The only thing that I really have to say about this, is outside of taking a photo, don’t ever stand in a London phone box. They smell strongly of a homeless urinal.
Around the corner from our temporary residence at the Albareda Youth Hostel, Justin and I found a rather picturesque and quiet park where we could smoke. The view once we climbed to the top of the crumbling stone steps was astonishing. With the port illuminated and water glistening, stoned or not, this was a sight that made me happy that I don’t care about anything but seeing as much as I can with these eyes.
First night in Amsterdam, my friend and ex-pat Nikki and her Dutch beau Varen took me and my travel mate Pat in and gave us a place to stay. What they also offered was a wealth of knowledge on how to have a great time in this beautiful city of canals, cobblestone, and bridges. After a full day of sightseeing and exploring, we all felt the need to lay low until we went out that evening. Nikki told us that she’d see us around midnight and to be ready at the latest by one.
Leaving for a night out on the town at 12AM definitely took some getting used to the first couple of nights that we were afforded to go out. It was even stranger for us to be the early birds on the evening. Getting to the Leidseplein and having no idea where I was or what to do with myself was an endless thrill.
I made my way from my friends, to strangers who looked enough like they would want to socialize with me. People all around, grabbing my arms, and hands, pulling me to dance with them, to talk to them. Strangers quickly disappeared and were replaced by friendly faces with names, and stories. Someone from one side tapping me on my shoulder, asking to touch my hair. Inviting me to their circles to go smoke, or partake in any other festivities the evening may have brought our way. I was fucking free.
My friends decided to turn in around 4 that night, and I took it upon myself to get the most out of the night that I could. I stuck around with a mixed group of Spanish and Australian kids as we proceeded to drink, smoke, dance, and laugh our way to 5:30 AM.
As things started to slow down, we began to head our separate ways. The need to exchange information was never pressing, as in situations like this, you meet people that you enjoy and hope that if you were meant to be in that person’s life, you would find a way to cross paths on your travels. Maybe in that same city, maybe across the world at a different time. So, on my own, I made my way back towards Oud-West and the comforts of an air mattress and a blacked out basement in a friend’s house. I only knew a few streets and a few landmarks, so the way that I got there was certain not to be the way I took back. The sun was up, and my eyes were strained by the incoming light, but I found the peace of a silent street lined with bicycles and scooters.
In those ten minutes of tranquility, I couldn’t have been any happier with the decisions that had led me to being in this position.
The cheapest flights are at the shittiest times.
You can get so lost in Rome, very quickly. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, as that’s how I stumbled upon this. But getting lost there, in most cases, can turn into a wonderful adventure that takes that average traveler off of their itinerary and allow them to see the real beauty of a city. That’s something a museum or a tour can’t give you.
I remember walking from the S-Bahn stop to our hostel. I poked my head around the corner and saw a piece of the Berlin wall. How fortunate!