Sunday, January 29, 2012

[L.E.P.A.K series: Amsterdam] Chapter 18: Trams, Bicycles and Boats

So where exactly are we off to now? I bet the above picture is very telling. 
Oh yes, we are heading towards the A in the L.E.P.A.K series! 
It's time for some XOX Amsterdam yo! 


But first, it was time to sleep! The bus was not exactly the most comfortable place to call it a night but nonetheless, we were so tired from the full day's walk that we practically fell right into sleep. We were waken up somewhere along the way when some officers came on board to check out travelling documents. Surprisingly they were more strict towards fellow Europeans who were travelling with their IDs than us with our passports. So we went right back to 'bed' as they busied themselves down the aisle. 

 We woke up again some time later just before 5am and saw that we were already very close to our destination. Unlike when we were on the bus to Edinburgh where we woke up to see the beautiful sunrise shining down on vast fields filled with sheeps, here we woke up to darkness illuminated with cold street lights. 

 We were scheduled to arrive Amstel Coach Station at approximately 6.30am but found ourselves at our destination way before 6.00am. The entire station was soulless with just us passengers wondering around, seriously in need of a toilet. Hahaha. There was no one around and the train station next to it has not even started its operation for the day yet. *yawns* In fact, it was not even manned and we wondered in and out of the platform freely without the need of a ticket. 

Still, not wanting to get into trouble we bought ourselves some train tickets and rode the first train out of the station towards Centraal Station. When we arrived though, we had problem checking out of the station since our tickets were never actually checked-in.

 Our lucky streak of meeting awesome people continued as the friendly stationmaster approached us and opened up the gates for us. He warmly started a conversation with us and asked us where we were from. When we told him we were from Malaysia, he threw us off by speaking the Malay language. It was the standard "Apa khabar?" and stuff but still here at Amsterdam?! Wow! 

 We said our thanks and headed off to hunt down some breakfast 
and found ourselves with some...

...'Gai Dan Gou'? (English: Egg Cake) 

 It was hilarious. Obviously we had no idea what we were actually buying except it' was food and it fills the stomach at only 1.70€. One bite into it and we looked at each other and asked "Gai Dan Gou?" Hmm.... wait... 

 *types 'Eierkoeken' into Google Translate* 

 Hahaha.... and it does indeed translate into "Egg Cake". OMG!

Our first and main itinerary of the day was to catch the train out to Zaanse Schans, a village just outside of Amsterdam that offers visitors a countryside feel of Holland. Because of its easy accessibility, it is also a much favoured tourist spot. It's like your one-stop destination for all things Holland. 

 However since it was still early, we decided to step out of the station and 
enjoy the early morning beauty of Amsterdam instead.

We were greeted by the extensive tram lines. Something we rarely see back home.

But what's mesmerising about Amsterdam is of course its canal and its buildings. The water in the canal was so crystal clear that it completely mirrors the beautiful scenery above it.

While Paris may awe you with its luxurious beauty, Amsterdam's simple beauty 
simply tugs the heart and soul.

Instead of sharing our space with a crowd of people, we found ourselves making way 
for 'Tai-lou' Big Bird and his gang.

Yo, whatcha looking at?!

There's really nothing much to say when the picture alone is saying a thousand words.

All I can say is that it's true that the early bird catches its prey. The best scenery are those 
at the early hours of the day where you can see the city slowly coming to life.

Time for a compulsory "I was here" shot.

Imagine there are people who call this their home. 

Oh oh! Ever thought of going into the window cleaning business?

Well, this is the way to do it! Real dandy. 
 We then made our way back to the station, bought ourselves two tickets off the ticketing machine and was happily on our way to Zaanse Schans.

Off we go again! 
Such a lovely way to start the morning.