We finally leave for Amsterdam.  We took no chances.  We had a wakeup call set for 7am, I had my watch set for 7:00am and 7:01am just in case that didn’t work.  My back was feeling better, Gillian’s headache was gone, the new camera rocks, and Gillian has got my old one so she can take her own pictures.  Nothing was going to ruin this day. NOTHING.

Yeah, you know how this is going to end.

We made the train with well over an hour to spare.  Heck, we could have taken an earlier train if we wanted (apparently these tickets aren’t fixed reservations like in London).  We missed our exchange in Antwerp by ten seconds, but it wasn’t a big deal, we just took the next one.  Waiting an hour for the next train meant I could show Gill a bit of Antwerp, so it’s all good.

We got to Amsterdam around 3pm, and got to the hotel at 5:30.  Gillian loves the city even more than she loved Lille, and it’s hard to blame her.  The architecture even in the small sliver we’ve seen so far is more varied, makes more use of its space, and of course there are the canals.  Everyone speaks English here and signs and menus have English as well as Dutch, a refreshing change from Lille, where we couldn’t have felt more like out of place tourists if we wore neon floral Hawaiian shirts.

It’s overcast, and we buy an umbrella at an information center because the weather forecasts rain tomorrow.  That’s okay, if it rains the hotel is five minutes away from two massive museums.  As you can see, we’ve taken on a more laid back attitude to our problems.  We can cope.  We can handle anything.  The hotel is right next to the large historic music hall.  The lobby looks nice.  Oh, by the way, our reservation isn’t on the computer.


One of my favorite movies is Last of the Mohicans, though I can’t stand the book.  But there was one scene in the book that stuck in my head.  Hawkeye had complained about a particular type of pistol being useless because the powder easily gets wet, but he ends up in a situation where it’s the only thing available.  It doesn’t work.  He throws the pistol over a waterfall in anger yelling “I knowed it and I said it!”

That’s how I felt at that moment.  Things were getting better, and what was going wrong we could easily cope with.  Can’t have that, time to press the big red button on the Random-Screw-O-Matic

The worst part is I have no one to blame for this part but myself. The reservation had been made for the 19th of January, not February, and I doubt the computer screwed anything up.  I don’t know how I made the mistake; I was very careful, bordering on paranoid as you can imagine.  Yet this slipped by me. Pity and sympathy and dish sized puppy dog eyes won’t get me anywhere here.  The money is gone.  134 pounds flushed down the toilet.  At the MOST I’ll get a single day’s worth back.  The manager explained that unannounced cancellations result in one day being refunded (the other two, tough), but that would be going to Lastminute, not me, so I need to convince them to give it to me.  When I stop laughing I might actually try it.

Of course, it could be worse.  The hotel could have been booked solid, forcing us to look elsewhere. Then again, maybe we should have, because the room here is smaller than the one in Lille (which I didn’t think was possible) with the sink in the livingroom, fluorescent lights and a view of… well, it doesn’t have a view.  And, since this room wasn’t bought using any kind of deal, we’re paying full price, over 200 euros.  There is no Internet access here.  There should be, but it’s down.  Even if it was up it would cost 10 euros.  10 euros? For Internet?

Gillian later said we’d end up paying for this trip by working the streets.

Two small mercies: we’re on the third floor, which is as high as the elevator goes. I’m glad for Gillian’s sake we’re not on the fourth floor, since she’s been dealing with enough stairs lately.  Also, the bathroom has a deep bathtub, which means for the first time in the whole trip I can just have a nice long soak for my back.