Week 49: A Day in Amsterdam

I left Berlin at 12:30 in the morning.  This was my first experience using a sleeper car on the train.  I found my car and room, but it was already locked.  People who had gotten on earlier were already in bed and asleep.  I tried to knock timidly to no avail and then knocked more thoroughly.  Suddenly a hand appeared from one of the beds wrestling with the latch and waving me in speechlessly.  The door to the room listed the bed assigned to each person so I quietly slid into my bed and tested to see if I could fully extend my 6’5 body… nope.  I tucked my bags out of the way of everyone else and put on my blinder.  As I slept through Germany, I came as close as I would to Twistringen, where my mom’s mom’s mom was born, Dinklage, where my mom’s mom’s father was born, and Hohenwestedt, where my mom’s father’s father was born.  I went to sleep thinking of my heritage with a weird feeling of home wishing that I had more time to stop and explore my family’s history.  I awoke with an hour left to Amsterdam.

The overnight train from Berlin to Amsterdam:
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The Royal Palace
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The Royal Palace – Dam Square in the late-17th century: painting by Gerrit Adriaenszoon Berckheyde:
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I only spent a day walking around Amsterdam before I flew on to Edinburgh so I felt the least amount of connection with it.  I walked from the historic train station to the Royal Palace where I sat for a while reading and people watching.  There were 30 or more people who were standing dressed as a princess, a monster, and everything else you can think of.  It was interesting and obviously tourist central.  I then decided to walk down past the Red Light District and follow the canals around until I eventually made my way back to the train station after a baguette.  I truly missed having a local person with whom I was staying to show me around and ground me to the area as I had been blessed with in every other town I had visited.  I could tell that I was tired and frustrated with only a day in Amsterdam.  I hopped on the train from Amsterdam to the airport and struck up a good conversation with a young man from the southern part of the Netherlands.  My time in Holland came and went too quickly.

The bags looking back up the street toward the train station:
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Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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