Monday, July 5, 2010

summer trip : DAY 10

Monday, July 5, 2010

I was so reluctant to skip the prepared breakfast at the hotel. It was included in the hotel bill for it to matter much. But the girls were insisting to go out early before the breakfast time. The officer at the ticket counter told us the earliest train would be at 6.14 am. If we miss it, the train would be available hourly for the next hours for the whole day. The thought we had in mind was to maximize the time we’ve got in Amsterdam as the ticket would be available just for a day. In other words, we had only a day to visit Amsterdam.

We bought a special weekend ticket for each of us. We could just pick any time we want to leave and we could go back to Brussels also at any time within a definite time. It was cheaper after all.

It was 5.30 in the morning. We left the hotel for the main station, Gare du Midi. I think Midi stands for middle. We searched for any train to Amsterdam leaving Brussels at 6.14 am. There was none on the screen. The earliest train going to Amsterdam would be at 7.14 am. We waited ‘till the train information office opened. I went and asked about the ticket I bought. The woman confirmed it was the train at 7.14 am. So I found myself a place to get a nap. Before leaving, I got myself a cup of espresso. That was my first coffee in Europe and that caused me unsleeping through the almost 3 hours journey to Amsterdam.

We made it to Amsterdam, Netherlands. The journey in the train was beautiful. Not that the train brought the beautifulness. It was the scenery along the way especially when approaching Amsterdam. It was somewhere at the outskirts of Amsterdam. Green pastures. Prairies wind. Mottled cows. Watery canals. Colorful petals. Aligned trees. Cottage houses.

I couldn’t help myself mumbling words from the song Over the Rainbow. I’ve listened to 3 versions of the song. It was like a theme song for that journey. Heh. I had the Kamakawiwo╩╗ole’s version in my phone. So I kept on listening to the song throughout the journey.

At first when arrived, we couldn’t find any tourist centre. So we stopped by at a book shop looking for any travel guide. I found a novel I’ve been looking in Malaysia and Jordan. The Diary of A Young Girl : Anne Frank. It was a definitive edition. But anyway, I bought it. It was after we went out of the pretty station that we finally found a Tourists Information Office. They didn’t give us any free city map; luckily we’ve got the travel guide book. The lady at the counter gave us recommendations on how to spend a day in Amsterdam. We asked for any suggested routes. We then asked her how to get to the windmills which are popular in Netherlands.

We took bus 91 to Zaanse Schans. It is a peaceful village. The scenery is amazing. It has a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses. There is also a place where we can see how cheeses are made. Netherlands is after all popular with cheese apart from windmills, tulips and wooden clogs.

After that, we went back to the central station and started walking throughout the city. The city’s spirit is embodied in its canals and waterways, spanned by many beautiful bridges, and with elegant houses.

We passed by the National Statue, Madame Tussaud, Bloemenmarkt which is a floating flower market (or actually used to be) and many other monuments and buildings.

We were freaking tired that we decided to just head for our last destination and then find a place for praying. It was Museum Plein, where it has the big words saying ‘I amsterdam.’

I’ve read that Netherlands has about 300 mosques so we were intended to find one. We asked a kind guy at a souvenirs shop for the direction to any nearby mosque. We reached the street where the mosque supposed to be at. We blurred a while as we couldn’t see any building close enough to resemble a mosque. It is a Turkish mosque. So we thought it must be like a small praying room in any building on the street. We were looking for any Turks to ask for the mosque. Thank God suddenly two guys passed by greeted us with Salam. They must’ve noticed the girls with scarf that they were confident to greet us. We replied and they introduced themselves as Umar and Murad. They are Turks. I was so grateful that they greeted us in the middle of nowhere.

So they brought us to a big mosque. It is not a single building. But it is great enough that it has like 2 small towers above it. There is a moon symbol up there. They told us it was a church about 30 years ago. The people of Netherlands though claimed to have faith in Christianity; they didn’t really have a strong relation with the church. The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in Western Europe. Therefore, Muslims applied for turning the churches into mosques. They succeed since the Christians didn’t seem really care about the church.

This mosque we visited was once one of those churches turned into mosques. With drastically growing Muslims population in Netherlands, more and more churches were turned into mosques. There are about a million of Muslims in Netherlands currently as been told by him.

He also told us that Amsterdam is famous for its coffee which has marijuana in it. I was surprised. It is indeed true. The country is like a country of free wills. You can do anything you want around here. Drugs and pornographies can be found widely in the city. That’s just bad for any kids who happen to enter the shops as these things are also being sold in any regular shops like souvenir shops. I think Netherlands is the first country to legalize gay marriages. We can found the special needs for this community as in Gay City Map, Gay Tourists Centre, Gay Guide Book, Gay Information Centre and many others. I was shocked by the fact that this country is free as hell. Human rights as people always say.

Back to the mosque, it is indeed a large mosque. It was a church once for a matter of fact. After performing our obligations, one of the guys (I couldn’t remember which is which – I think it was Murad) offered us his car to take us to the central station where we would take the train back to Brussels. But we didn’t want to trouble him any longer, so we just took a tram.

One after another. It was indeed God’s help. The tram driver gave us a free ride. I glanced at him. Seemed like Malay to me. But he spoke English. Anyway, God bless him. We thanked him and he said, “Next time.” Oh and I believe we passed by an R-rated museum while in the tram. Yeah I saw a board written on it Sex Museum. I can’t imagine what they have inside it. Haha.

We took the last train to Brussels that day, at 8.54 pm. It was almost 12.00 am when we arrived. I was damn tired. The next day would be the journey of coming back to Jordan. So our vacation was approaching its end. Throughout this summer trip, I found many cyclers around the city. It is indeed a good choice to ride a bicycle to have a tour around any city in summer. I was hoping to experience once too if I ever come back to Europe again. I had an intention to rent a bicycle while in Belgium and Amsterdam, but I thought it was ridiculous since I wasn’t traveling alone. Heh.

to be continued...

2 responses:

fnabiL (perasan UK kejap)

tapi kt london pun sama.

bad girls go to london.



bleh2. bad girls r everywhere xcept jordan. oopsiee!

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