So, you may be wondering what on earth happened to my plan to fly to Rome. Well, as a standby passenger I was not able to get on to the flight to Atlanta in time to allow me to catch my flight to Rome. So it goes. Instead, I flew to Amsterdam then took a train to Paris, and another train to Florence where I am now. Here are my thoughts and experiences of each place…
For some reason, my luggage did not make it onto the plane with me when I left Atlanta so I had to spend a night in Amsterdam to wait for my luggage to arrive in the morning. I stayed at a cheap hotel near the airport called Hotel Etap. My room had a double bed as well as a bunk above. The walls were light green reminding me of my apartment in Cedar City, of all things. I went to sleep at about 4 or 5 o’clock Amsterdam time. Of course, despite my exhaustion, I had trouble sleeping. I was awakened by a knock at 7 am and felt much better despite my insomnia. After all, I did sleep more than I had in a while and adjusted myself to the time zone while I was at it.
I went back to the airport and retrieved my luggage. Delta seems to not hold my luggage in high regard as it is not in the greatest of shape. After that, I took a short train ride to Amsterdam Centraal Station, where I had a 3 hour wait before departing to Paris. In lieu of attaching myself to my luggage and hanging around the platform for the duration of the wait, I stuffed my bags into a locker and took a walk around Amsterdam. I didn’t see any of the interesting tourist attractions. I simply walked. As far as I can tell, Amsterdam is a nice place aside from the oodles of garbage littering the sidewalk and the multiple sex-shops. Gross.
Eventually, the time came to hop onto my train. I was lucky enough to get a window seat. From my window I saw many wonderful things and made a list of what I saw. Some things I saw: modern windmills, old windmills, cows, sheep, gardens.
I spent about an hour in Paris. I saw Gare du Nord, Gare de Bercy, and the Metro. I did take a short walk from the Bercy Metro stop to Gare de Bercy above ground. I wanted to stop at every cafe I saw, alas I had to catch a night train.
From the night train, before it got dark, I saw much of the French countryside. France is a lovely place. I am sad that my only experience with it at this point is what I could see from a train. One thing that interests me greatly is the prevalence of a certain yellow flower. I don’t know what flower it is. But from the train I saw dozens and dozens of fields of the same yellow flower.
Firenze is a lovely place where, in the streets cars, pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, and tourist lines mingle together in a delicate cascade of function. It is fascinating to watch.
Fulfilling a dream I have had since high school, I climbed to the top of the Cupola of Il Duomo di Firenze today. From the top I could see all of Firenze. All the roofs are tiled in orange and the streets are nothing close to the block design of Salt Lake. After being here for only three and a half hours, I love it already.
And let me just say, that nothing is more delicious than an Italian croissant filled with marmalade, and a cup of hot chocolate–dark hot chocolate–after going twelve hours or more without eating. I believe I ate and drank in about three minutes flat, an unusual feat for my slow-eating habits. Yum. Now I want lunch. Because of my strange arrival time, I have no idea where my Utah friends are and have to figure out my lunch by myself. I guess that is okay. Now the question is, lunch or nap first?