europe: france, belgium, amsterdam, oh my

Friday, August 13, 1999

I seem to spend a lot of time sitting and waiting, especially when it comes to finding lodging. I’m currently sitting on the stairs outside Amsterdam’s visiting information building watching our stuff while Rosie is waiting in line trying to get us accommodations for the evening.

After leaving Bath two days ago, we drove down to Salisbury, which is in the southwest corner of Great Britain. The drive took about two? Hours or so and was a straight shot out of Bath. After arriving in Salisbury, we found a nice B&B for the evening, dropped off our stuff and headed out to Stonehenge.

Like everything else in that bloody country, Stonehenge cost ₤3 to see (approximately $5). Once there, we were able to walk around the stone pillars, but not touch or walk through them. Even so, it was an impressive sight. Awe inspiring and curious. The guided electronic tour gave little insight into why it was made, but the view was enough without the inanely chatty electronic interpreter.

After visiting Stonehenge, we spent the night reading and resting, preparing for our travels. We left Salisbury and headed for London to drop off our car and take a train to begin our crossing of the channel to mainland Europe.

We dropped the car off in Heathrow airport, took the underground to Victoria station and caught a train to Dover. From Dover, we got on a ferry and crossed to Calais. The ferry was rather impressive with 4 different restaurants, at least 10 shopping stores and a number of lounges, all for ₤12, discounted with out Eurorail pass.

From Calais we took our first Eurorail train to Lille, France. This is where we ran into problems. We attempted to call head to something, Belgium to get a room for the night, but all the places listed in our Let’s go Europe book were booked. After much deliberation, we decided to chance it and attempted to get on the train, but thanks to a broken time display, we missed it.

We then looked around at the local hotels for a place for the night, but after seeing a number of hookers coming out of them, we hopped on a train for Antwerp, Belgium, where we found a seedy hotel to stay the night in. After a McDonald’s lunch the next morning, we took the Eurorail to Amsterdam, where I am currently sitting outside the TiC waiting for a place to drop off our stuff and begin exploring.

Greg is flying in tomorrow. It’ll be nice to talk with someone other than Rosie. As long as I can resist my homicidal urges for less than 24 hours, everything will be fine.