Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goodbye London Hello Amsterdam

 As luck would have it, I was able to skype my family on Christmas Eve, however it was quite a frustrating process as the connection kept cutting out every few minutes. I got extremely homesick as well as a result, something that I dont think has ever happened to me before.

Lauren and I on Christmas Day
Christmas Day was an enjoyable laid back day in Shoreham. We did a fair bit of walking (in the cold), and Lauren and I attempted to go to a service in the morning but somehow managed to muddle up the times and walked in half way through... oops!!!

Out for a Chrismas walk with Uncle Arthur
On Sunday (Boxing Day) we went into Brighton and did a little bit of exploring there. Again attempted to go to a particular church, the one that the band delirious goes to, except didn't manage to find it.

Some other final thoughts from England: I have discovered the secret as to why there is no sand at the beaches in england!! They use all the sand to make the roads and paths not so slippery.

I had the song 'fare well to old england forever.... cos we're bound for botany bay' stuck in my head all day yesterday morning on my way to the airport!!! Not that that is entirely true as I'm coming back to England at some point next  year. I just dont know when.

I've been catching alot of public transport lately and I have found it interesting just watching and observing things as I pass by. I was in Brighton on Sunday, catching the bus back to Shoreham and it stopped outside a little cafe that was closed, with the windows covered in get well cards for Tony. It made me think about what sort of impact we have upon other people. This man Tony,  (I assumed so) runs/owns the cafe and the community there really value him. As the bus passed by, there was a note on the front door of the cafe with details about Tony's funeral, with bunches of flowers on the ground. . I would say that comes down to his character. Maybe a morbid topic, but I hope that my life impacts people in a positive way like that.

I’m now in the process of working my way towards Dubai (arriving tomorrow night). I am currently on the plane to Prague, having spent the last 24 hours in Amsterdam. When I originally booked my tickets, the cheapest option of getting to Prague was via Amsterdam with a 6 hour layover. I thought to myself, I wonder if I can extend the layover at all, and turns out that I could with no difference in the price which meant I had much more time to explore the city.

Bicycles everywhere!
I was staying (couch surfing) with a lovely Dutch girl named Yara living in Harlaam, a town about 15minutes from Amsterdam. When I arrived at Schipol airport, I dropped my pack in a locker (those things are brilliant!!) and caught the train into Amsterdam Centraal. The train system there is slightly confusing. I got onto the wrong platform a few times, but luckily everyone speaks English and are more than willing to help.
Once in Amsterdam I started walking. I didn’t really have any plans or things that I specifically wanted to see, so I just wandered around the streets with no particular direction observing and taking pictures! There is still quite a lot of snow around and the majority of the canals are frozen over. It’s amusing to watch the ducks and the swans where the ice is, seeing them waddle around on top.
Even without looking for it I stumbled across the red light district. Lots of people wandering around there.  Quite sad really, not an industry you would want anyone to have to fall into for whatever reason.

Cheese shop

About 3pm I caught a train (after some confusion) to Haarlam and then did some more wandering around there for another 2 hours. There is a windmill there, so I got to see my first windmill (its not turned on at the moment though), so that was pretty cool. Plenty of nice buildings and a few impressive churches.  I’ve noticed that the church bells here have a really different sound to the bells you hear in England, different patterns. Very pretty sound. I like it.

Shrek inspiration tree

I even saw a tree that I swear was the inspiration for the talking trees in Shrek 3!!

Around 5pm I was picked up by Yara and went back to her apartment. We got along straight away and I really enjoyed her company. She is very passionate about her country and was keen for me to try and experience different things, and to show me around as best as able. We went for dinner with another friend of hers to a Mexican restaurant and then after that went to a pub where we met up with another friend of theirs with the intention to have some hot drinks but there was no water! Apparently the main water was turned off somewhere over the whole city and no one knew why. When we got home later we discovered that Yara also had no water, but thankfully it came on a couple hours later. I had a really enjoyable evening with them and felt very welcomed and at home.

No comments:

Post a Comment