On this trip you never know when you’re going to run into someone again. That was certainly the case my first night in Amsterdam.
I had a 2 hour train ride on EuroStar from London to Brussels. Yes, the same Brussels that is home to the ‘Muscles from Brussels’ – Jean Claude Van Damme!
Then there was a 3 1/2 train ride from Brussels to Amsterdam. There are trains every hour and I totally miscalculated how long the trip would take, so I didn’t eat before I got on the train. Mistake.
On the train I got a text message from Leon, who I met in my hostel in South Africa and is from Holland. He was willing to meet me in Amsterdam.
After having an excellent and inexpensive dinner (Thanks Leon!), Leon took me on an impromptu bike tour of Amsterdam.
See in Amsterdam, everyone gets around on bikes. And I was on the back of the bike below while Leon pedaled through the cold streets of Amsterdam, pointing out places of interest for a solid 30 minutes. Above and beyond the call of duty my friend. I thank you!
The one thing about hostels that give it an advantage over hotels is that hostels have a built in way to meet people: the common area. You sit, you start chatting to the person next to you and suddenly you’re buddies with promises to keep in touch and drop in if you happen to be in the neighborhood.
Most hotels you go to your room, you sit until you go out and then you come back. Maybe you chat someone up in an elevator, but the elevator has a built in timer when the doors open. Mind you I love staying in a comfy room by myself and will gladly do it if the price is right. But the friendship and camaraderie are what make hostels such a nice place to be, even if you can afford the big room to yourself.