Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Amsterdam {Day 4}

Our last day in Amsterdam rolled around and the weather app informed us that it was mostly going to drizzle, which wasn't much of a surprise. We checked out but left our luggage at the hotel and went to see the tallest windmill in the Netherlands. It was a long walk, but we were glad that the rain was only light. 








As is quite normal, we approached the area where the windmill should be, and weren't sure where this enormous thing was because the land is so flat and the buildings in the area fairly high. But, suddenly, there it was! 
It really is quite a monstrosity, and very impressive. So, we seized the opportunity for a selfie with the landmark and then headed on our merry way to Haarlemerstraat on the other side of the city.  






Haarlemerstr. was full of coffee shops to smoke weed in, cheese shops, quirky little random shops, and all sorts of things to look at. Towards Haarlemmerplein we came across a shop full of board and card games so we peeked in there, but board games in Dutch weren't ideal. We did find a basin of random chess pieces though, and since Malcolm's chess set is missing a pawn, he bought a replacement. The jokes that one can make about Malcolm's pawn that he bought in Amsterdam are numerous... especially since it's our only souvenir from the city!



At Haarlemmerplein we convinced ourselves that it was marvelous weather for a picnic and constructed some sandwiches on a bench in the drizzle. We must have looked quite pathetic but I couldn't help but laugh at how miserable Malcolm looked and what a sight we must have been.


From there, there wasn't much left on our to-do list, other than to wander through the shops in the 9 Straatjies and then huddle under our umbrella and enjoy some Nutella smothered Churros.



We picked up our bags at the hotel and then walked to the train station. Malcolm is my absolute hero for carrying the bag all the way, especially since in total we'd walked about 12km that day already!





We hung out in the station for a tiny bit and then caught our train perfectly on time. The trip should have taken 4 hours to Frankfurt but suddenly, close to Limburg, our train stood still. The driver informed us that another train had called in an emergency and we had to wait for more info... not long afterwards we were allowed to proceed, but at a snails-pace. It was somewhat eerie, moving slowly not really knowing why and not being able to see anything outside except distant towns every now and again. At the slow pace, the train would tilt to the side as the tracks are designed for high speed, and the automatic doors between carriages had to be pushed open manually because of the angle.

We finally arrived at Frankfurt station 2 hours late, and as soon as the doors open we tore off towards platform 13 because a train to Marburg was scheduled to leave in the same minute. Again, Malcolm was a champion as he had the heavy bag! We were about to board the train when the conductor asked if we were headed to Fulda. Realising it was the wrong one, he informed us that the opposite train was Marburg-bound. We rushed across the platform to the next train, and because the train splits up at some point, had to run to the very last carriage. We were so relieved to finally flop into a seat and the train started moving a minute later!
We couldn't figure out, though, what train we were on. I realised that the train we had actually wanted to take and had sprinted for was only scheduled for an hour later. And the train that we were on should have left 40 minutes earlier and was simply delayed. There shouldn't have been a train there waiting for us at all, so I was extra thankful that there was!

Our trip was a fun one. Sometimes, it's good simply to get out of town. With Marburg surrounded by hills, I still feel somewhat enclosed sometimes, since the horizon is always so close. And getting to see and experience something new together, seeing places which, growing up in South Africa, have always seemed so far away and so unreachable, really is a privilege.

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