I Booked this one three months in advance, so while I wouldn’t really call it a spontaneous trip, I didn’t have too much time to prepare for it. It sure did come at a good time though, as work was starting to drag me down and I was definitely looking forward to getting a break from all the chaos.
Day 1: January 21, 1998
It’s such a cool feeling when you wake up in the morning knowing that you’re about to jet half way around the world to someplace cool. It’s also fun to check in at the airport when you’re making a big trip like that…I love the envious looks! Anyway, I was doing this trip on NW/KLM, and was looking forward to the two 747’s I had booked to take me across and back over the Atlantic. All flights were on time and seemed to go by quickly.
After a long day of travel, I arrived at a dark and foggy Schiphol at 7am on the morning of the 22nd, and was surprised at the size of the airport…it was quite smaller than I had imagined it would be. Still very nice though, and it was really easy to get around. After a quick breakfast, I hopped on a train bound for central Amsterdam. It was a short ride, and within 20 minutes I was standing on the streets at the center of the city.
It was very cold. Very foggy. And I had no freaking clue as to where my hotel was in relation to where I was. Knowing that I had nothing planned, I just started walking in the hopes of stumbling across the Crown Canal hotel by chance. Within 5 minutes, I was too cold to waste time just wandering around so I pulled out my map to try and find a direct route to where I needed to be. This was my first lesson on how chaotic up the streets of Amsterdam are laid out. Luckily, everyone I approached for directions spoke English and I soon found the hotel & checked in. I told myself that after a quick freshening up that I would take off for a stroll around the city. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. I fell asleep, and didn’t wake up until almost 5pm. Ugh! Totally disappointed in myself, I stumbled out of the hotel in search of…whatever.
I ended up finding a large outdoor shopping area, and spent some time looking around in some interesting shops.
After a quick bite at one of the MANY McDonald’s around, I continued with the casual browsing. I started thinking a lot about my ex girlfriend…heck, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go to Europe again without thinking about her. What’s weird is that I noticed many women that looked like her. Ugh. Tired and sore from the walking, I returned to my hotel by 7pm and ended up watching TV before falling asleep by 11pm.
Day 2: January 23, 1998
Amsterdam is a creepy place. I wasn’t able to sleep much that first night, but in the few hours that I did, I had some pretty messed up dreams. Stuff like fighting for my life as I try to escape the city. Yikes. I was up by 10am, and had a quick (but large) breakfast – I was starving! I dunno…there is something very different about the food in Europe. I always seem to gag if I take too large of a bite of meat or dairy products. It’s different. Oh – well – it was nice to have a big meal. I took another walk to kill the morning, but it wasn’t much fun. It was very cold, and my leg started hurting really bad. I did manage to find the red light district (by accident – really!), and I nearly freaked out as I was waved down by a nasty old prostitute sitting in a window.
On the walk back to my hotel, I realized that I really am a beach person, and I made a promise to myself that my next trip will be to someplace warm. Screw the cold! I went back to my hotel to start sketching, but I ended up falling asleep for about an hour. I woke up to the sound of the cleaning lady, so I quickly got my stuff together and got out of there so she could do her thing. I took a walk to the south (hoping to find the Heineken Brewery) but I had to cut it short because of the pain in my leg.
Most of the restaurants & coffee shops were full, so I walked into the nearest McDonalds for a rest. I actually found a spot by the window, so I got in a little people watching as I ate a late lunch. I was back in my hotel by 5pm to rest my leg.
Day 3: January 24, 1998
This trip turned out to be a little more relaxing than I thought it would. For some reason, I had little desire to go out & explore. The weather during my last morning didn’t help…it was pouring rain as I got out of bed. Not very good conditions for getting out & walking around. I was a mess that morning…I didn’t sleep much again during the night, and I was up for a few hours thinking about my ex girlfriend. I got myself together as best I could and grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then returned to my room to catch a round of the Australian Open on TV. I eventually fell asleep, and was happily greeted by sunshine at about 1pm. I eventually went outside to walk around…yeah, my leg was killing me, but I covered alot of ground.
It was a good afternoon of sightseeing and picture taking but I still wasn’t convinced that I liked Amsterdam all that much.
I was back in my hotel room by 6:30pm, flipping though Dutch TV and the rouge smut channels that were sprinkled in here and there. It was at that point that I wished that I would have spent the extra few bucks to go to Australia. I was definitely looking forward to being on an eastbound 747 back home to San Diego the next day.
But (as bland of a trip it was) I’m still glad I went…heck, it’s cool to say I’ve been to Amsterdam. Right?