As all great adventures do, the weekend in
Since I had been awake for nearly 36 hours (sleeping on a bus is hard, especially when a very talkative old Russian lady is sitting next to you and taking up half of your seat as well), it was no problem for me to get to bed at a decent hour that night. I fell asleep (as the game was reaching its climax, judging from the sounds) at about 10:30 – plenty early to get a good night’s sleep before jet-setting to
When I got there, I realized that I had been worried for nothing. In less than 10 minutes, I was checked in, through security and at my departure gate. It was the quickest check-in I’ve ever been through. 10 MINUTES!!! And that’s even including having to go through security twice, because bike locks are apparently dangerous items, so I had to go and check mine that was attached to my backpack. Of course, I’m not going to complain. It was awesome. I had plenty of time for an espresso and a muffin before the flight (which I wouldn’t have splurged for if I had known ahead of time that breakfast was going to be served on the flight – a mistake I did not repeat when I flew back). These are just more reasons why I really like FinnAir. It all started because they had student discounts, and things just kept getting better from there.
As the plane landed and we were taxiing to the gate, I tried to calculate how long it had been since I had seen Chris. I believe the last time was at our annual spring luncheon with everyone’s favorite benefactor, Mrs. McDermott. That would make it about five months since the last time we hung out. And it had been over three months since I’ve seen any of my friends at all (with the exception of John Keese, who I ran into randomly in
It was at this point that I realized that I had forgotten to write down directions to the hostel that we may or may not have had a reservation for (another long story). So where do we go? Well, we hopped on the train to the central station, figuring that would be a good starting point for the search. We were right on. There are loads of hotel-booking places and tourist information spots surrounding the train station, and we were able to get our hands on a list of ALL the hostels (with addresses and phone numbers) in the center of
On a side note, I love the houses that line the canals – they are really tall (several stories) and deep, but very narrow. And all the staircases seem to be the same – really, REALLY steep. It saves a lot of space. Of course, getting up these steps late in the evening can be an adventure all on its own.
After we made it up the stairs to the dorm room, we realized just how close we were to the center of things. I knew we were in the red-light district, but didn’t know that the hostel backed up to the alley behind the
Of course, we didn’t spend all our time in the red-light district. There is a lot more to
We also went to a really cool museum that was just down the street from the hostel. Apparently a few hundred years ago it was illegal to practice Catholicism, but the authorities were willing to turn a blind eye if the place of worship in no way resembled a church from the outside. Therefore, there were a bunch of hidden churches throughout the city, one of which is still intact and has been restored to what it would have looked like then. It’s called Our Lord in the Attic and really worth the visit if you’re ever in
We also felt it was necessarily to rent bicycles for at least one of the days. Bikes are everywhere in
And being there with a biologist, we had to go to the flower market. Chris bought a bunch of tulip bulbs (that mostly what they have at this time of year). I would have bought some too, but don’t really have room in my bags – I’ve got enough stuff already. And I definitely didn’t have room for any wooden shoes, another of Chris’ purchases. I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to take home many souvenirs for people – for me, my pictures are my souvenirs. I have bought a patch for my camera bag for every country – it’s going to look awesome!
One thing that Chris and I agree on is that French fries with mayonnaise is one of the best things EVER! We had sooooo many. I don’t know what kind of oil they’re cooked in, or if that’s even the reason why they’re different, but they are sooooooo good. My favorite was the Mannekin Pis (yeah, you read that right, even if I didn’t spell it quite right) frites stand – conveniently located just a few blocks from home.
Overall, I think the trip was a great success. We got to hang out and have a good time, just relaxing and seeing the sites. I have to say that there isn’t much else in this world that can surprise me after some parts of the city, but I think that’s part of the charm. I hope that I can go back, soon and often. And know I have a friend there, so I have a great excuse.
Now that I’m back in