Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future

Archive for the ‘Netherlands’ Category


Posted by Leanne on September 27, 2004

It was our second day in Amsterdam and so we walked into town. James, who had done nothing but complain and be moody since we’d left York went back to the hostel to sleep all day soon after that so I wandered around aimlessly, at least feeling appreciative that I was there.

Multi Storey Bike Park, Amsterdam

Multi Storey Bike Park, Amsterdam

I did manage to get him back into town that evening for a few beers, on the understanding that he would be able to make a stop at a ‘coffee’ shop and we could see for ourselves what the red light district was really like.


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Posted by Leanne on September 26, 2004

The first time I ever went travelling was on a whim, because I had decided that I needed to be more spontaneous. Spending my days hauling a rucksack around the world on my back had never appealed to me in the slightest, yet that is what I found myself doing for 3 weeks when I booked an InterRailing pass with the intention of seeing a bit more of Europe

The original plan was to head out on my own, which scared the hell out of me, so I was quite pleased when a younger colleague from my student days at Pizza Hut decided that he would join me in order to burn off a bit of inheritance money and get himself out of the house for a bit.

That was how I found myself, at 6am on 26th September 2004 queueing up at the check-in desk in Gatwick airport to be booked onto my flight to Amsterdam

After having tried to sleep at the airport all night, James started to get cranky, claiming lack of sleep as his excuse (the snoring coming from the bench next to mine all night seemed to suggest otherwise) and I started to wonder whether out travelling partnership would last very long. Still, when we arrived in Amsterdam after the short 30min flight, I felt glad that I wasn’t alone.

I was feeling surprisingly awake – the surreal, announcement interrupted sleep I got at the airport must have done me more good than I thought.

My introduction to Amsterdam was breakfast at Burger King (which, several years on is a bit of an embarrassment) and a double decker train from the airport into town. This excited me from the outset. If they have double decker trains, what else was there in store beyond the confines of the airport?!

As we travelled through the suburbs and into the city, the scenery struck me as being very futuristic and, well, boxy with not much character. Still, I needn’t have worried because the actual city proved to be much more beautiful as we found when we travelled to the hostel by canal bus.

Amsterdam Canal Network

Amsterdam Canal Network

Our hostel, the first I’ve ever stayed in, was situated on the edge of Vondelpark, which is where I sat in the autumn sunshine shortly after checking in, writing in my paper diary about James who had checked in and decided to go to bed at 1pm . Hmph. I, on the other hand was excited to be in a new country. I wanted to make the most of my short time in Amsterdam.

Vondelpark was just how a park should be. It was full of running people; cycling people; people on rollerblades; couples out for a Sunday afternoon walk in the park; busy cafes; street(or park?) performers; children playing out.

When James finally awoke, we spent the evening at the Comedy Café near our hostel, filling our tummies with beer, just like we would have done if we were back home in York on a Sunday night…

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