I’m really sorry if my writing is poor today but I’ve just come back from Amsterdam where nine of us went for a stag/bachelor party. Excluding a school trip to Italy this is my first time away from England and also my first time flying, which is apparently the safest mode of transport there is. That’s what the man next to me said when he started a conversation then rapidly put his headphones on after I talked at him incessantly through my own white knuckle fear. Which wasn’t helped by the pilot telling us what to do if he shouts ‘Brace Brace’ in a doomed voice.
My first thought on going up was, ‘this is just plane wrong, haha, but seriously it’s not natural to be that many thousands of feet up in the air whilst trapped in a plastic tube, that incidentally had duct tape plastered all over the one wing that I could see. Nervous was an understatement but I was okay when I got over the cloud cover and I had no depth perception. I’d like to apologise to all the people who overheard and got bored by my nervous and constant chatter.
We first noticed the Dutch aversion to the English, when we boarded a train and were told (shouted at) we had to stand on top of each other in second class, the ticket lady decided this without even consulting any of our tickets, she was shouty too. It was the first of many times when it was clear the Dutch were not a fan of us.
It’s gets worse coming out of the station, bikes converge on you from all angles wherever you walk you have to keep your wits about you. when you get to the ‘real roads’ it’s six lanes of traffic, bikes, trams, cars, coming at you all from both directions. Fear the city on day one of your trip people. We worked out the etiquette of the traffic after a while, it runs like this; the cyclists ring their bells and just carry on (they don’t make brakes for bikes over there), if they hit you, it’s your fault. That’s it.
Needless to say we got lost and wandered to the wrong end of the city before risking the traffic again, to head over the other way. Our half an hour walk should have in fact taken us five minutes. In fact all we did was yomp for miles every day, because we made no plans whatsoever. It was a hikers dream. Interestingly though I did notice that the bricks used over Holland way are smaller than English bricks, It must take them ages to build a house.
So we finally stagger up to the hotel. There was nothing good about this hotel at all. Actually that’s a lie, the prices were pretty decent next door at the Trinity bar and café. When you get into the hotel, you come into the shop/restaurant/reception room. There aren’t enough chairs for the guests to have their breakfast all at once, but if you choose to come down a bit later there won’t be clean plates available and no one rushes to clean any despite having a sink in their all purpose front room too.
Then there was the room. It was the hottest room this side of the sun, there was a fan that sounded like a jet engine and was a pain to sleep through but needs must. worryingly there were really noticeable blood and other such stains on the beds and walls, one wall was even bent in at a weird angle which just isn’t right to wake upto, and then there was a huge mosquito terrorizing us every night.
Man time during the night one of us would potter in and ask for the room key at reception and get it without even some rudimentary form of ID check, it certainly had character, just like you’d see on one of these Horrible Hotel programmes. On a plus point though they did vacuum their front steps, which was a nice touch I suppose.
I’ll write part two tomorrow, that’ll be stuff we did, and also the weather.