Berlin to Amsterdam

by chris cunningham

Travel day. Train leaves at 12:28 so were going to get over there a little early since a 1300m section of The Wall is still in place near the station. Got over there and shot some photos. The previous day when we were at the Sand Sculpture place we asked the girl where the long section of The Wall that is still in place is standing. Her first answer was “We try and forget were it was”. Interesting. Then she asked if I was looking for the “East Side Gallery” and said it was near Ostbahnof.

Last thoughts on Berlin. I love it! What a great place. Berlin is very unassuming and might not have the landmarks of Paris or London but it’s a very comfortable city to be in. I think the Germans have a lifestyle much like the U.S. In fact while we were sitting at Fan Fest watching the game I was looking around and if you were able to drop all of these fans in the middle of a football or basketball game back home you wouldn’t know the difference. They really look American compared to France or the U.K. There are 4 things that make them different though. The German flags on their faces, the amount of smokers, the language of course, and all the chanting. Lots of chanting in Europe. Repeat after me like the Germans do… “Doitcheland (clap clap clap) Doitcheland (clap clap clap) Doitcheland (clap clap clap)”. I even saw people hi-five each other which is very American thing. So if you’re from the U.S. and want to go to Europe but are afraid of feeling out of place, Deutschland’s for you. At least Berlin would be.

Just before boarding the train grabbed some kebabs for lunch. Yum.
12:28: Left Ostbahnof. I believe that is East Station. We got on the train and there are little rooms. As I pointed out they’re like the Orient Express and as Jill pointed out like Harry Potter. We have the cabin for ourselves at the moment.
1:32: Arrived in Stendal. Some guy just joined us in our room. Hack agh cough wheeeeze… damn this guy reeks! I think he just smoked a whole pack of cigarettes before boarding. Oh man, now our little carriage has been tainted.
1:37: Announcement: In German. No english supplement. Countryside going by. It’s a very Pixar day out.
1:42: Ok, smell of smoke has slowly gone away. Whew.
1:55: Finally had to show the tickets.
2:04: Listening to the handful of songs I have by “Rainer Maria” on the computer. Gonna have to break out the iPod at some point. Ok, iPod’s out. Think I’ll disappear into John Lennon for a little while.
3:22: I wonder what John Lennon would be doing now if still alive. 26 years on.
5:00: Thought I’d visit the dining car. Ack. Too much smoke. Enclosed space. Can’t breathe, can’t move, can’t reach oxygen…
5:41: Smelly Smoker Man got off the train a few hours ago. I think we just stopped at Rotterdam. The english announcements are about 5 seconds long where the german ones are about 45 seconds long. We’re missing something. Now I’m thinking that wasn’t Rotterdam. Too small.
5:47: We’re definitely in the Netherlands as I just looked out the window and a building had the name Jan on it.
6:11: I think we’re in Rotterdam now. Nope, Amersfoort. I think that might be near Rotterdam as they keep saying Rotterdam on the speaker.
6:20: On iTunes. “Half Acre” by “Hem”. Lovely song. So is “Alabaster” by “Oh Susanna” which just played.
6:48: Arrived in Amsterdam. All the Rotterdam talk was for stations with connections to Rotterdam. Duh.

Caught the #16 Tram and walked across a little bridge to the hotel. Opened up the windows and there’s a nice picturesque view over the Amstel River. Where I’m sitting right now. Beautiful.

The hotel is in the central district so it’s location is perfect. Walked around a bit tonight and looked at the girls in the windows. Funny. They all have bad skin covered in makeup. There’s the occasional faint smell of pot that comes into the window when someone walks by but it’s not bad. That’s all. Amsterdam is beautiful and I think a bike rental is the choice of travel for tomorrow.