Greetings from a 3 hour delayed train from Amsterdam to Berlin! (*note- I'm actually publishing this from my hotel room in Berlin, but this was written on the train with no wi-fi). I was supposed to arrive by 1:30 PM and am now not arriving until almost 4 PM. Not how I wanted to start off today. But shit happens, right?
A quick recap on what’s been going on in Amsterdam:
Number of days stayed: 2.5
Number of new friends made: 1
Old friends I got to meet up with: 1
New beers tried: 3
Sights Seen: Van Gogh Museum, Vondelpark, Heineken Factory, Red Light District, Canal cruise (so.many.canals).
I really didn’t know what to expect with Amsterdam (besides the stereotypical weed, prostitutes, bikes etc.). Similar to Brussels I didn’t have anything in particular I really wanted to see other than the Van Gogh museum and the Ann Frank House (which I didn’t even end up seeing). But like Brussels and Brugge, Amsterdam surprised me with its beauty, abundance of parks, windy cobblestone streets, cute shops and canals.
While I knew “everyone bikes” in Amsterdam I didn’t exactly understand why before arriving. Now I do. Unlike most cities I’ve been to where the majority of the “must see” stuff is in a fairly concentrated area and all easily walkable, Amsterdam is very spread out. Everything I went to was at least a 10-15 minute bike ride from the last attraction. I found it hard to navigate and orient myself, never really knowing where I was in relation to something. Fun fact: Amsterdam has twice as many bikes as people, so, now I get why everyone bikes.
While the last 6 days have been amazing in terms of the travel and exploring of new cities, meeting new people and actually living this dream I’ve always had, I am starting to experience my first twinges of homesickness.
The one good/bad (depending on how you look at it) thing about traveling on your own is you have a lot of time to reflect. Which is exactly what I wanted. I wanted time away from my normal routine to clear my head and think and reflect about my life. But with that also comes some reflection on what I left behind and some longing for that comfort and familiarity.
I've noticed when I walk by couples on the street who are all googly-eyed for each other my heart sinks a bit and I get a little sad for what I gave up. At one point this week while lying in bed I went back and looked at some of my old Facebook profile pictures and started tearing up remembering a lot of good times. While I knew it wouldn't matter how many miles I put between me and my past life, the heartache seems to tag along everywhere- even to gorgeous cities in Europe.
It's been almost a full week away and I think I am only now realizing how much more time I have in front of me to be on my own. When planning this trip 5 weeks didn't seem like enough time for everything I wanted to do. Now it seems like too much time to be alone. And while I know this whole experience, the fun and exciting as well as the lonely and sad are all good for me, I didn't think I'd be feeling the lonely part so soon.
Luckily, my younger brother is joining me for a week as we explore Berlin and Prague and celebrate my 30th birthday. I'm excited to have him here, not only so I have some familiar company but to also share this experience with someone.
Until next time...