Fri, 30 May 2003
Germany - Weekend 9 - Amsterdam - Day 1
On Friday we went to Amsterdam. After class on Friday, we had various things to take care of, and then we took the 2:51 train to Amsterdam. When we got on the train, it was sweltering hot. Fortunately, after a little while, a train guy came by and said we could move to the neighboring first class car because the one we were in was so hot. Our train arrived in Amsterdam around 9:15 or so. When we got to Amsterdam, we needed to take our first problem: finding a place to sleep. Eric has called a dozen hostels in Amsterdam to make reservations for this weekend, but they were all full. We were planning to walk to the hostel closest to the train station and see if they had any room. Often, when a hostel is full, they are kind enough to provide contact information for other hostels or sometimes even call the other hostels for us. Just after we walked out of the train station, we were met by a "room hustler." He said he worked for 7 hotels and hostels in the area. He was out of dorm beds, but he could give us a 4-bed apartment for ¬35 per person per night. That was more than we wanted to pay.... I think the most we have paid before is ¬25-30 in Paris. But the hustler said the city was all booked up, and we believed him because Eric had called so many hostels already. So we took him up on his offer. He said the place was in a rich part of town or something. On the way to the place, we walked through what he described as the local red-light district. There were women in lingerie standing at a store front talking with similarly dressed women across the street. Our place was a couple blocks from there. (I keep calling it a "place" because it wasn't really a hostel.) Basically, we stayed in a hole in the wall run by an aging German pothead. "Wolfy," the guy who ran the hostel, recommended a great Italian restaurant around the corner that had great food. I think we have had Italian in most of the cities we have been to.
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