After getting our ferry to Holland, our plan was to get a train to Amsterdam, look around during the day, and then take a night train to Berlin. When we got to the train station in Amsterdam, however, we discovered that the night train was all booked up and our Eurail passes weren’t going to get us on.
That meant that we could either take a train during the day and entirely skip Amsterdam, or stay the night. We decided to stay and find a hotel room.
Unfortunately, it was also the weekend, a big world cup match for Holland, and high season for tourism. We set out walking through the city, but hotel after hotel was full. It was ironic because based on Brazil, I had been thinking that I might not ever make hotel reservations again, but in Amsterdam I was really regretting not having them. It reminded me of something I had seen a few days before: when we had been in London I went to the easyHotel reception for something around 2 am and a lady came in nearly begging for a room, but everything was full. After a awhile looking for a hotel in Amaterdam I began to be afraid that that would be me, stranded and desperate late into the night. We had tried the budget hotels and hostels first, but none had room. We had also been walking around for almos two hours, and it was surprisingly hot too.
By this time Laura was sitting on a bench on a street corner watching our stuff while I ran from place to place. (I was literally almost running at various times because there were other touists all over also trying to find rooms.) I was hot, tired, and drenched in sweat when I entered a new square with several more hotels. I didn’t have much hope, but I started asking and a the last one there was one room left. It cost €70, they wouldn’t hold it for me for even ten minutes, and I wasn’t allowed to see it first, but I took it anyway.
The room didn’t end up being fancy, but it wasn’t terrible either. It was a bathroom-down-the-hall type hotel, and our room was on the fourth floor (what would be the fifth floor in the US). Unfortunately that meant a lot of stairs and some stuffiness, but we also had a small window overlooking a canal, so that was nice. The hotel also included breakfast in the price of the room, and it ended up being pretty decent.
After this experience, we decided to be much more prepared for the cities we visit. We solidified our lodging plans for our next cities using the hotel’s free Internet, and we familiarized ourselves better with the rail system’s websites so we can make future reservations. All in all getting a room in Amsterdam was pretty exhausting, but also very educational.