Amsterdam has a very unique feel, though perhaps it was simply the smell of burning weed emanating from the various coffee shops I had passed the night before while looking for a place to eat. Arriving in the city later in the night than I expected, and with the next train to Paris leaving before 10am, I didn’t have near enough time to explore like I wanted, although I did manage find a shop that sold wooden clogs.
I arrived at the station moments before the train left, and apparently I needed a reservation. Luckily the train wasn’t overbooked, and I was able to buy one on the train. Before long, I was leaving the Netherlands and entering Belgium. Exchanging passengers in Brussels, the train set off again, and started to pick up speed before topping out near 200mph. At those speeds, Paris arrived in no time.
I walked out of the station and towards the night’s lodgings. I checked in and climbed the eight flights of stairs towards my room. The steps were steep, though not nearly as much as those in the Netherlands. I dropped off a few of my things before heading out into the city. As I made my way towards the metro, I couldn’t help but notice how familiar the city felt to me, as though I was no longer in a foreign place. I attributed the sensation to the years of French classes I had taken in high school.
Glenn Miller piped through the metro’s speakers, and I wondered if subways in New York, D.C., or Los Angeles would have the same. I decided they wouldn’t, helped to reinforce the city’s stereotype of being the cultural capital of the world. In my mind, at least.