ginger: (my take on the world)
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Trip recap part 3:

Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam!

Side note: This is the week of the trip that I had the least interest in. I didn't have a whole lot planned for any of the cities, and it did turn out that I was indifferent to Brussels and Amsterdam, while Paris was actively one of my two least favorite stops on this trip.


Sunday 5/26 continued: After I arrived in Gare du Nord, I took the Metro to the hostel and checked in. It's ... not scuzzy, but definitely a bit run down. After I dropped my stuff off, I glanced through some brochures and found a walking tour of Montmartre, so I headed out to do that. Very enjoyable, super cute tour guide, and after I went to a cafe for some dinner. Then I headed back to the hostel and went to bed.

Monday 5/27: I got up and went down for breakfast and ran into the Finnish honeymooners from Dublin! Went down to Ile de la Cite with them to go on a free walking tour from Notre Dame to the Place de la Concorde, then parted ways. I walked down the Champs Elysées, saw the Arc de Triomphe, walked over to the Eiffel Tower, walked along the Seine back to Place de la Concorde, walked through the Tuileries, walked through the Louvre courtyards, walked through Ile de la Cite, and took the Metro to Montmartre to go to the Hard Rock Cafe. Then I made my way back to the hostel and struggled through a solid half hour of conversation with the roommate who speaks not a single word of English, but apparently my execrable French is at least good enough that we seemed to manage to communicate well enough for that half hour. Though a couple of times I had to have her write things down because I read French better than I listen to it.

Tuesday 5/28: Tuesday kind of blew goats. Screaming schoolchildren started running up and down the hall at 7am. I got out to Versailles and had to stand in a 45 minute line to get inside. Then I had to stand in another 20-minute line to get an audio guide. Except that when I got to the front of that queue, I got body-checked out of the way by one Chinese tourist, then smooshed into a wall by six more hard enough to pop the seat-belt buckle on my belt, then pushed down and stepped on by a couple more for funsies. The staff did nothing whatsoever besides standing around looking bored. When I finally extricated myself from that mob (I may or may not have yelled "For the love of god, the castle has been here for three hundred years, you can wait thirty seconds for me to get out of the way, you ravening psychos!") I went into the Royal Apartments, which were so packed with people that there was literally no way to move around. It was so unpleasant that I lumped the ticket cost and left. Except the train station was having mechanical difficulties. So I had to walk twenty minutes in the rain to the next train station. And wait a half hour for the train. I got a lot of reading done. I started to go to the Louvre, but it was closed. Then I looked at the Musee d'Orsay, but the line for that one was like three hours long. So I went to Montmartre and had some cocoa and a little wifi time and then got some dinner and went back to the hostel and packed it in early. Until another roommate showed up and turned on the lights and talked loudly on her phone and dropped things on me from the top bunk and rattled the bed ladder right next to my head. Did I mention that Tuesday kinda blew goats?

Wednesday 5/29: The schoolchildren kicked in again, but I had to get up anyway. Grabbed a bit of breakfast, got my stuff and headed out. Took the Metro to Gallieni, where I caught my bus to ...


Wednesday 5/29 continued: The bus ride was uneventful. My passport is unstamped :( I found the hostel, checked in and dropped my stuff off, then walked down to the Grand Place to do a bit of looking around. I went to the City Museum, poked my head into a couple of chocolate shops, and went to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. (I like HRC. And if you can't be touristy when on vacation .... As of today, I'm now up to having eaten at Hard Rock Cafes in 6 non-US countries, 6 states and DC.) Planning for tomorrow is promising.

Thursday 5/30: I walked down to the train station and headed out toward the EU parliamentary complex. First I toured the Parliamentarium center, then I walked over to the natural history museum which has the LARGEST DINOSAUR COLLECTION IN EUROPE, then I went to the Jubelpark and checked out the museum of military history. Then I had a chocolate covered Belgian waffle and some dinner. Back to the hostel to pack up, read, and go to bed early.

Friday 5/31: breakfast, then heading down to the station to catch my bus for ...


Friday 5/31 continued: got to Amsterdam, found the hostel, took a bit of canal tour, dinner at Hard Rock (7 countries!), planned for Saturday, bed.

Saturday 6/1: best hostel breakfast so far. I'm the only tourist around who isn't here to drink, smoke pot or visit prostitutes. More canal tour. Amsterdam Museum. Walked over to the Anne Frank house. Stood in line for an hour. Was amazed. More canal tour. Walked around the city a bit. Got some dinner. Walked through the Vondelpark. Did some travel planning with Ari. Got my stuff together for tomorrow. Gonna read a bit and go to bed.

Sunday 6/2: breakfast, tram to the train station, train is rerouted and not coming to Amsterdam Centraal at all! Yay for being way early. Train to Duivendrecht to train to Hilversum to catch my train to Berlin.

Next edition: Berlin. (My favorite stop on the trip! So it gets a chapter all to itself.)


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