Meri's pretty hardy.
Trip Start Jun 22, 2009
13Trip End Jul 20, 2009
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Where I stayed
St. Christopher's Paris
Sadly, the time came to leave London. It wasn't a terrible train ride to Edinburgh, we all got seats together, which happened to be handicapped but that just meant there was plenty of room to get around, which was fortunate. What was unfortunate was that we were right beside the bathroom. On a train which made sharp turns with no prior indication. Which meant it smelled terrible. Almost as bad as the expensive train ride, but I'll get to that later.
So we arrived in Edinburgh and made our was to the hostel, High Street Hostel, by cutting through to High Street, or the Royal Mile, through Fleshmarket Close. That's not very important to the story, I just think it's a cool name. In a morbid way.Our first hostel in Edinburgh was adorable, a six bed dorm even though we paid for a 20 bed dorm. Very fortunate. Unfortunately, the shower didn't drain so my towel was wet and stinky for two days. The next day we toured the castle, very cool and worth the money it cost. Then we went on a free walking tour. If you're planning to visit any major European city soon, take the free tour! It's one of those things that would be worth it even if you paid for it, so the fact that it's free makes it even better. The temperature in Edinburgh was in the mid fifties and it was sprinkling and foggy all day. Huge change for us GA kids who are used to 105 degrees and scorching. We found a pub that had great deals for people staying at hostels. We got Yorkshire pudding for 3.95 pounds. Great deal. That night we changed hostels to Castle Rock hostel. Also paid for a 20 person room and got one smaller than that. Good deals.Edinburgh is a wonderful, beautiful city. So much history, Scots are very proud people. Hung around in Edinburgh again that night, nothing crazy, and took a train back to London the next morning to catch our flight to Amsterdam. Much confusion about which train to take to get to Gatwick, because of closed lines. Spent every last pence we had to eat and take the tube to the right station. We've eaten a lot of bread so far.
Arrived in Amsterdam and made the long hike to our hostel to avoid paying for a tram. We are broke, if no one has figured that out by now. Long way, but a beautiful city. About halfway there an American family stops us to talk. A youngish guy hands us a bag of weed and tells us to have a good night. At this point I'm sure you're thinking that it's very sketchy. Actually, it was quite the opposite. His wife and her mom were there with them and the whole family was very nice. He said they were leaving too early the next morning to finish what they had, so he gave it to us. We were surprised to say the least.
Got to our hostel, Stayokay Vondlepark. Nice place, nice area. We put our stuff down and went to get food. Found a place called Wok to Walk. SO GOOD. Noodles and vegetables and teryaki and goodness. Walked back home, after we made a group decision not to go to the red light district at night. I say we missed all the good hookers, but oh well. Such is life. We went back to the hostel, which looked like it was decorated by IKEA. Nice place, huge windows. Which meant, with the lack of ac, lots of heat. The next day we toured the Anne Frank house. Heartbreaking and historically significant. Otto Frank. Sad man.
We missed the free walking tour that day, but we walked around the city on our own. We saw the homomonument, which literally is a monument to gay rights. Also Dam Square and the Red Light district. So many workin' girls, chillin' in windows. Dir-ty.
The city was gorgeous, with all the canals and the cute trams going throughout. Saw the floating flower market, the only one in the world. Bought a strippenkaarten, a tram ticket. Strange, but effective for traveling from the hostel to the train station.
Once we got to the train station, we waited in a long ass line to get our EuRail passes validated and get the required reservations for the train to Paris from Amsterdam. Found out there's a 35 euro surcharge because the train goes straight to Paris and it's high speed, only four hours. The other, free train we could take would have been 16 hours with six stops. Not happening. So we paid the money, considerably more than we were planning on, and waited two hours since we just missed the train before that one. The ride was long, even though it was only four hours. and people missed the memo on deodorant. The stench was almost unbearable. So gross, and so many blazed people in the car with us. And one French guy who talked more than anyone I've ever met in all the world.
We got to Paris finally and cleared our nostrils. Got to the hostel, St. Christopher's like we stayed in in London. Showed out London hostel key and got a ten percent discount. Very fortunate. The hostel is brand new, finished in March of this year. Very clean, nice rooms with comfy pod beds, each of which has two outlets and a reading light inside. Pod beds because there's a curtain you can close on each bed. So nice to shut out the light that streams in at 5 a.m. Went to get kebab stand food, so delicious. Meri wouldn't speak French to the guy so she, the vegetarian, got a cheeseburger instead of a grilled cheese. Went to sleep, got up for the free tour today.
Tour took us all over Paris and was nearly four hours of walking. It was worth it, but our little feet are hurting. Then we came back here to chill and went out again for dinner and to see the Eiffel Tower at night. Got pasta and pizza, so good, and took the metro to the tower. Saw it light up all beautifully at 11 p.m. Paris time and took lots of pictures. Obviously I got ice cream. Came back to the hostel, which was 1,000 degrees due again to the lack of ac.
Tomorrow we're going inside Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower and going to Montmartre to hang out. Finishing up Paris and taking a 9 p.m. train to Barcelona. Hopefully it won't be another 35 euro or I won't eat for awhile. Yeah right, like that's going to happen. It's a 10 hour ride, so hopefully we won't go crazy and eat each other. We'll take sleeping pills and pass out in uncomfortable positions. Then a full day of Barcelona before we can shower again. We're broke and dirty, a good combination for begging if need be.
I know this is SO LONG. If you got to the bottom, thanks, I hope it won't be so long between posts from not on. At some point, I'll inform everyone of the things that have been invaluable to us on this trip. Thanks again for reading.
Oh! As for the title, Meri keeps trying to tell us that she's hearty and healthy. As she complains about every joint in her body hurting and her constant need of ibuprofen. Yeah, she's the heartiest one of all of us.