Hey guys! Welcome back!
I hope you're well and if you're in the North like me, particularly the North East, that you're keeping warm, since it's been about -25F with windchill the last couple of days. But at least there's snow! Today we'll be picking up where we left off last time from Paris, and if you're new, be sure to go back and catch up!
Here's the previous installment: https://travelfeed.io/travelfeed/@seangold/my-european-adventure-part-4-all-roads-lead-to-paris
And with that out of the way, let's begin!
Turn right! No, wait, that's not it, stay in this lane. Wait, why is there a toll? We're not parking, just dropping off? It's 4 euros and we have to pay it? Geez, I should have just taken the subway to the Galleni bus depot in Paris, where the next leg of my adventure truly begins.
I had an 11pm bus to catch, so it's late, dark and very confusing trying to figure out where to catch the bus, not to mention I'm quite nervous, as this is the point of no return; the beginning of my 7 day solo backpacking trip to strange countries, hostels and adventure, and not knowing what awaits me.
I eventually see the sign for Eurolines, my bus company, and find my bus. I wait in the lobby, which was pretty shabby to be honest, but it wasn't long before we get called to board the bus. The bus was actually quite nice, having window curtains, reclining seats, and lots of legroom, which was good since I planned to sleep and arrive about 1 hour before sunrise on the outskirts of Amsterdam.
I didn't sleep well, between the bumps, and being nervous of missing my stop, but it could have been worse. I wake up and we're about 15 minutes away. The plan was to walk through the outskirts into the downtown area of Amsterdam. Last stop, and I get off the bus at the metro station. And just then, I realized I kind of had to use the toilet. Well, guess I'll use the one in the metro station, right? Wait, I have to pay just to get inside the metro station? Great, now let's figure out this computer system... There was another woman there having trouble as well, after I figured it out and helped her and another woman purchase their tickets too, I forgot where she was from but I did grab her Instagram, because it's always great to keep in touch with the people you meet on your journeys.
I get inside, see the bathroom, but the door is locked. I ask where the other restroom is, to find out that is the only one and he's been in there for over an hour or something. Great. Well I bought a metro ticket, might as well take it downtown and find a restroom there. On the train I begin speaking with an older gentleman who explains how the metro trains work, what tickets I need and such. He was also a teacher.
I arrive at Amsterdam Central. Let's find a restroom. Found it! Wait. I have to pay? Really? I need change? Oh man. I made my way to a small shop and try to find something to purchase that would give me enough change after for the toilet. I found a doughnut, purchased, and ran back to the bathroom with my 65 cents. Well, we're off to a good start, no?
It's still predawn, but the sun is starting to illuminate the horizon. What to do now? I still don't know how to get to my hostel, and it's across the river, so let me figure that out since I'm already on the river. I try to not get run over by the bicycles flying every which way and off of the ferry. I get on and we head across the river.
Well that was quick and easy, besides the hundreds of bicycles flying at me. I find my hostel, walk around a bit, then head back on the next ferry back to the downtown area to explore as the sun comes up.
After getting back to Amsterdam Central, I decide I'd make my way to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, seeing what I find along the way; but first, a selfie.
Okay, one selfie is good for now, now let's see what else I captured on my way to the Royal Palace.
It wasn't a long walk, Amsterdam is relatively small, or it felt it to me since I was walking about 20 miles a day. Plus I couldn't check into my hostel until 2:30pm, so I had quite some time to kill. But anyways, I made it to the Palace and it was quite beautiful! Especially since there was hardly any one around still!
From there, I decided I'd just wander around and see what I found for a while. Here's some of what I captured.
Now, Amsterdam is known for a few things; legal marijuana, their Red Light District are two of the more famous ones, but they also have a ridiculous amount of bicycles! They take their bike riding very serious, with entire systems dedicated to cycling. It's really quite amazing, and a great alternative to automobiles. Although, it gave me quite some anxiety always wondering if I'm about to get run over by a bicycle because I unknowingly wandered into a bike lane or something.
Looking back, I wish I took more time to photograph more people riding their bicycles. They were often very fashionable and unique, and made for great photos. From there, I decided to make my way to the famous Van Gogh Museum, and admire the amazing canals along the way there!
Amazing canals, right? You'd think once you saw one, you'd seen them all, but they all had their own uniqueness and demanded I photograph each of them, to the detriment of the space on my limited memory cards.
I then arrived at the Museum Circle, and of course took a selfie at the IAmsterdam sign, because of course I did.
I also met a couple of Italian girls there that asked me to take their photo with the sign, and they returned the favor for me as well.
Geez, I didn't realize I had so much to write. I wanted to do both days in one post, but I see that a second post for day 2 is needed, so to wrap up day 1, after this I wandered a bit more, then made my way to the hostel. This hostel was a former laboratory and it was super cool, especially considering it was like 16$ a night!
It's called ClinkNOORD, and I highly recommend them if you're in Amsterdam! After I checked in, I chilled for a while in the lounge area, rested, charged up, organized some of my media, then went out after dark to explore at night, but left the camera gear at the hostel for this adventure.
So that wraps up day 1, on day 2 we'll head off to Zaandam and the windmills! As well as see a bit of Amsterdam by night before I catch my midnight train to my next city!
I hope you enjoyed! What photo was your favorite? Have you been to Amsterdam? Did I miss anything awesome? Let me know!
Till next time,