So, I spent my week between Munich and Amsterdam in Dresden, Saxony (the NorthEastern corner of Germany). It was completely destroyed during WWII, but they rebuilt all the historic public buildings, like the cathedral, etc. So, what you ended up with was buildings that look like they'er 500 years old, but have sharp corners, clean walls and smooth floors. You know, like they're new. Or, like they would have looked when they were new. We're so used to the 'old' look in our acitecutre that we forget that at some point in the past, it was new! That was really quite cool.
I spent Wednesday-Friday there, and on Saturday took the train cross country(s) to Amsterdam. That was actually kind of fun. I went to the Dresden train station and talked to a booking agent about getting to Amsterdam. She had several suggestions. The one I liked the best (overnight sleeper train) wouldn't work, though, because it didn't get me there til Monday, and I needed to be there Sunday! They had the trains running every night, but they were twice as expensive on Saturday. So instead, I ended up traveling all day Saturday. But, because I said yes I'd do 3 train changes, I got a 1st Class ticket for the price of a 2nd Class ticket! Yeay! 9 hours on the train? What's an additional 45 minutes? Seriously, that was the time difference. I was even more pleased when I ended up with an entire cubical to myself. :-) I slept a good portion of the way (which was good, because I'd been up til the wee hours of the morning talking to Lois!). In fact, I was so far asleep, the conductor had a difficult time waking me up to check my ticket. *blush*
Upon arrival in Amsterdam, I was reminded why I hate the city. Rediculously expensive! Stupidly expensive!! Insanely Expensive!!! I went from 25 Euros/Night
room to 125 Euros/Night room. And you know what? The 25 Euro room was nicer! Seriously, the room was shocking.
However, the 'room' I shared when I meet up with Mom and Grandma more than made up for the deprivations of the first place! I walked down from my place to the collection point for our shared place. What was exciting was, I didn't have a map. Or any real idea of where I was going. Shockingly, I made it without any problems! I had looked at it on Google Maps the night before, but I had no way of printing off a map. So I just wrote down all the streets. Unfortunately, I'd misremembered the tram system, and got off at a completely wrong spot . . . which also happened to be about 3 blocks from where I wanted to end up! I've got quite a good sense of direction, so, even though I didn't know where I was, I knew which direction I still needed to go. And after a couple of blocks, I saw a street sign I recognised. I'd found the corner of one of the streets I needed. And what was better? I was literally one block from the hotel! I rounded the corner of the final street, and just as I did, I looked to my right, and there was a crane (bird) on the roof of the car I was standing next to. And it was about 3 feet from my face! I was really shocked. And then I heard this laughter coming from across the street. Some tourists were sitting outside the hotel, and laughing at my surprised face. I said, 'I so wish I'd had a photo of that!' and they said, 'We wish we'd had had a photo of your face!' Ok, maybe you had to be there.
Anyway, back to the accommodation. I arrived first and asked if Mom and Grandma had checked in. I'd promised that if I got there first, I'd wait for them, but if they arrived first, they were to give them my name and go on to the flat. (We'd rented a flat instead of a suit in a hotel. It was cheaper.) They hadn't arrived, so I sat down to wait. The woman at reception said that the flat had two, very steep, flights of stairs. Since it was my grandmother coming, would we prefer a houseboat on one of the canals? Ummm.... yeah! So, we ended up with a houseboat! It was brilliant! Gorgeous inside (though less than stunning outside) with a spectacular view of the canal out the window. It was the perfect way to stay in Amsterdam.