Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 4/5: Intro the Wild Blue Amsterdam

"Baz, get a picture of me in front of the German." "Why?" "Just fucking do it!"

I missed yesterdays post! I swore I wouldn't, and not only did I miss it, I almost missed today as well.  I'll have to consolidate the two, as it's late and I'm getting tired.  As well, pics will follow (I'm too tired to load em from my camera)

Edit: Now with pictures!

So yesterday (Tuesday) was our last full day in Berlin.  We took the bus (finally!) from our place in Schöneberg up to the Zoo, which is a great ride due to the double decker bus layouts.

Windows all around!

We walked around the zoo for a bit, but it was still very very hot, so we had to quit relatively early on.  Stupid hot weather.

Monkey with baby!

Afterward, we walked back around to the front of the zoo and caught the bus back home - we really did luck out with a place that was not in the middle of the tourist traps, but close enough to everything (huge room, less than two minute walk to the metro, shops all around, and close to the bus).

View from our window

We never did figure out what this majestic building was
Afterward we decided to take the buses to Prenzlauerberg - we tried to get on the 100 to get a good view, waited, and when the bus came, two obnoxious families pushed in front of us and hogged the top front seats the entire ride...don't get me started on that shit.  RUDE.  Rode it to Alexanderplatz, then took the metro up to Prenzlauerberg to check out the area.  Hip and happening, tons of restaurants, beer gardens, dark side streets, had a major Bushwick feel to it.  Jumped on some trams and....somehow ended up back at Museum Island, haha.  Walked around for ages, took the train back to Alexanderplatz, then caught the 100 back to the Zoo and the second bus back home.  An overall nice day, had a huge rainstorm when we were home, as well as when we were waiting for the 100 to head back home at night.  At least it killed the heat!

Kinda sad to be laving Berlin, but Amsterdam was up next!

We took the train out to Schöenfeld Airport, which I have to say, is nicer (though smaller) than Tegel.  Anything is better than a dusty hexagon of red and grey laminate hell, though.  We used EasyJet, which is basically a massive cattle call that results in 200 people overtaking the hallways by storm as they push and moo to get to the gate first.  Baz and I (thank god) were in the first 10 people or so, which is no small feat, since we were practically elbowing people with dialysis machines to get in line.  We got into the waiting area, and figured out the plane was a half hour late.  Awesome.  So we got to hang out in a room with a bunch of sweaty people and watch other people get on planes.  Sweet!

Thankfully, when the doors were finally opened to the Prolats, we ran on first, and of course got stuck behind people who can't be bothered to throw their children into the seat rows and instead let them stand dumbly in the aisle while they put away luggage. Meanwhile, others have gotten the clue and ran to the back boarding stairs and sprinted up to secure the back exit seats.  Flying is freaking stressful!  After some elbow-eye contact, we got our seats at the front (as we should have!) and settled in for the flight - only about an hour and a half or so, and with crazy cloud views and wind turbines that went on for miles.

I will say this - Amsterdam's train system is confusing if you don't know Dutch.  Regional rail, cards, passes, trains coming on some platforms but not always going the same way by the same route, urgh!  After lots of wandering around and staring at endlessly flipping signboards, we somehow reached Amsterdam Centraal, and from there we took the metro down to our place in Zuidoost.

Zuidoost is an interesting area.  It's a "planned neighborhood of the future", built in the 70s for middle class families.  Apparently, though, they didn't build transit connections till way after, so it never became a utopian gem of a suburb and instead turned into a horrific slum.  You get this feeling as the train crawls further and further away from Centraal, so it's a bit concerning (I never felt anything like this in Berlin).  Thankfully, it's been changing over the last 20 years or so, but it still feels like you took a slice of Bed-Stuy and threw it into the middle of a forest - people hanging around outside, yelling, music blasting heavy bass everywhere.  Kind of...scary, and that's coming from the girl who grew up in Brooklyn.  I think the added dimension of being in an unfamiliar place is unsettling as well.

The apartment itself is all our for the next few days, which is somewhat of a consolation!  It's two bedrooms, and we got first dibs, so we picked the larger room with the balcony, which is a nice bonus. Place is SUPER spartan though, it seems to only be a vacation apartment, so we're stuck with just onions, apples, and bread we scavenged in the kitchen until we can go out for groceries in the AM.  Dinner of champions!  Lets hope tomorrow finds us with some food in our bellies and knives not firmly planted in our backs.  Hello, Amsterdam!

No comments:

Post a Comment