I really wasn't expecting this, but the city of Amsterdam is truly beautiful. But coming from Hamburg anything would be better. When I arrived the sun was shining!
The train stopped at 3am in Hannover because the heater was broken. I had noticed... it was absolutely freezing in my compartment, I only had my pashmina as a blanket. It must have been less than 5 degrees. I met a Kiwi with long blonde hair and small glasses who came into the compartment to talk with a German girl. he was visiting a son in Denmark but lived in the Netherlands. Despite claiming he had lived in Europe his whole life, the more he spoke, the more his accent turned into Jermaine Clement's and the more mine grew stronger. I could hear my own accent, it was really strange. His manner was like Jermaine's too, 'Err, so, how long have you been in Europe?'
We moved to a better heated compartment and Jermaine sat in front of me, stretched over the couch to talk with me. I was exhausted and was glad when he finally got off. I found the hostel easily, it seemed nice. Then I took to the streets before check-in, roaming the canals and little cafes. Everyone rides bikes there, not just young people. I saw many older ladies zipping along the streets. They even have bikeways on the road side, to cross the road you first cross the bike lane, then the car lane, then the tram, just for one side! Considering I still haven't adjusted to the right-hand lane driving, I nearly died everytime I crossed the road. I spent the morning hunting the perfect coffee, but was concerned with confusing a 'coffee shop' with a cafe, they are quite different in Amsterdam. Everyone seemed to smoke weed there, instead of drunkards wandering the streets like Eastern Europe or anywhere else, people are high.
I checked into the hostel at 2pm out of pure exhaustion. Some Russian kids were in my room, I got the impression they didn't like me. I was actually sleeping in one girls bed when they came in, a stuff up at reception. I was feeling lonely until Tiemi came in, I feel like I have known her my whole life. She goes to the same classes as Jessica from Brazil, she had just done two months with AIESEC in Ukraine until her project fell apart, just like mine. She had been in Amsterdam for two days already so she gave me a full tour of it. we went to dinner together to a Brazilian restaurant where she spoke to the waiters in Portugese and went crazy over the food... just like Favela and feijoada at the Brazilian party in Poland. She had actually been telling me about the cultural vacuum which is Ukraine in the hostel when the Russians overheard and got upset. But seriously it sounds awful compared to Poland. The best thing she did there was a tour of a political prison where the tour guide had been detained for 3 months during Soviet reign. He told her about the torture methods they used on him in each room with a smile on his face, maybe because he is free now? Incredible.
One week she was also expected to share a single bunk with another girl, without a mattress and with blood stained sheets! We have nothing to complain about in Poland!
Together we walked through the red light district at night, taking advantage of company for sight seeing you don't want to do alone. It wasn't seedy like Hamburg, there were tonnes of tourists there taking photos.
I was knackered by midnight, I could barely talk to her by the time we made it home.