Today’s pictures on flickr

For some reason, Bethany insists that I write this entry. I’m not exactly sure why, but…

Today we had to switch our stuff over to the boat for our cruise. It’s not entirely convenient; we have to check out by eleven but we cannot put our stuff on the boat until three. But the other problem is what to do with our camping gear, like our tent? If our room is anything like the two person rooms I saw on Easy Cruise One in the Mediterranean, having all that stuff along may not fit all that well in our rooms.

We decided that staying another night in Amsterdam when we get back will probably be convenient. The boat doesn’t get in until 1PM, and by the time we collect our bicycles and get everything together, most of the day will be gone. The hotel we were at was reasonably priced and nice enough if small and with vertical stairways,so we booked another night there. They let us leave half of our stuff with them too, so that’s one problem made much easier.

Even with half of our stuff dumped, it was still quite a load to carry. But it was mangeable and we had over three hours between check-out and check-in, so we decided to walk to the train station and dock rather than take a cab or the train. It shouldn’t be too hard to take 3 hours to walk the twenty minute walk to the train station; this is Amsterdam after all.

Our first stop was at H&M, to get me some new clothes. Bethany got some yesterday, it was my turn today.

That was perhaps the most fun clothes shopping I’ve ever had. Two things made it particularly stand out. First of all, I’m down another pant size. Secondly, the shirts fit! Firstly, Large shirts were 16.5 and fit slimmer than the usual 17.5 they’d be in Canada. More dramatically, the sleeves are at least a couple of inches longer than I’ve seen elsewhere, actually long enough! The only shirts that have ever fit me before have been a couple of pairs of hand-me-down uniform shirts from Uncle Egon that were tailored for him with properly sized arms.

After I got my clothes, Bethany said she wanted to go downstairs to the ladies section to look at a couple of things. I naively assumed from the way she said it that she wouldn’t be long, so I said that I’d stay upstairs to look at a few things. I picked out some socks, and then sat on our suitcases to do a bit of reading to wait for her. 150 pages later I finally saw her again. Not entirely her fault, it was a madhouse down there.

We continued our walk to the train station. Bethany bought some souvenirs, took some pictures and we stopped for a sandwich and continued on. We were almost at the train station when Bethany realized that I had forgotten the monopod at the cafe. She handed me her luggage and went back for it. I told her I would stagger on a ways and sit down at the first convenient opportunity. I did so at a cafe, ordered a mineral water and pulled out my book. I’m not sure how many pages I read this time, but it was quite a few. Bethany missed me the first time past, and had walked all the way to the station. Oops.

We finally got to the boat and checked in. Easy Cruise Two looks more like a barge and less like a cruise ship than Easy Cruise One, but it’s not so bloody orange, and is much better laid out. The rooms have a window and are larger. It wouldn’t have been a problem to have our camping gear along, there may even have been room for our bikes in our room, even though the FAQ says oherwise. If we would have known that we probably would have only booked on until Brussels and taken our bikes along. Oh well, at least this way the shop has them for a few days.

After a nap, we stopped in at the train station to check out our options there. They have a nice express train that takes 4 hours to go from Amsterdam to Paris, but there’s no facility for bicycles. Instead we would have to take regional trains, taking 8 hours with 3 train changes in Antwerp, Lille and Amiens. But they’d be open tickets. We’ll probably do it, stopping in Lille and cycling down to Vimy Ridge before continuing.

After stopping for supper, we had to do what every first time tourists to Amsterdam has to do. I’ll leave the rest unsaid; we have a mixed audience, but mainly because most of you have nasty imaginations and will probably fill things in better than I could myself.

So on that cop-out I’ll leave you, dear readers.