December 19, 2014

My Dam Day

If I’m honest with you I’m not a massive fan of Amsterdam, but I’m sure that you will already┬áhave your own view of the city, so I won’t put you off by saying this.┬áIt’s been a wet and miserable┬áday and the climate doesn’t do much for those contemplating some sightseeing. That said, I doubt many visitors to Amsterdam see that much daylight anyway.┬áThe streets seem busy with damp and bemused tourists, tramps, pimps, brewers, baristas and drug dealers all going purposefully about their business.

In passing there is a very high profile campaign at the moment warning visitors about the dangers of buying drugs on the street. As I understand, it’s a batch of dodgy white heroin as a substitute for cocaine. Even my bus driver tells me to go to a coffee shop for my drugs. If only she were to know that the purpose of my visit to Amsterdam was in fact Trans-Siberian exploration…

I spent much of the day on a few fairly mundane housekeeping tasks. These included using my new VPN app on the iPad to download the penultimate episode of “The Apprentice” (this possibly needs a whole post as much to my amazement, as its a bit of tech that works), uploading various blogs and treating myself to a rather fiery and pimped up Nasi Goreng “Nonya” in my favourite Malay place at the back of the red light district.

Amsterdam has been rebuilding its historic station for a long time now, and from what I can see it’s almost complete. What I discovered today is that it presents its best side to those using platform 2, the line that serves the German high speed trains to Frankfurt. Here you are treated to a choice of nice bars and coffee shops as well as a small but comfy first class lounge, all just a few feet from the platform. Perfect! In fact if you were new to Amsteram CentraaI, I would suggest just you forget about the rest of the station and hang out on platform 2 until your train is due to depart. Elsewhere in the station there is now a piano in the main concourse (which is free for anyone to play) and an ever wider choice of slightly weird Dutch snack foods in plastic boxes.

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