Haarlem Travel Blog› entry 5 of 23 › view all entries
May 30th, 2007 – by: SpartanAnna
Once we were on the ground, I was terrified. Dad and I couldn't figure anything out. Somehow we needed to get from the airport to the tiny town of Haarlem. But we couldn't understand the instructions for buying a bus ticket and we had no idea where to do so. Finally we figured out that we should go to the book store, but they were sold out. They recommended we go to the market. So we walked outside, looking for the market. Turns out the market is inside the airport. So, we found the market, but the bus tickets were in a vending machine and we didn't know which ones to buy. So, back to information... but they didn't know. So we just took a guess... and ended up getting it rich. But we didn't know that until the second we stepped foot on the bus and the driver said we were set to go.
Within 2 seconds of stepping on the bus, I learned the number one rule of traveling - pack lightly. I am glad to be bringing some school supplies to Africa, but seriously... this massive backpack AND my sleeping bag AND my carry on -- its just not cutting it. We almost knocked out 15 people on the bus just trying to make our way from the front to the back. Unbelievable. I'm coming more and more jealous of any fellow backpackers I see who have bags even the slightest bit smaller than mine. Anyway, after about a half hour bus ride, we finally made it to Haarlem. It is a very cute town. I'm amazed by the number of canals it has. Lovely - you know I love water of any kind. Our hotel is very cute as well.
After we dropped off our bags at the hotel (AMEN!) we went to Amsterdam on the train. Again, the whole not speaking Dutch thing was a challenge and we didn't exactly know where or how to buy tickets... or where to get off the train. Again, we guessed at it worked out in the end. Although I was a bit annoyed that we spent something like 14 Euros on our train tickets and they were never even checked! In Amsterdam we took a walking canal tour. We were both a little tired but we were kept alert by snapping pictures. Got some good ones, I think.
Dad and I were feeling a little bit guilty that we weren't doing anything like visiting museums or Anne Frank's house, but we soon decided that Amsterdam is a city to just relax and experience. It is so beautiful and different, even just sitting is enjoyable. So thats what we did - sat and walked and sat some more. We started up on our canal walk again but I guess the beers were getting to me because I was more tired than ever. I began imagining myself collapsing into a deep sleep and rolling into a canal. "Would I ruin my shoes? My new camera? That would suck.
We saw a huge set of stairs in the distance on a building called NEMO (still don't know what that stands for. A nautical museum of some sort I think...) So we climbed the stairs and got a nice view of the city. We had some Cokes and watched all the little kids playing in this fountain at the top of the stairs. Of course we took some jump photography, and got some weird looks, but it was enough to get our blood flowing and we thought we felt a little more energized. But we were wrong... not five minutes later, Dad fell asleep while holding his cup of Coke. The only thing that kept him from spilling it all over himself was that I woke up from my own brief nap in time to hit him.
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