FIFTY-SECOND MOVEMENT: NETHERLANDS
I woke up today at 10:30, showered, dressed, packed my bags, and checked out of the hotel. I then walked to the Bruges Railway Station and bought a ticket to Amsterdam. Next, I waited until 11:57 for the train to Brussels-Midi Railway Station to arrive. Once it did, I found a seat on board and rode the train in to Brussels.
The train took a little less than an hour to arrive at Brussels-Midi Railway Station (coming in at 12:52). At the station, I disembarked the train and waited around until 13:25, when the Amsterdam-bound train arrived. I climbed aboard the train, found a seat, and waited until 13:45 to depart the station.
At 15:58, the other passengers and I had to exit the train at Rotterdam Central Railway Station and take another train onward to Amsterdam due to an accident on the track involving a person (or so we were told). So I waited on the platform for the train to Amsterdam to arrive. Once the train stopped at the station, I climbed aboard and found a seat on the upper level. The train departed at 16:07 and I was back on my way. As the train rode on, I kept busy by looking out the window and watching the flat green land, flower farms, and windmills pass by.
At 17:15, the train stopped at the Amsterdam Central Railway Station and I exited the train. I then walked out of the station and south to the hostel I had booked a bed with this morning (on the way I could already smell people smoking marijuana – something that I would end up smelling pretty much everywhere I went in this city). I reached the hostel without a hitch and checked in. I then went up to the dorm room, put my bags away, and typed out some journal entries. After 19:30, I put away my laptop, grabbed my umbrella (after discovering it was raining outside), and exited the hostel in search of food. As I wandered around the vicinity of the hostel, I was surprised to discover that I way lodging in the red light district (or one of them anyway). Now that the sky had darkened, the red lights came on for some of the windows facing the streets and the women in underwear came out to entice lonely men during their window shopping sprees. I was also surprised to see so many old and worn prostitutes through the windows; I guess I imagined healthier specimens in my fantasies (I suppose the best don’t need to sit in front of a window and are busily employed). Oh well. I kept on in search of food and walked all around the surrounding area before I settled on a restaurant that serves traditional Dutch cuisine. For dinner I had beer, Dutch pea soup, bread, salad, steamed vegetables (peas, carrots, and beets), fried potato wedges, and grilled minced beef with sautéed onions. After that very fine meal, I walked back to the hostel. On my way back, I bought water, an aloe vera drink, a Monster energy drink, and some cookies to snack on. I also walked around some more for curiosity’s sake to see the type of women on display this evening. Once I made it back to the hostel, I grabbed my laptop, went downstairs to the common/dining area, and typed out journal entries and went through the photographs I had taken in Belgium. After working late, I eventually went to bed after 03:00.