It’s a long distance from the south of Poland to Amsterdam, and with my limited schedule I couldn’t afford to waste an entire day by traveling, choosing to waste a night instead. I climbed aboard my train, and into a cabin with a Polish family. I found that they could speak French, but it was too fast for me to comprehend. Luckily their son spoke enough English to tell me I’d have to change trains in the middle of the night. Before then, however, I’d be kicked from the cabin once the someone with a reservation arrived, and forced to join others that were laying in the aisle way, attempting to do best to stay out of the way as people passed by.
At some point, I woke to a knocking on the glass of the cabin next to me. It was the father of the family I had sat with earlier. He was outside the train, and it took a moment but I assumed we had reached the station that I needed to change trains at. I made my way outside and looked for where I needed to be. Asking around yielded what I could only guess to be “go to the front,” and so I did, later finding out that the last few cars would be detached and the front continue onwards.
I fell back asleep, waking again as the train arrived in Berlin, only to find my train to Amsterdam would be departing from a different station. Taking an inner-city shuttle, I arrived at the Berlin-Ostbahnhoff and realized that it’d still be another three trains before arriving in the Netherlands later in the evening.
Exhausted, after a day of uncomfortable travel and lack of sleep, I headed to my hostel and checked in. The receptionist led me up the steepest flight of stairs I’d ever climbed, made more uncomfortable by the low ceiling. I dropped my stuff off and headed downstairs to get something to eat. It was my 21st birthday, I’m dutch, and I wanted to celebrate with something of my heritage. I settled on a couple of Heinekens.