Beginning note: this post is long over due, I am now in New York and headed home for Christmas in less than a week. I have remembered the commitment I made to myself a month ago when I entered a whole new adventure, and would like to post the words I gathered when I was alone in a different country! So if your looking for something to do for the next 10-15 minutes grab some tea and enjoy this entry I wrote back when I was Berlin. I hope to write more this coming month and new year, but for now to finish what I’ve started..
Here we are, the final round of Amsterdam. I almost don’t want to write about it because things that I was excited about turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. But here we are. So hey, to whoever is reading this.
You know how life puts the right people in your life just at the best moments? Yeah well life did that for me on my third to last day. Friday evening, I was sitting in the lounge area of the hostel where I spent most of the evenings after dark, at the corner table with my tea and notebook in hand drawing and writing. Anyways, for some odd reason I didn’t have my headphones in like I usually do and ended up catching the end of two girls conversation. They were explaining to another girl how they were on their “gap year” trip. That instantly made me excited, maybe I could actually meet some people my age who have something in common.
Before I knew it they had left before I got the chance to introduce myself, but I couldn’t help but pray I’d run into them again. I continued on with my night, got changed into my sweats and hoodie (the one look I wore pretty much every night this whole trip). Then went the shower room to wash my face and carry on my regular night routine, but just as I was walking out of the room one of the girls were just heading towards the “backyard” space. I knew this was my chance so awkwardly I said hi and mentioned how I overheard they were on a gap trip and mentioned how I was doing the same. In the back of my mind I was praying I didn’t mistake her for someone else, and that she wouldn’t think I was some sort of eves dropper. But to my relief she was completely friendly and we got to talking and then one of those surreal things happened where we both realized we completely overlapped trips.
Her and her friend were going to Berlin and Prague the same time as I was, how completely weird and random was that? Out of all places too, berlin and Prague both being the same destinations we had in common. And the best part of it all was that they spoke English, (trust me it’s nice after not hearing anyone in the hostel speak English for a while especially if you’re the type to get lonely or somewhat homesick). We ended the hallway conversation about how we should meet up at some point that weekend, and we did just that!
Saturday, I sort of kept my day low-key as I wasn’t sure what to do that day, I decided to start off by going to get breakfast from the vendor of baked goods a block away from my hostel but as I got there It seemed to still be closed and the day was much warmer than anticipated so I headed back to the hostel to take off my heavy layers of sweaters and thermal coats, and lighten the load of my backpack and take out a few of the many books I managed to fit in my backpack. I ended up in the common area journaling as always and then ended up getting a message from the two girls inviting me out to go shopping and to a coffee shop with them, without hesitating I said yes. For the rest of the evening was truly one of the most exciting times of the wee. We went through the central shopping district full of stores that I wish Canada had (plenty were the same brands, but a few were really cool stores similar to the style Urban Outfitters and Topshop carries).
Afterwards we went to a coffee shop and sat at the bar and fell right into a conversation I would have never thought to have with 2 girls I had just met. We all ended up being able to talk for a while about life and just really connect which was amazing. Afterwards we decided to head back to the hostel to get change for going out again in the evening. It was already 8pm but the night was nearly beginning. After taking a quick rest at the hostel and getting change, and giving Lucis a quick call before heading out, we went back to the city center where we searched for the best clubs and bars. The first one we ended up in was a karaoke bar full of locals singing old classics with their group of friends, however it was a much older crowd so after finishing our first beer we headed out still searching for a place that was a younger and livelier crowd. Well I think about 25 minutes later we found a couple good suspects, and settled on one that had dancing, a bar and what seemed to be a quite fun and young environment. From there we danced, sang and spent hours having fun… that was until we realized we had about 12 minutesto catch the last train. We decided to make a run for it in attempts to catch the train which was not exactly right around the corner.
There was this moment where everything felt so surreal, here I was running down the damp dark streets of Amsterdam, half deaf from the music being played at the club, laughing with these two girls from London that I just so happened to meet and become friends with in a foreign city miles and miles away from home. Sure, call me cheesy, but this felt like some scene from one of Elizabeth Gilberts books. In that moment, I knew this trip was one of the best decisions I made, and was only the beginning of many more memories to be made… or so I hoped. Well we caught the last train with minutes to spare and I fell asleep so fast that night.
Sunday, the last day before leaving one of the best cities I’ve ever visited. After trying to wake up the next morning and failing and sleeping in longer than anticipated I went to the shopping district again with the two girls where we all picked up some postcards for back home, as well as getting fries in a cone (it’s just something you gotta try when going to Amsterdam). We also went to the Anne Frank House, though we knew we were not going to be able to get in but we did just stand outside of it mesmerised by the history and story that came with that building.
Later that afternoon I got us to a Stroop Waffle house/store where we got freshly made Stroop Waffles dipped in chocolate and covered in toppings like marshmallows, caramel, or cookies. After stopping by a few thrift stores and watching a silent disco happen in the middle of the street we decided it was time to head back where we would make dinner together and watch a movie! It was Canadian thanksgiving after all and It was tons of fun spending it there at the hostel cooking up veggies, baked apples, pasta with not enough sauce, and a shared bottle of cider. Afterwards we said our goodbyes that weren’t all that sad as we were planning to meet up in berlin afterwards (at least that’s what I thought). I got to packing, and after I minor panic of thinking I’d lost all my money for Prague and calling both my parents and lucis with red damp eyes, I managed to get everything together and ready for the following morning where I’d get up early and walk to the train station with my suitcase and backpack and head down to the central where I’d catch my train to Germany.
The following day I got to the train station and onto what seemed to be the right train. Frankly I was disappointed and confused as there were no workers in sight. Everyone just boards the train and shuffles around until they find your seat and then the train just takes off without anyone checking your ticket or any intercom saying where you are going, you just have to hope you got yourself on the right one. Long story short, I did. But half way through the long train ride a mob of teenagers came on board and blasted music, we’re screaming and crawling over the chairs and starting physical fights in the alley between rows of seats. You’d think i’d be exaggerating this and making it seem more than it was, but it truly was the craziest thing I’ve seen. I don’t take many trains so maybe I just didn’t realize how relaxed they are with the rules. I’m use to planes when it comes to traveling between countries where everyone sits in their seat and is respectful to the ones around them, clearly this is not what happens on trains.
There was one moment in particular where I couldn’t help but laugh, put at some point either a train assistant or whatever you call them was walking up and down the aisle and my food was on my seat in a crisscross position and the “assistant” just looked at me up and down as if he saw the ugliest creature there was so I laughed and took my foot down and he walked away. Now it was one of those moments you had to see to understand, but the reason I couldn’t help but laugh is the fact that there were kids literally blasting music on their speakers and laying on top of each other over the seats everywhere and I was the one in trouble. This probably sounds either really confusing or over embellished but like I said it was one of those things you just had to see to understand.
In the end, I made it to Berlin, after a taxi driver spending the first 20 minutes driving in circles because they didn’t have proper working GPS system and didn’t know how to get to where I was staying. Eventually I made it to where I was staying 40 minutes later (though it should have been 20).
I’m going to stop here. For those who even made it this far and read all the way though, thank you and I hope it somewhat made sense. I will write about Berlin in my next entry, which I am pretty sure I’ll be able to fit this whole week into one entry as it was much different than my time in Amsterdam! Love you all!
Oh Berlin, I am sure I can fit you in one entry.
I feel that Berlin is one of those places you have to be with someone to make it fun. Don’t get me wrong, it was an incredible experience to get to wander the city’s history, but at times I grew bored and restless, then eventually sick. But just like my Amsterdam entries, I have to start where we left off.
I arrived in Berlin and settled in the little apartment I got to call home for the next week. It was a sweet little room with a big window which light poured through brightening up the space. A bed just like my one at home, sat in the corner of the room, there was a cabinet which held more blankets and pillows (which I discovered the night before I left of course). Then right outside my door was the hosts room, the little kitchen and washroom. The first night I spent settling in and falling asleep very quickly after little to no sleep the night before.
The week continued on I had a rocky few nights where I was getting tired of being alone and not knowing what I’d do in this city for seven days. “Why the hell did I choose seven days here?” “I could’ve saved money and time and spent less time here.” All these thoughts were pouring in the first couple nights.
Of course, I am now grateful I had those few extra days as I ended up getting sick that week. I will admit I didn’t go out as much as I did in Amsterdam. Instead I spent many hours in this sweet little coffee shop right in my neighbourhood. It had a bar/rustic feel and was open till 2am. Some café huh? Well a few days I used that cozy space to capture this trip through words while having some of the best chai lattes with cashew milk life had to offer. Then there were days I went down town to explore what berlin had to offer. I found the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust museum, Cathedrals, another Berlin wall monument, and a few beautiful parks. My time in Berlin was simple, but was definitely needed, little did I know I’d be coming to the end of my trip sooner than expected.
This is most definitely a shorter entry, but there just wasn’t much to share. I went, I grew, and I continued on.