Red Lights, Bikes, and Water


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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam
March 31st 2010
Published: September 19th 2011
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31-03

I came to Amsterdam by Eurolines bus from Paris for quite a low price as compared to train or air tickets. I enjoyed the trip immensely because the bus was very convenient and I slept during almost the whole 8 hours. I had to be early in the morning at Gallieni Bus Station, so that’s why I slept. At the Gallieni a woman asked me to fill in (anonymously) some questionnaire for tourists which I did with pleasure. There were many stops during the trip, of which I remember only Brussels and Breda. Perhaps we also passed Rotterdam, I am unsure.

The bus arrived at the Amsterdam Amstel Station. I found a tourist help desk and asked for a map and how I could get to the Trianon Hotel.

I took the tram as they said, but forgot the name of the required stop. It later came out that I left the tram almost at the right stop, only had to walk two hundred meters. But, to face the truth, I was puzzled where to go, to the left or two the right. In my mind, I designed the sentence to ask for the address showing the map, something like, Kent u deze straat, Deze straat, deze straat… Nobody gave me any satisfactory reply. At the stop, I found a big map and, having made some logical conclusions, took the right direction to the Trianon Hotel and was at once puzzled and happy and glad to have bumped into the required street after some one-two hundred meters.

At the hotel, they did not accept the 500 Euro note and I had to return back to the Amstel Station to change it for smaller ones. Somehow the station’s Forex exchange sign imprinted itself on my mind unconsciously, so I did not hesitate where to go or where to exchange the note. I was surprised at the rather high price of tram ticket, but that’s only because I compared it to prices in my home country. The trams are gorgeous and I always tried to use the Holland words 'een tiket’ when buying the ticket. It’s a shame to learn languages so poorly.

I did not go for a walk at once because it rained. In the room there were various people, from America and Czech Republic. It was already late in the evening, so I started for a short walk – I liked everything I saw but my photo camera was rather upset to meet the worrisome rain. Trianon is located, as I happily noted, quite near the centre, so walking was easy. When I mused about the two coming parties I simply jumped with joy. I also had to stop resting a bit and do translations the next day.

01-04

The next day was devoted to walking. It’s so often that I walk in places… I went to the Museumplein, to the Red Light District where I saw ‘business girls’ – at first I was at a loss and did not realize the fact, I simply thought she was a house mistress without scruples. But then I saw three more of them, and still more, and remembered the information. They looked beautiful, sexy and luxurious and if I had enough money I would certainly join someone. I asked how much they charged, and the answer was 50 Euros per half-hour.

Amsterdam is sometimes compared to St. Petersburg (or vice versa), but the cities look rather different except for their general arrangement – rivers, canals, houses built wall to wall. Canals are different in St. Petersburg because they do not have a single living boat in them and my personal idea is that there is little to compare.

There are interesting museums in the city like the torture, the sex, the vodka museum, but I will visit them next time. Speaking of bikes, I think I saw billions of them – really many. The buildings generally looked very colorful. Actually, I had only one full day in Amsterdam that’s why my experience is limited. I would not argue whether it is ethic or not to visit a woman of pleasure. During a second walk that day not quite close to the Red Light District I looked at something on the wall or in the window, bowed my head, and when I raised it in the window they were, fancy girls, trying to allure me. I passed by.

02-04

This day I went to the Central Station and asked how to buy a ticket to Brussels and how often the trains go there. They departed each hour starting from early morning. I bought a ticket. I would go to Brussels on April 5th.

Later that day I saw for the first time yellow and blue double-storey trains. In Russia we don’t have double-storey trains. The remaining part before evening I walked along canals searching for sights, and then rested and finally took a train to Utrecht for the party called Luminosity before the Energy.

Definitely I will return to Amsterdam. It’s one of the most impressive places I saw. The charm is so much enhanced by the water and canals – I love cities on water.



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