After the extremely nerve wracking seven hour Flixbus ride to Amsterdam, we were all a little disoriented. We were dropped off at a train station that is essentially in the middle of nowhere, but luckily found a Starbucks to stay in for a few hours since it was still dark outside. Once the sun was up, we were on a tram going to our hostel. We stopped at a quaint tea and coffee shop called Bagels & Beans van Baerle. Our hostel was extremely nice, with three bunks beds and just us 5 occupying the room. The first day, we didn’t do very much. Just wandered around and then in the afternoon we took a canal ride. However, we did visit the Sexmuseum, which was interesting to say the least. The tickets were cheap and it was right downtown, so why not? It did have some fascinating historical value as well. We stopped at a nice restaurant for dinner and then we were in for the night.
Day two, we went to the Van Gogh Museum which was located directly across the street from our hostel (hence the name Hotel Van Gogh). We spent a few hours wondering through his artworks and memorabilia. This was a nice relaxing experience, visiting and seeing the works and life of one of the most prominent painters. We had lunch at a quick dining restaurant called Wok to Walk, which was delicious. Afterwards, we walked through VondalPark, which is one of the biggest parks in Amsterdam. Kyle, who used to live in Holland as a child, was meeting up with some of his older neighbors who then met us for dinner. We went to a small pizza place which was nice for just chatting with friends. Afterwards we walked them to the train station and called it a night. On our way home, we stopped by the famous “I amsterdam” installation for some touristy photos. By far, Amsterdam was the most ‘vacation-y’ part of the trip because it was right in the middle of the week, it wasn’t cold or rainy, and we weren’t all exhausted yet. The next morning we were off to Bruxelles (Brussels).
Brussels was by far the most interesting part of the journey. Our hostel was in a slightly odd part of town, making it a little uncomfortable to walk to in the middle of the night. It was another ‘Van Gogh’ hostel with a bar, lounge area, free music on Saturday nights and a pool table. It felt much more like a dorm in a way because there were separate buildings for the bunks. Our first night, we basically just found some food and hung out at the hostel. Day One, we went into town and walked through parks and got lost a couple times before finding the Natural History Museum. Like all other grown adults, we still enjoy looking at dinosaur bones and wandering through exhibits. We ate Belgian Waffles, drank beer, bought chocolate and found the Manneken Pis (which literally means little man pee), one of the most famous statues in Brussels.
Day two in Brussels was a lot of wandering and just hanging out in the downtown area since we were slow to get moving the next morning. At this point in the trip we were all beginning to get tired, all of our clothes were getting gross and stale, it was time to go home. Unfortunately, this is where the story gets a little scary. Our flight was at 6:55am on the other side of town, our shuttle bus didn’t leave until 3:30am, and the last metro was at midnight. So this meant, that we were going to be wandering around a strange city for approximately 7 hours. We checked out of our hotel just before midnight, ran to the nearest metro, and then bunkered down in the train station to wait for the shuttle. With our luck however, the security kicked us out around 2am because they shut the station down from 2-4am. So we were wandering, in the sleet through Brussels. By 2:30 we had found our shuttle bus, but instead took a taxi to the airport. Around 4am we all hunkered down in the airport and took naps until our flight was ready to board.
After minor issues while boarding, we were on our way back to sunny Aix, back to home.