Dave and I said our goodbyes this morning and he headed off back home. It's been good having him around, we did pretty well and not even a minor spat...too easy. It's good having someone with your accent and sense of humour too, you don't have to translate. I was thinking about the whole trip and Japan does seem a lifetime ago. Only today did I look at the map and see where I had been to in Europe, I have zig-zagged around and I didn't really realise how much territory I've covered. No regrets.
I was early for my train to Amsterdam and took up my 1st class seat very happily. I had bought the new Arctict Monkeys album on iTunes the night before so I listened to that and a few other albums on the 4 hour train trip. I've learnt by now to pack a few beers on the train so 4 hours doesn't seem very long at all.
My initial reaction to Amsterdam was a bit negative, all the neon signs and bikes flying everywhere are a bit offputting and there are a lot of tourists slowing things up. My hostel wasn't too far to walk and they were showing the Ashes so it was a good start. Watched about an hour of that with a few Becks and then headed out for a walk with my Scottish roommate Matthew.
We went down to the main square and checked out some of the red light district. If you don't know, they have hundreds of sex shops and heaps prostitutes in single neon lit street windows all over the place. It's a bit offputting at first because it's different but you get used to them pretty quickly. Each window is actually a door with a curtain and a little room behind if you feel inclined. They're quite interactive, sometimes they open the door and talk to you or they tap the glass to get your attention.
I was exhausted so I went back to the hostel for a sleep. I had my first 10 second "where the fuck am I?" freak out moment when I woke up halfway through.
I slept until our new roommate Mike from Melbourne turned up and we swapped a few travel stories. I need to go on a boat trip in Croatia. The red light district is only 2 mins walk away and Mark hadn't seen it before, even though be'd been to Amsterdam before. So we wandered around there for a bit, this time at night. It's actually not that seedy at all, it's situated on the canal and it can be quite nice in spots. The age groups walking around there are interesting too, age 15-80 and a lot of couples.
Had my first Doner Kebab on this trip (I lasted a while) and then sat at on the canal at a pub until it closed at 1am. My body was telling me that I shouldn't drink much tonight and that got me wondering when the last day without at least 2 beers was. I haven't been through the blog to check, but I can't remember. A catchup week in London isn't going to help either, but I'm looking forward to it.