Sunday, April 08, 2012

[L.E.P.A.K series] Chap 22: Goodbye Amsterdam!

We should have seen it coming when we 'decided' to miss our train out of Zaanse Schans. That was the sign of our short streak of unfortunate incidents. *sad face* It all begun while we were waiting for our train to arrive. We knew for sure that the train heading to "Centraal" was our definite ride back to Amsterdam but there was a train scheduled earlier for a different destination. We were not sure if that train will be passing by "Centraal", so we decided to play it safe and wait for our 'sure' train. 

 To our surprise almost everyone got on the first train that arrived, putting us in a state of indecisiveness. Should we hop on or not? Hop? No hop? Hop? No hop? By the time we were done panicking, the doors have closed and we watched helplessly as everyone leave the station. *double sad face* 

 We consoled each other by convincing ourselves that playing it safe was the smarter choice and took that extra 20 minutes or so to rest in the quiet train station. Little did we know the bad news that was waiting for us back at Amsterdam. 

 Upon arriving at Amsterdam Centraal, we hurried off to the ticketing counter to check our train schedule out to Brussels where we will be catching the Eurostar back to London. Our initial plan was to spend around three hours or so to explore Amsterdam itself before heading off. Instead, we were informed that the next train and apparently the only train for us was leaving within the next hour, minus the buffer time we need to be at the platform, all we had was approximately half an hour left. It was a major disappointment! 

No time to feel bum though.

Time to make the best of our time at Amsterdam.

No bad news shall stop me from putting a smile on my face. 
That's me in front of the iconic Centraal train station.

From here on, we went on a snap and go mode.

Yet, once in a while, we can't help not to stop and stare. *grins*

Look at that crowd!! 
If only we had time, we wouldn't mind lining up for some real Hoh-lan-shuuu (apparently Cantonese refers potatoes as Holland Potatoes, not sure why the specific country though, probably because the first imported potatoes were from Holland?) Wait.... going out of topic here. Anyway, it was a bummer we couldn't try the what-we-assumed-to-be-awesome potato wedges. After all, potatoes are Cik Anai's absolute favourite.

Amsterdam is certainly a very *ahem* liberal place for business.
 Be mindful that coffee shops here do not necessarily serve you coffee. Hahaha.

This is really an interesting place to be I tell you, and we didn't even make it to the red light district where women parade themselves openly behind (oxymoron? lol.) full length windows.

Even their taxi is one of a kind.

Not to mention the people. Hehe.

That's about as far as we went from Centraal station and we had to 
make our way back. *sad face*

Here's another trademark of Amsterdam. The triple X. 
You'll see XXX at every possible design anywhere.

*sigh* And with heavy hearts, we bid farewell to Amsterdam. I initially wanted Amsterdam to be just a stop, look, go destination to check it off my travel list. However, I didn't get to finish 'looking', so now I'm left wondering if I will ever be back again to do so. 

 With our time cut-short at Amsterdam, we found ourselves with some extra time at Brussels-Midi Station instead. So off we went...

Grocery Shopping!! 
Hahaha. That my friends, is a giant vending machine! It's crazy, really. I did not even realised I was standing behind one until Cik Anai exclaimed "Omg, that's a vending machine!" 

 Mind you, this is not where we did our 'shopping'. There is in fact an actual supermarket right behind this vending machine. The funny thing was the entrance of the supermarket was smaller than the machine itself. We went in to scout around for any goodies to buy, like Belgium chocolates!! 

 We were 'inspecting' the chocolate aisle when a lady beside me, tipped me off in a low voice, saying the chocolates here were outrageous in price. She can get the same chocolates in the same supermarket in town at a much lower price. Well, that's no surprise since Brussels-Midi Station is an Eurostar stop which means a whole lot of tourists commute in and out of the station every day. Tourist spot, ergo tourist pricing. Boohoo.  

Since we bought enough chocolates to go around in Zaanse Schans, and since we were specifically told that the chocolates are expensive, we opted not to be 'cheated' and instead stepped out with bottles of mineral water. Hahaha. Water is essential and it is cheaper here than back in London due to the currency exchange. So us 'poor' travellers chose to carry a 1.5 litre bottle each (my vague memory seems to tell me that Cik Anai bought two bottles o.O) just to save ourselves a ringgit or two. So kiam siap right? Hahaha.

And since we still have MORE time. Sigh. How I wish all this time was spent in Amsterdam instead. We chose to sit down and have our third 'sit-down' meal in a row!

Mezzo Di Pasta. 
Pasta in take-away boxes like Chinese take-outs in the US of A. *grins* We don't get pasta take-outs like this in Malaysia. But it was not the boxes that made us all giddy with joy...

It's what was inside! 
Look at the cheeeeese. Yummmmmmy! Though the entire pasta experience wasn't one to shout about. :P Not exactly awesome stuff but not to bad nonetheless. 

 With our stomachs filled and loads of water in hand, we catch our night ride back to London for a good night's sleep back in our hotel room. A luxury really, after two days of intense walking and an awkward night on the bus. Hehe. That's the end of our short yet very memorable adventure in Europe. 

 Next up, back in London!

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