From Amsterdam to Brussels
Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
21Trip End Jul 12, 2012
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While in Amsterdam we wandered around a lot. The city was pretty small and the only public transportation was a bus so we figured we would be fine on foot. The first day we arrived we wandered around. It was off and on raining but not as bad as London. We saw a lot of the beautiful buildings there and wandered through the many canals and plazas that they had. We noticed that there was a ton of people everywhere making it hard to walk and then we remembered it was Saturday so ppl were probably on mini weekend vacays. The other thing we noticed was the abundance of orange everywhere....the color for Holland's soccer (football) team. And what do you know, there was a game vs. Denmark that everyone was already celebrating and getting ready for so we decided to go to a bar and join in on the fun with the locals. After a quick lunch at the most amazing falafel place ever, Maoz (super cheap and unlimited veggie toppings and sauces for Jon which Jon and I each took 4 or 5 trips back to the veggie/sauce bar), we headed to our boat for a quick nap and some cheap beers and to ask the owner for a good bar to watch the game. We wandered around and found one with seating outside and a tv playing the game. We met a group of guys from England on a 3-day "stag do" (bachelor party) in bright orange jump suits drinking away and challenging each other to an ice cream vs. sorbet eating contest which Jon thought was quite amusing and had to get a picture. Holland lost the game so we wandered over past all the coffee shops toward the Red Light District for a good laugh. While we were there we chose to go to a bar that played Dutch and not American music (a rare find) where Jon got his butt kicked in Liar's dice by a local girl named "TP."
We got back to our room on the boat about 3:30am and slept til 10. After breakfast and another quick nap we went to see our last destinations in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House and the old Heineken Brewery. Before we went to the brewery we split a delicious Dutch egg and bacon pancake, sooo good and then we were ready to sample and learn about Heineken beer. The "Heineken Experience" as they called was pretty fun and informative. We got to see the old copper brew system, take some funny pics with a green screen and even experience what is would be like to be the beer that was brewed (an experience bettered by splashes of water, bubbles, fans and a disco ball). Then we did the traditional "probst" (cheers) and had some free beer and even got a couple free pairs of Heineken sunglasses. Some more falafels later we toured the Anne Frank house and saw where they hid for their few years there and we both thought it was much bigger than originally anticipated.
Phew....sightseeing done in Amsterdam and on to our train to Brussels, Belgium and our 5-day stop in Paris!!! We checked our bags at the central Brussels train station and did part of Rick Steves' Grand Place Walk (it you don't know Rick Steves then you don't have all the inside info for Europe haha). On his little stroll we were able to see amazing Belgium style buildings, sample some chocolate, and eat Belgium waffles. Then back on the long train to Paris, good thing the hubby got us 1st class Eurail passes, so much roomier!
Travel issue alert again!!!
As we were leaving Brussels, we were supposed to catch the next train to a different station in Brussels (we were at the central station and we wanted to go to the Midi station). We made it to the next station in Brussels after going too far and having to back track. With only 3 minutes to spare before we had to load the train to Lille Europe where we were to catch a train to Paris, we asked a man on the train where we should go, ran to that platform and we thought we were being smart by asking a conductor if it was the right train. A quick nod by the train conductor confirmed we were correct.....we still think he laughed at us as the train rode away because...duh duh duh...an hour later we found out we had gone in the opposite direction we needed to. That will be the last time we trust someone and not double check ourselves to confirm we are on the right train. Well at least the train guy in Brussels got something to laugh about to the rest of his work day...silly Americans haha. We finally found all of our trains and made it to our apartment in Paris 3 hours after we were supposed to meet the landlord. Luckily we found wifi at one of the train stations to tell Norma to contact him and give him our new arrival time.