After living almost one year in Berlin, Germany without actually traveling throughout Europe to see other countries, I finally earned some time off — in the form of ‘Easter Holiday’ during the month of April, which gives us a good 4 day weekend to thoroughly enjoy any city for a nice run of the town during the time of Holy grace for others. I decided on spending the most random weekend of my adult life in Amsterdam, NL…
Initially, I was planning to visit my mom, whom was visiting her sister (my aunt) in London, England for the month of April. Though, that plan ended up not happening because of time constraints and cost of travel on such a short notice to London. So, I decided to tell my mom I love her but wouldn’t be making it to London for the weekend due to cost, therein deciding to make a move for something on the cheap/low which would be an entertaining weekend any young man could and would brag to his friends about.
Basically, I only had Amsterdam on my mind other than London and because of cost difference I went ahead and booked a flight to Amsterdam for the weekend.
I’m a simple man, it’s one or the other, since my primary choice was out of reach I decided to go for the alternative which proved to be fairly reasonable with my planned activities.
With Amsterdam selected as my choice destination and the plane ticket purchased, it was a matter of where to stay and what to do in the city. I asked with some friends in the office and many suggested quite a few different places and activities to do while in the city … All of those went over my head, I guess I was too focused on doing whatever I wanted anyways and the outside input made me feel too constrained to performing the actions which others wanted me to ; Call me a ‘rebel w/o a cause’ :-/
Cool! Suggestions in mind, Hotel needed, and Ticket in hand, I’m in for a rough weekend or an excellent weekend. It’s all about how you look into these things, I’m fairly optimistic that things will work out at the end of the day for people.
Mentioning hotels, I only booked a hotel for the first nights stay and would wing it for the other two nights I would be in the city… Bad move? In anyones book, yes. In my book, sort of um.. no? I had a plan. First night stay in a nice hotel in the city, the next two nights find some youth hostels in the area and stay there on the cheap for the night which would definitely not confine me to one stationary hotel, thus keeping my ass inside for the entire time doing nothing. This way of working would definitely keep me on my feet and out of a hotel as much as possible. While, hopefully, keeping me from sleeping in the streets of Holland and with how the area was I wouldn’t have minded sleeping on the streets anyways 😛
As it turns out, I booked my first hotel outside of the city, in a place called Zwanenburg at Zwanenburg Hotel Amsterdam. Okay, so, off to a fairly bad start it’s whatever, I’ll just make certain that my next hotel is in the city though I’d really like to spend my first night at the heart of the city living it up enjoy the night life all throughout. No dice, the weather was poor (raining like hell and cold) and the train ride was said to be like 20 minutes or so into the city not including the ride from the hotel to the train station. This should go without saying, that I spent the first night in the hotel outside of the city, to spare myself a very large screwup should I get lost in the city center.
Ahhhhh… A good nights rest and I wake up earlier than any other day I can clearly remember. Head out to the local market to get some toothpaste and other toiletries to tide me over the short stay in the city and prep to get the fuck outta Zwanenburg, wherever the shit that place is.
After I reupped on my toiletries and did my thang in the hotel, I headed out to the train station by way of bus. I’ve become bit of an avid public transportation buff after living in Europe for such a while, far from my haydays of constantly driving my car everywhere back in Miami.
Finally! Into the heart of the city, the belly of the beat, Amsterdam city center for sure! First stop was the biggest brightest building in my face ‘Tourist Center’, that’s righttttt I’m for sure a motherfucking tourist here to demolish the city like I do others in my first days/weeks of stay 😉
The tourist center was like a small city in itself buzzing like a nest of ants hustling and bustling for information about the city and tours and hotels (my reason for being there) and other miscellany things that tourists need, which I’m still not certain what that is — Hotel, Food, and Transportation, what else do you want? I spent a few seconds looking like a lost kid in a Macy’s, I really don’t belong here but I know what I’m looking for and I want it fast so I can be on my way even faster. Finally, one of the associates at the center acknowledges my presence and look of stupor, then asks what I’m looking for, to which I reply ‘I need a hotel, please.’ and their response is to drag me to a self service machine to look for some places to stay. Cool, I got it from here and the associate quickly disappears.
A few minutes of searching through available places of accommodation and I come across a place that sits within my meager budget and is still located within the city center, thank christ! I book the hotel and neglect to write the address, big fucking mistake on my part because the line is out the door and probably doing laps around the building – I kindly wait for a gap in between the teller and next frustratingly lost tourist to make my mark of Jamaican/American justice in foreign territory to find out the address to my hotel. *Keynote when pulling such a maneuver… Never Look Back!
Information in hand and health in tact after such a jerk move, I head on the worlds worst mission of lost worlds with some of the poorest directions ever verbalized to me, it doesn’t help I have an poor attention span and even poorer short term memory.
I work quickly with the knowledge fresh in mind to get to the nearest train station and head in the direction I was given. Luckily, I made it near to my destination and had the address on hand so with this life saving program that was gifted to me by a good friend I plugged in the address to my iGo8 phone map and headed to the hotel. A few lost streets later and I was finally at my destination 😀
This is when things get really sketchy… So, bare with me as I recap what happened after I booked into my second hotel up through my point of departure back to Berlin…
When I get to the hotel, it was actually that my room was in ANOTHER BUILDING! that was about 4-5 blocks away from where the sales desk/check-in office was. The dude proceeds to tell me, ‘Okay, its about 5 minutes away walking from here.’ To which I respond, ‘Cool, no problem. Lets go there.’ 10 minutes later. ‘Hey! I thought you said it was like 5 minutes away.’ He says, ‘Yes, yes, its near we are almost there.’ 5 more minutes walking and we reach the room. I was dying carrying all my stuff with me.
The room is in the basement of this building with a shared bathroom with two other rooms I believe. I’m not sure if people were in the other rooms or not, I just dropped off my things and went away for the rest of the day/night into the city.
The haze beings… I head into the city, taking random pictures of shit as I always do on my tourist tip. Get into the city center and was like, yo… this. place. fucking. rocks!
I spend the next few hours being touristy, blah blah blah. Day turns to night and I find myself wandering the ‘Red Light District’, I was like WHOA! See aforementioned line of rocking. I navigate the seedy streets of this place with thousands of other tourists, until I finally come across a bar which seemed pretty cool and the dude outside seemed to be peddling something;
Guy: “Hey, are you here for the pub crawl?”
Me: “Sure, how do i join?”
Guy: “How did you hear about us?”
Me: “I was just walking by and saw you here and the people inside and thought it looked cool.”
Guy: “But, who sent you?”
Me: “No one… I was just wandering around and saw you there and…”
Guy: “Ah, then where are you coming from?”
Me: “That place with the red lights.”
Guy: “Ok… So, do you want to join the pub crawl? Do you know what it is?”
Me: “Yea, sure, I’ll join. You go to different bars and stuff, right?”
Guy: “Yea! You’ll love it! It’s 10 Euro for…” [he goes on to peddle some more but I was already sold]
10 euro paid and I’m inside solo dolo with a free pub crawl shirt.
Made friends with a few people. Made an ass of myself with a few women [see post here.] — I think this night can be an entire story in itself, actually. Let’s see if I can do it, I probably won’t but maybe I will.
Anywho, I spent the night drinking heavily, as if my liver didn’t exist and it probably doesn’t after that night… Needless to say, I don’t remember how I got back to the hotel, the only thing I remember is of the next day and it goes something like this …
I wake up, feeling like I’m stuck in an ever revolving room that is falling down an elevator shaft and I’m stuck in place, else, I move, I fall over. Somehow I stumble to the bathroom and begin to vomit violently until I begin dry heaving. I then proceed to hug the toilet seat hanging on begging for deal life from the all merciful god above, he spares me a moment but just enough to get up and stick my head under the sink to drink water from the tap. Phew! Now, I’m still feeling queezy, though not like I’m in the elevator anymore it’s as if I’ve disembarked but still feel like the room is spinning. I stagger back to the room and get some clothes to take a shower, get back to the bathroom to find the door is closed/locked. OMFG! This can’t be happening now, I’m on the verge of a sinister death brought upon by my own merciless habit of alcohol abuse the night prior. Just as I’m weaving a path back to the room, the door opens and a female emerges and apologizes then lets me use the bathroom to which I say thanks in a short staggered breath. Back in the bathroom, back in the toilet, up comes the water. Hahaha, at this point I’m just laughing it off. Bad move, I just angered the gods as whilst I was showering my legs buckled and I found myself sitting in the shower like a scene from a dramatic movie, I felt like a bitch at this point but wouldn’t give up. I struggled to shower and got back to the room and REALLY struggled to walk that 4-5 blocks back to the sales office to check out that morning.
After I checked out, I went and bought something to ease my stomach. Not so good choice, though I held it down, I didn’t finish the plethora of food that I purchased. No matter, it was the last night and I needed to book my final hotel of choice to stay for my final eve in Amsterdam. Damn I was feeling shitty this morning, probably the worst ever in my life.
I make it back to the tourist center, not a pretty sight in my hung over state. It’s time, I think to myself with luggage in tow. I swagger around one of the computer stations in which the lady was so kind to point out to me previously and begin to search for hotels to stay in for the final night. After searching for a few minutes, I notice that the prices have skyrocketed for this final night and I’d be paying something astronomical and would have been better off in one place all the nights but, life lesson immediately learned, I bit the bullet and booked the cheapest I could find.
Not all but 30 seconds after I booked/finalized the hotel, I feel some vomit coming up my throat RAPIDLY! straight to my mouth. Now, at this point one things of spewing it wherever possible, though this morning my throat/mouth muscles were feeling generous and stopped the whole lot right in my mouth. There I am, standing in front of this machine with my confirmation of booked hotel with credit card details blaring alongside the location and everything else relating to my reservation on this machine plus a mouth full of vomit. I glance over my shoulder and peer an old man looking at me with frustration (i think or it could have been disgust, i dunno, i didn’t care to question his look at that point) and think to myself, should i spew this all over the isolated corner of the place and look like a child/asshole, then run out of here screaming and leave behind my next station of hotel details OR should I suck it up (literally) and swallow this lot of vomit then move on with life as if this never happened… I swallowed good and hard… Now, this immediately made me want to spew it back up but I knew I had to hold out for another minute or two to gather the hotel location/details or be fucked later so, this I did and jetted out of that place asap. None the sooner, I felt the vomit coming back up again and now I was outside again it was crowded and again I vomited into my mouth but held it there. I ran around like a squirrel looking for a place to jettison this stuff, finally I found a corner of solidarity and let loose the proverbial juice.
Other than that, the rest of the trip was plain jane. Else my embarrassing comment of ‘Is that Danish you’re speaking’, to which the hotel clerk woman replied ‘You know you’re in Holland, right?’ and I knew what I wanted to say initially but totally fucked up and just replied ‘Ah damn man, Dutch! I meant Dutch! I’m sorry!!!’ and she still rode me hard on that screw up. Cool lady, though 😉