It’s been a few days, I know, but here we are in Amsterdam…
Our last night in the UK we spent way outside London in a tiny village where the Ferries leave from. We had a lovely little room with a view of the North Sea and as much darn breakfast as we could possibly eat, cereal and eggs and huge peices of ham and toast and juice and french press coffee all for way less than we payed the night before when we got stuck at the Hotel George.
This morning we woke up really early, took full advantage of that free breakfast and made our way to the Harwich Port where we boarded a Ferry to take us over the North Sea. Ryan was so exicted to ride on the Ferry, he was like a little kid; eyes all wide and head bobbing around looking at everything. The Ferry itself was very nice, huge with a casino and movie theatre inside. It’s actually the exact same boat I rode to The Netherlands 9 years ago as a “young ambassador.” Funny how life works. This time, slightly older, the ferry was so rocky. The waves would crash against the sides of the boat with immense booms and we would tip way down toward the water and then way back up toward the sky. It was difficult to walk in a straight line, children were screaming, someone threw up in the coffe shop and Ryan and I were a little green to say the least. We docked, three and a half hours later, but safely and stumbled off the boat and onto the train platform, where we realized we had no idea how to get to Amsterdam from the Hook of Holland where the boat had docked.
Now understand that Ryan, being extremely reluctanct to be looked upon as a “Stupid American” has been studying his “Lonely Planet Useful Phrases for Western Europe” learned himself a few dutch phrases and was eager to proove their usefulness. We approached the train conductor sheepishly and Ryan blurted out “spreht u english?” or something resembling that in as good a dutch accent as he could imagine. The man looked at him as if we were from another planet and said “yes.” Ryan then did the thing that he has been practicing not doing. He said really slowly and loudly “WHERE CAN WE GET OUR EURAIL PASS VALIDATED.” You could tell that the conductor was a little amused and felt at least a little pity for us because he let us on the train and told us to get off at Rotterdam and validate the pass there in perfect, perfect english. Ryan and I held it together and then laughed ourselves silly in the privacy of our first class train car. It was simply priceless. In the station in Rotterdam when we tried to buy tickets to Amsterdam, I told the lady behind the counter what I thought meant “many thanks” and she looked at me like I had told her to wipe her nose on a ham and cheese sandwich. My pronounciation might have been a little too like German. Now that we are in Amsterdam, it’s pretty clear that EVERYONE speaks english and there probably won’t even be a need for our useful dutch phrases. But we get A’s for effort anyway, right?
Time’s up. More tomorrow as the internet cafe seems like a clean alternative to these seedy streets.
love, love, love, CR
Posted from Netherlands:
posted Tuesday May 2006