The pre-pre-meet-up pre-meet-up
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
For most people, one of the most logistically challenging aspect of any meet-up is perhaps the most important...How do I get there?
Due to the strict border controls and test requirements for crossing the frontier between the Dutch-speaking provinces of the Netherlands and the Frisian-speaking provice to the north, I had volunteered to offer my translation services to try to smuggle a couple English, Spanish and perhaps Danish speaking counterparts up to Die Haadstêd...Leeuwarden. This would be a rough and dangerous journey, so it was felt that the participants deserved a few hours of fun in Amsterdam before we started off.
I made the drive from Eindhoven to Amsterdam, leaving bright and early expecting the normal Friday-morning Netherlands traffic jam (distinguishable from the Monday-Thursday traffic jams only in that it's Friday so much more frustrating). I was pleasently surprised to see that the holiday season in the Netherlands (read...month in the summer where the entire Dutch population migrates briefly to France, Germany or Italy with their caravans) rendered the A2 almost completely empty. I made the drive to 020 stadium transferium in under an hour and was at Central station around 9:30 (even with the detour due to the Metro being not running between Amstel Station and Central Station).
I had expected to hear from the Danish adventurer (Mickey) by then, but his silence was all we had. Perhaps the daunting adventure in store had given him cold feet? We shall see. Quim informed me that he had just landed and would be making the trip to Central station, so I decided to wait nearby, cooling my heels at one of the many internet stops off Damrak checking to see if there were any important updates.
While awaiting the arrival of Quim I received the phone call of our Frisian organizer, the leader of this incursion, Wendy informing me that she had lost her license, but after some careful planning, she decided to try to talk to the local authorities for temporary permission, but all will work out there in the end.
Quim arrived, and I went back through the station to the North exit where he was and met up with him and a traveller named Andre from Portugal who he had met on the train and would be joining us for the couple hours in Amsterdam before he had to continue on his flight to Hong Kong and Bali. Some information was exchanged, and Andre will soon be joining our ranks on TravBuddy. +1 Ambassador point for Yokim! At that point, it was close to 10:45 and Matt from England was arriving at 10:15, so a quick check revealed he was already on the train to Central, so we hung at the train station until Matt arrived and put his bag into storage so we could begin the walk...
Well, after approximately 1-nanosecond of discussion, it was pointed that the first sight on the agenda of the walking tour was a stroll through the Red Light District, so off we went.
At this hour, things were quiet. It was only 11AM on a Friday morning, and the window shopping was a little sparse. Andre still managed to fall in love around 4 times...though amazingly not at all behind the church. The most intersting part was when we made it back over to the Heumarkt and my statement on the street with Asian markets and restaurants was misinterpreted to mean an Asian Red Light District which almost sent the masses running.
Managed to pull the masses back together and then we started the (yawn) sightseeing part of the journey...walking up to the Rembrandt house museum (not in...we only had a shirt time before we had to be back at the train station), Waterlooplein with the massive flea market and up into Rembrandtplein. We stopped there for lunch where Andre fell in love with the waitress (who had a thing against smiling), almost deciding to skip his trip to stay, but promising a speedy return in a month.
Time flew during lunch, and next thing we knew it was already 1:30 and we had to get Andre back to the station for the train toSchipol for his flight and we had to hop on our own train for our run on the border. We still hadn't heard from Mickey however, so we were a little concerned, but what could we do...he had my number, but I didn't have his...nothing more to do but pack Quim and Matt into the car and begin the trek to the border...