In my last article, I talked about some things to do while in Amsterdam.
I returned from the bike ride damp from the rain and covered in mud. So I couldn’t wait to take a shower. Unfortunately, I had the worst (and most comical) bathing experience I’ve ever had in my life. It was a far cry from the relaxing night I’d envisioned. The bathroom was rather spacious, with a window perched close to the high ceiling that let in natural sunlight. It was a fun orange color, with big light bulbs that went around the mirror. Despite the fancy light bulbs, the bathroom was rather dim once it was dark. I shrugged – I’d showered in darker places. I wasn’t about to let dim lighting ruin my night – I was going to relax while traveling abroad if it killed me.
As I stepped into the shower, the lights suddenly turned off. I was left in pitch darkness. Confused, I stepped back out to head towards the light switch, only to have the lights suddenly switch back on. I stood shivering in the middle of the room, trying to wipe the water out of my eyes. I squinted and saw that there was an automatic sensor that triggered once the light switch was activated.
“How environmentally conscious,” I thought, smiling to myself as I stepped back into the shower. Suddenly the water turned off. The shower faucet was a push button, like the kind one can find on a beach… yes, the one you have to continuously press in order for water to come out. Again, I thought, “What a conscious hostel! Amsterdam is incredible.”
I figured I had about 30 seconds of continuous water before needing to push the button again, so I hurriedly tried to shampoo my hair. Before I could even begin washing it, the lights in the bathroom turned off again. Trying to blink suds out of my eyes, I had to step out of the shower and wave my arms around – spraying water and soap everywhere – to activate the light again. Back in the shower, the water turned off just as a big glob of suds dripped into my eyes. I blindly looked for that stupid button only to find out that the lights had turned off again by the time I had rinsed the soap out of my eyes. This cycle continued until I finally – finally – finished my shower. I’ve never been so relieved to finish.
Relax While Traveling – It’s a Vacation!
By the time I’d finished my shower, everyone seemed really tired (I later discovered that I hadn’t even finished rinsing the conditioner out of my hair), so I decided to take advantage of the hostel’s laundromat in the lobby area. I decided to pass the time in the lobby, reading the copy of The Hobbit that I’d picked up while visiting Oxford before a group member invited me up to their room. The rest of the night was filled with games, nachos, and late-night talks. As I folded my now clean (thank god) laundry into my suitcase, I felt so glad to have had a night to relax while traveling abroad. I’d felt so much pressure to go out and experience each city we’d been to so far that I forgot that taking a breather is necessary.
A Stop in Cologne, Germany
The next morning, we loaded up onto a bus to head to Frankfurt, Germany. We made a stop in Cologne, our first German city of the trip. I remember noticing a sort of cultural clash. There were many extremely modern buildings jammed into the same plaza as an ancient church that looked almost as old as Notre Dame. It was another drizzly day, and I remember being in a low mood. We had lunch at some healthy fast food place; I wound up pointing to a random thing on the menu and wound up with a salad.
There were workers with briefcases and suits that had swarmed the area for lunch. I didn’t want to go too far exploring. We only had fifteen or twenty minutes after lunch before we left. I didn’t want to wind up lost in the one country whose language I knew for sure I couldn’t decipher at all.
Join me next time as I talk about our night in Frankfurt, Germany and our drive through the Black Forest.