On the rails

I’ve had several great days in Amsterdam, but it’s time to move on. I decided to go to Copenhagen next, which is a long train ride from Amsterdam. I bought tickets this morning, and I could have left almost right away, but the idea of arriving in a city at midnight didn’t appeal to me. I’d rather spend the night on the train, so I’m leaving around 7 pm.

Of course, that left the problem of what to do with seven hours. I had lunch. Then I did a canal cruise through old Amsterdam. That was pretty cool. Now I’m just catching up on e-mail and enjoying a pint.

Speaking of pints, I went to “The Heineken Experience” yesterday, which was not unlike an Anheuser-Busch brewery tour, minus the brewery part. It was more of a museum filled with company history and shameless self-promotion …. and free beer, of course. Three half-pints, to be precise. You also got a Heineken souvenir bottle opener when you leave, which was actually a decent gift, since I forgot to bring one along.

While sitting here waiting for time to pass, I finally heard from my friend in Copenhagen … not a moment too soon! She said she’d like to show me around when I get there, so I have something new to look forward to.

More Amsterdam, more rain

Of course, being in the red-light district, we had to have a look at the offerings in the windows. It appeared that the more attractive girls worked the main street, and as you got further away, they became, shall we say, uglier.

Rain seems to follow me everywhere I go. This morning I woke up to thunder and rain pouring down on my little tent. I’ve managed to keep dry, somehow.

Last night was a late night. I was told to check out the red-light district after dark. However, it doesn’t get dark here until around 11 pm. While I was in a bar waiting for it to get dark, I ran into four other backpackers from all over the US, two guys and two girls, plus one guy from Australia. After another round at that bar, we did some bar-hopping together.

Of course, being in the red-light district, we had to have a look at the offerings in the windows. There seems to be something for every taste there. All the guys in the group thought the girl with the glasses was quite hot. At first I thought maybe it was just me because, well, I’ve got a thing for glasses. It appeared that the more attractive girls worked the main street, and as you got further away, they became, shall we say, uglier.

One of the girls in our little group thought we should all go see a sex show, so we found one and went inside for a half-hour. I think we were all a little disappointed. I think I had an image in my mind of Amsterdam before I got here, and so it was a letdown to discover it isn’t really as depraved as I thought it would be.

I had some city plans for today, but I’m going to wait for the rain to let up a little, and maybe get a little more sleep. I also have a critical laundry shortage, so I need to do some wash soon. I’m down to my last pair of undies, and they’re starting to get ripe.

Amsterdam: Arrival and camping

I’m in Amsterdam, and I’m camping once again. I arrived Saturday night very late, so I had to spend one night in a hotel, but I’ll spend three nights at the campground. The campground is just three bus stops from the central train station, so it’s in a really great location.

Just a quick update. I’m in Amsterdam, and I’m camping once again. I arrived Saturday night very late, so I had to spend one night in a hotel, but I’ll spend three nights at the campground. The campground is just three bus stops from the central train station, so it’s in a really great location. Continue reading “Amsterdam: Arrival and camping”

Docked in Holland

It’s just now midnight, and I’m safely in Holland. We docked in a place called Hoek von Holland. It took less than five minutes to disembark and clear passport control. Now I have to wait a half-hour for my train. They let you buy train tickets on the ship, which is really cool.

Unfortunately, the station is really empty. There are vending machines, but I have no change in euros, and there are no attendants at this hour. I hope the train has a cafe, but I’ll bet it doesn’t.

Taking the Stena HSS Discovery from Harwich, England, to Hoek von Holland

I’m now aboard the Stena HSS Discovery. This is weird. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it’s like a floating Las Vegas casino. Okay, maybe an off-Strip one, but you get the idea. There are movie theaters showing first-run movies, bars, restaurants, cafes, and casino games.

I’m now aboard the Stena HSS Discovery. This is weird. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it’s like a floating Las Vegas casino. Okay, maybe an off-Strip one, but you get the idea. There are movie theaters showing first-run movies, bars, restaurants, cafes, and casino games.

The Stena HSS Discovery, sailing from Harwich in England to Hoek von Holland.
The Stena HSS Discovery, sailing from Harwich in England to Hoek von Holland.

This vessel carries vehicles, too, and truckers even have their own lounge. My bags were checked, like on a plane, so all I have to deal with is my small backpack as I wander around.

Preparing for my summer fun in Europe

In my recent posts, I’ve hinted I’m doing some traveling this summer. I won’t leave you in the dark any longer. In the next couple weeks, I’m leaving for a month-and-a-half-long backpacking trip through Europe.

Yes, Europe again. Yes, I have the bug, and I have it bad.

On my way to Europe, I’m spending a few nights in Iceland, which I’ve been wanting to see for years. There’s 24-hour daylight there this time of year, and I’m very curious to experience it, as well as taking part in Reykjavik’s infamous nightlife.

Although I have usually chosen Paris as my gateway to Europe, I’m flying to London this time to change things up. From London, I plan to travel by rail and ferry to Amsterdam, which is another place I’ve wanted to see for years.

From there, it becomes a little vague. I expect to visit Copenhagen, several cities in Germany and Austria, and Budapest and Bucharest before traveling west again toward France. Italy, Switzerland, and Spain are maybes. I plan to see a lot of places I’ve skipped on past trips, but I’ll also go back to some favorite places, like Montpellier.

As a side-trip, I’m thinking of making a pilgrimage to the Bushmills distillery in Ireland. We’ll see!

I’ll be filling in a lot of the details as I go. I expect to meet up with friends occasionally while I’m there, so some of my itinerary will depend on their schedules.

I’ll definitely be blogging my travels, so this is the place to get the latest scoop. If you want to keep up-to-date, consider snagging an RSS feed!

Finally, if any of you would like to meet up with me at some point during my journey or share a stretch of the trail, please send me an e-mail. Soon.