Sunday, May 16, 2010
Aahhh, Amsterdam. We took a train from Bacharach around 1030, heading to The Netherlands. We had train changes in Koblenz and Koln, and it was quite evident when we actually left the country. The differences in graffiti were quite evident--Germany has simple scrawls of names or profanity, and The Netherlands has much more extensive, much more artistic murals. Some of them were actually quite pretty. And when the windmills and open fields started to roll past the windows, we knew we were getting close. I kept asking Ethan if he saw anything that looked familiar, but it wasn’t until we got off the train at Amsterdam Centraal station that he recognized the area.
There is a lot of construction going on currently at the station, which caused us some confusion. We thought we were walking straight out from the station, but were actually veering off to the left. So we hit the Red Light District a bit, before we finally scrapped the Rick Steves map we had and popped into a souvenir store to buy a map. Once we figured out exactly where we were, we were off to our hotel.
The (correct) route to our hotel puts us through Dam Square, one of the main squares in Amsterdam, and a central location. For the upcoming Queen’s Day celebrations, they had a full-on carnival going--complete with ferris wheel and cotton candy. We muscled our way through the crowds here, then walked the 3 blocks to our hotel, hotel Aspen.