Tuesday 30 September 2014--I'm taking the train to Amsterdam today--the local to Brussels, then the high-speed train
that runs from Paris to Amsterdam. It's more expensive than the standard train by a good bit, but it's worth it--it takes an hour less,
and there's no change. And it's still a good chunk cheaper than the rental car was; the one-way fee was more than the rental itself.
Walking to the station in Bruges, I pass through a picturesque neighborhood that I hadn't seen before, giving me cause to think about
what I've missed here, and whether it might be worthwhile to return. I like Bruges in much the same way that I like Amsterdam, and I've
left a few things undone here, as usual, not least taking in the view from Belfort. I don't know if I can justify a return trip, though.
Amsterdam is a travel hub that I am happy to kill a day or two in, on my way from here to there. Bruges requires a bit more intent.
I'm sorry, too, to be missing the drive through the Belgian and Dutch countrysides, although I'm relieved that I don't have to navigate the streets of Amsterdam on my way in. The train arrives at the central station, and I can catch a tram from there to Leidseplein, where my hotel is; but I've thoughtlessly left myself with nothing smaller than a €50 note, which I suspect will be difficult to change on the tram. I start walking, meaning to grab a bite to eat somewhere and then take the tram. End up walking the whole way--it isn't really all that far. Check into the hotel and take a short nap.
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Thursday 30 September 2004--Awoke at about 7:45, aware that we were docking at Florø, and threw on my clothes to get a look topside. Cute little town. We loaded up at breakfast and spent the rest of the brilliant, nearly cloudless day watching the coastal scenery go by. Undulating rock, occasional massive stone loaves, sparse scrubby growth. When I set up the trip, I was worried that a full day on the ferry would be too long, but we were sorry to see it end. We floated in through the suburbs of Bergen, docking at 2:30pm.
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Get up and wander around a while. Find a kebab outside Dam Square. Pass a hat shop that has the exact same hat I lost, in the window...€60. No thanks. End up at Café 't Smalle, my favorite pub in town. I have a couple of La Chouffes there, and then a nightcap at Gollem's Proeflokaal, back near the hotel.