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Costly Amsterdam (and Berlin, Prague reports late)

Here I am in Amsterdam, an uncognizant (word?) poet.

The public library has a free 30 minute Internet access period so I’m typing away furiously here.

Amsterdam is expensive, expensive, expensive. If you want to go in anywhere, it’s at least 5€. Food is silly too. At least it’s relatively compact and walkable, so we wasted (in retrospect) even more money on our public transport passes. Oops.

The Resistance museum was pretty good but frightening as it didn’t (completely) dance around the complacency of much of the populace. The Anne Frank Huis was very well-done, with stairs in their back-breaking original setup.

It’s true: literally everyone in Amsterdam (for my sample, anyway) speaks perfectly good English.

Tonight the luggage lockers close at 23h but our train won’t leave until… 04h or so? So you might see me on the Internet later for pay. Yes, I am staying awake until then just to see Luxembourg: got a problem with that?

Most of the sights I’ve seen so far are about what you’d expect, so since time is limited I’ll confine my writing to surprises. The Van Gogh museum is, in my opinion, badly overpriced: 10€ for a collection not nearly that big. Prices at most places about about 0,50 or 1 over what the guidebooks thought at the beginning of the year. Our hostel, the Shelter Jordan, has cheap and good food in its café and provided a very nice, non-pushy interpretation of Christianity’s ideas on hospitality and fairness. It’s also extremely well-run for the low cost, and provided… be afraid, dear reader… full-strength orange juice! Sure, fresh from the box, but not unrecognizable like most hostel breakfast swill.

Muddled impressions from the last few cities… I liked Berlin. We ended up stumbling into a free game-watch at a cultural center which has been taken over by Brazil for the duration and watching the Brazilian victory. We also saw the Brandenburg gate, Checkpoint Charlie, and all the normal Berlin stuff. Hmm, what else… Jewish museum, monument to the murdered Jews of Europe, lots of World Cup excitement, tasty bratwurst, exciting ticket inspection raids on the U-bahn, the world’s new largest train station in Berlin Hbf, a unreasonably reasonably priced drugstore/mini-grocery in the same, the amazing free view from the Reichstag dome, a few rides on bus 100 including the Tiergarten and statue in middle, the (entrance to the) Zoo, the Olympic Stadium, the Alexanderplatz area and TV tower… OK, I had a good time, anyway.

In Prague we mostly tried to keep up with the German guided tour, which didn’t work too well–I understood the Latin in the churches better–but it was still interesting. We ate at some place which I will later shame in these pages for the shameless hidden 30 czk cover charge applied per person, and had earlier been cheated (even on the receipt) at a change-house. That is to say, Prague served as a wonderful reminder of the Euro’s usefulness.

My time is drawing to an end and I still have some stuff to look up, so that’s all for now.

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