put
the hot dog in. I had an awesome crunch and amazing taste. I went upstairs where the trains come in, sat, ate and people watched.
I meet Emiel at the glass elevator as planned. He gave me a prepaid local transit pass that you scan everything you get on and off the tram and it charges you only for the distance you travel, Clever eh.
We took the tram back to his place so I can unload my stuff. The THREE story climb up the stairs was interesting because they were small and steep. So far I have not seen a normal size step here in Amsterdam they are all small and steep.
The apartment is small and cozy but the high light is the bedroom where I slept. It is a loft room where you have to climb a ladder to get to it, and there is only enough room for a bed up there. I love it.
We then headed out to explore Amsterdam. We pretty much walked around for 6 hrs taking it all in. Emiel knows a lot of history of the area and building so it has been really nice knowing more about the
things I am seeing. There is a castle looking building in the centre of the city that is now a restaurant but use to be the gate way into the city when there use to be a wall around it. There are even small slotted windows so they could shoot arrows out of.
When you look at a map of Amsterdam you will notice how some of the canals are in a circle shape around the city. This is because when there was a wall around the city there was a canal on the other side, kind of like a moat. But when the city grew they had to build another canal and then another and another as the city kept growing.
I have to tell you about the bikes here. A lot of people know there is lot but you really don’t know until you are here. They rule this city, they are many and everywhere. They have there own lane that are everywhere and they even have bike parades that are huge, I have no idea how people find there bikes in there after.
I have learned one thing very fast here, stay out off the bike
lane and out of there lane, they will not stop for you when crossing the street. They are fast and silent. It was neat to sit back and watch them zipping around I especially liked watching the double riders. The girls sit side saddled on the back on a small platform and they hop on and off with such easy even when the bike is moving. There bikes, mope heads and even tiny cars that are half the size of a smart car. They are allowed to drive on the bike paths because they are small and slow. We even saw a quad diving around the city. It seems there are not many laws pertaining to the road or they just don’t follow them.
We went down main streets where a lot of tourist where and we went down side streets and back alleys where only local were. I love how laid back it is here, back home people like to hide there lives behind closed doors and curtains but here wide open window and doors so that when you walk by you can look right in, which I love because I like seeing how other people live.
stopped at sat at a Terrence to take a break and have a few beers and do some people watching which there were lots of especially watching the bikers.
The building here are amazing so high, small and tight. Most of the apartment buildings here use to be warehouses, three story high small warehouses. I have not seen many actually houses here, I think I have only seen 3 so far. I could not imagine how much they would be to buy because a small apartment like Emiel is around 250,000 EUR. The only houses that are around here are house boats which are so neat, I wanted to go knock on a door and ask if I could see the inside. They even have a floating playground boat for kids how cool is that?
We stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant where we sat in a garden in the back. I had a burger and fries, and I finally got to try fries with mayo which is so good, I like it better then ketchup. Afterwards on our way home we walked through parts of the red light district. It was interesting because you know what is
going on especially when the curtains of the windows are closed. It was hard looking at the girls but kind of hard not to at the same time. We did learn one thing from another CS last night, when you see a purple light in the red light district beware because it is a transvestite.
Once we got home I crashed hard core because I had maybe 3 hours sleep since leaving Canada.
Pretzel & Water = 5 EUR
Hot Dog = 2 EUR
Bathroom = .50 EUR
Water & Waffel = 3.50 EUR
Dinner = 15,00 EUR
Total for day 1 = 26,00 EUR
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