Having made the decision to go looking for some better accommodation this morning, I figured I’d make use of the free breakfast before I left. I won’t begin to tell you the revulsion I felt in seeing people use their fingers to separate the cheese slices in the absence of knives and forks. The coffee was okay though.
So I went into town to the Amsterdam Hotel Bureau and sought the assistance of the kind man there. He found me a lovely single room with my own bathroom, satellite television, and wifi, for only marginally more than the cost of the hostel dormitory bed. I love him. And I love the man on the reception downstairs who has made me feel incredibly comfortable and welcomed.
I kinda felt sorry for the young bloke on reception back at the hostel who had to deal with me. I wasn’t rude, far from it. In fact I was probably too nice using the classic, “It’s not you, it’s me” excuse to explain why I couldn’t stay there any longer. But I guess he just wasn’t used to someone deciding they couldn’t stay.
And then I thought about these poor young kids who stay in some of these hostels who are being exploited, asked to pay unreasonable amounts of money for sub-standard accommodation and I’m sure most of them don’t complain.
After dealing with all of the associated dramas, I began sight-seeing in earnest. My major task for the day was doing one of those “under the bridges” canal tours of Amsterdam, and gosh it was fantastic. The weather was great and I had a really wonderful time.
And the best thing? I was sitting next to a Dutch couple who were showing some friends around the city. When the woman realised I was Australian, she included me in her commentary with a special English language version. Great eh? A further demonstration of my belief the Dutch seem to be a very friendly, welcoming people. I could be wrong, but it’s the impression I have so far.
After a bite to eat, I came back to my room for a shower and a quick lie down. I didn’t sleep all that much last night – surprise surprise – so I really needed a nap.
And before you know it, it was time to meet up with Peter from Tippin’ The Scales, a Dutch blogger who I have been reading for a while, and he my blog. Peter is SUCH a lovely guy. We had three or four hours of great conversation about our lives, and the things we find interesting such as travel and food. He introduced me to some typical Dutch cuisine at a local restaurant and took me to the Americain Hotel which is an absolutely gorgeous building dating back to around 1890-1900.
What a great way to end what was a pretty bad start to the day.