Mum, Dad, Chris, Annette, Melinda and any other parental figures, don’t read this, you’ve been warned.
This morning we got up completely smoothly and efficiently. We cleaned up the rest of the stuff in the apartment, and didn’t have to rush. It was awesome. We got to Gare du Nord and hopped on the train to Lille Flanders and went for an hour, then got on another train to Anvers Central (which is actually Antwerp, in Belgium. Anvers is the French word for it). We sat next to a very chatty French Somali man. On the next leg, from Anvers (Antwerp) to Amsterdam, I sat next to a Dutch man who spoke flawless English as well as Dutch (obviously), French, German, Spanish and was learning Bulgarian. He was really lovely and affirmed the two things I have come to be sure of when dealing with Europeans:
1. They love Australians. Love them. It’s a cliche, but it’s true.
2. They have a brilliant knack for languages. My Dutch friend on the train was telling me that Dutch schoolchildren have compulsory English to learn, and as a result, many Europeans grow up well-practiced in English. We are extremely spoilt, to be English speakers.
We got to Amsterdam Centraal and dragged our stuff out into the city with us. Our hostel (on a freaking BOAT) turned out to not be a very long walk at all from the station, but it took us ages to find, so we were quite relieved when Cara saw the distant sign and called out across the canals ‘VITA NOVA!’ It’s really cute in here. The reception dude was really nice, gave us a map of the place and a heap of vouchers for specific discounts on tourist attractions and activities exclusive to Vita Nova. Sean and I are in our own cabin as are Cara and Alfie. They are tiny, with a set of bunks, a sink and a cupboard. There is barely room for us and our luggage, but it is somehow very charming. We are only here for three nights, so I doubt any of it will be a problem. After dumping our stuff and googling some tours etc, we headed out. It was only 7.30 when we left and, like so many places in Europe, everything in Amsterdam is open very late. I wanted to walk through the Red Light District because we hadn’t last time we were here. Everything in Amsterdam is also very close together; it’s easy to see all the important things on foot. We walked into the Red Light District and saw the prostitutes in the red windows. It was hilarious. Most of them were on their phones or picking their fingernails and just looked bored out of their minds. Which you probably would be if you had to stand in a window with dumb tourists staring at you all day. We walked out of the Red Light District and found some pizzas which were delicious, but huge. We couldn’t finish them. And then (MUM AND DAD DO NOT READ) we went to a coffeeshop and got spacecakes. It did absolutely nothing for me. I doubt there was actual weed in it. But the experience has now been had! Huzzah! On the way back home we went to one of the Sex Museums (which is not one of those live sex shows. You couldn’t pay me to sit through one of them) but is an actual museum about the cultural history of sex, and then we headed back to the boat and were quite tired so we went to bed!! Big day. We only have 2 full days in Amsterdam so we’re going to pack a lot into them!!