I spent my morning on trains getting to Amsterdam. Hamburg station was interesting as all announcements were in German only. Luckily, signs telling you a time and a direction/city read the same in all languages. I was waiting on my correct platform ready to go when some announcement comes on. Everyone else is now hurrying to somewhere else. I figure they can’t all be wrong and so I follow them. Our train had moved platforms. All good.
I was happy that I paid the ~$5 to make a reservation for my second train. There were people sitting in all sorts of odd places, like the floor. A reservation gets you a seat spot :).
Off the train, to my hostel. Amazingly, didn’t have any difficulty finding this one!
Checked in, showered (I always just feel dirty after traveling), and then wandered around the city for a bit. The hostel is located right on a canal in one of the older row houses in the city center.
I took a walk around Amsterdam then grabbed a seat by the canal for some people watching and book reading. Relaxing is always an important part of any vacation!
I decided to start off my visit with a walking tour. I’ve been enjoying them so far and they often have useful information! Additionally, the tour guides are usually great at suggesting things you should do in the city.
After the walking tour, I went to rent a bike. It seemed to be the only real way to get around the city, unless I wanted to walk every where. Not the most organized place, but I rented my bike just fine. The place I went has navy blue bikes, so perhaps I wouldn’t stick out like a total tourist. Most rental places have obnoxious colored bikes, while all the locals seem to have black.
My guide in the morning had mentioned that there was a brewery that was located in a windmill in the city area. So I decided I would bike out there. Of course, not for the beer, just for the experience and the windmill!
Well lets just say that my direction sense on a bike in Amsterdam isn’t so great. After a few wrong turns, or missed turns, I did end up finding where I was going.
I then decided I should check out a bit more of Amsterdam, especially since it was a very nice day out. So I biked around to the park (vondelpark) and past the museums which I was intending to go to the next day. My hope was that by biking there now, I wouldn’t get lost the next day.
The park was nice, but for the only major park in Amsterdam, none too large. And everyone was there. The place was packed. Perhaps it is just because I am used to the Cities where there are a million parks and you can pick many of them and be almost alone. That doesn’t work so well when there is only one large park I guess.
On an unrelated note, check out the dock for this boat: