So, yesterday we made it to Camdentown. Land of Amy Winehouse, who I didn’t see…but did get a great pitcher of Pimms...a must for London!
Before going, spent a good part of the morning watching a few of the DIY shows….Houses Under the Hammer, Beauty and the Geek, Money in the Attic…something like that. Camden was crazy! A LOT of energy….with Chinatown entrepreneurship mixed in….we met a chick from Amsterdam while getting a coffee. She was a bit punk, goth…all black and purple….said she’d never go to Amsterdam again. Only because she just left. She did give me some great ideas though. She did tell me to try out a local beer, pronounced, “Hreokergn“. I asked her to spell it out, “H-o-e-g-a-a-r-d-e-n”. …well, nice…who am I to not check out the local brew?
She assured me that a lot of people speak English in Amsterdam and to not worry.
Today, I made it to Amsterdam. Left 4 hours ahead, sold my Oyster Card to another American and made it through with an hour to spare.
Once I got to the airport, I was pretty psyched….then I realized English was not the first language here. Everyone was beautiful at the airport. I had my directions to the hostel with street names like ‘Martelaars Gracht’ and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, and ‘Nieuwe Nieuwstraat’. I got on the train with absolutely no idea where I was going to get off….there was no announcement of any of the stops.
9pm….I finally found myself outside of the train station, staring at my first landmark….walking. Then panic set in. It was dark, I couldn’t find the street names, and it was obvious I was a tourist. I felt so vulnerable. I was beginning to panic. I just walked. The restaurants around me were closing and I didn’t see anyone else around me.
Finally a restaurant manager walked me through his restaurant to the back road, pointed me to the right road and said, “Do not give up. Welcome to Amsterdam.” I walked about 100 feet away and stopped. I just wanted to cry. I was so scared/anxious….not in control. I”m sweating at this point, I eventually pull my hair back into a ponytail, pulling my bag through the small and dark alleys. I was no longer anxious, I was pissed I couldn’t find the place…. I was definitely giving some bad energy.
I finally got to The Cosmos Hostel….where it’s ” a safe and laidback atmosphere”. I then had to haul my bag up 20 steps to the front desk that was 2 feet from my room door…where I shared a 5 bed room with 3 FRench guys and a Spanish guy I think.
There is ONE key to the room! ONE!!! The room is always unlocked.
I’m also sharing a bathroom/shower with 30 people. The next few days will be a great challenge for me and my personal space.