Monthly Archives: July 2006

I amsterdam: “Let’s get our bags – and run!”

“I amsterdam” says the gigantic slogan that is literally standing at the Museumplein (Museum Square) in Amsterdam.

I went on a daytrip to Amsterdam on Tuesday to visit a friend (actually one of my former neighbours) from Sweden, who went with some friends on a “Europe by Rails” trip and stopped by in the capital city of the Netherlands. Originally I had planned to start the trip from Maastricht by train, but since I still haven’t moved into my room there, my starting point was Cologne or, to be more precise, my hometown Linz on the Rhine.

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Small country, big letters: “I amsterdam” at the Museumplein

First of all, I was lucky because the return ticket by train only cost 38 euro, a special offer by the Deutsche Bahn. It was an offer that is only valid on the route from Cologne to Amsterdam, had I entered “Linz on the Rhine” as my departure city on the Bahn’s website, it would have cost around 100 euro. The train itself is called “ICE international” and it is one of the latest ICE 3-type high-speed trains the Bahn has.

However, in the Netherlands the train runs at a very low speed. Inside, the conductors were either German or Dutch and it was really funny to hear the Dutch annoucements spoken by the German conductors. They sounded so weird. A bit faulty was also the display in the train. It said, for instance, “we want to take leave from our passengers in Duisburg”. That was supposed to mean “we want to say good-bye from our passengers who leave the train in Duisburg”. The Dutch translation of this read as if somebody had died.

Free Energizers

Having arrived in Amsterdam, we walked around the city a bit with several museums being our final destination. However, we always decided not to enter a particular museum because it was either too crowded or too expensive. I actually saw more tourists than Dutch people there. When we had lunch on a square, we got some flyers with a voucher for a “free visit” and “free energizers” of a “drug museum”. Since you never get something valuable for free in Holland, it clearly was an advertisement for a coffeshop.

I still don’t know whether I should like or dislike Amsterdam. The “Grachten” canals are beautiful, but somehow the city looks overcrowded and a bit dirty to me. Not to forget about the many drug tourists. Three of such tourists were in the train on my way back, one of them was finally “caught” by the German customs. The other two just shouted (they were from Los Angeles) “let’s get our bags and run!” Then they left the train in a hurry in Düsseldorf, originally they had planned to travel via Frankfurt to Prague. I don’t know what happened to the third guy.