pasted from an email:
arrived in Paris, met Adam and Bits and had a lunch of “salade au foie”, foie meaning liver (i guess). Within 12 hours I experienced all the classic signs of food poisoning and was confined to my room for the next day. I will never eat liver again, just the thought makes me feel ill. Not a good start, but the next day Mel and Jem arrived, and Jem’s friend Jared. We went and saw the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, all that tourist stuff. Paris was OK, and I have a few good memories, but it wasn’t as beautiful as I expected. Also, I felt sick :P. It turns out that I remember more French than I thought and was able to communicate basically.
We rented a car and drove to the city of Lille where we stayed the night in a typically french hotel above a cafe. Lille is a nice city. The next day we drove to Belgium and stayed in the city of Brugge (Bruges) which is a cool medieval city. We found a great hotel and I shared a room with Mel, Jem and Jared which was comfortable and directly overlooked a canal. We enjoyed the Belgian chocolates and beers and browsed some of the local shops before heading out (today) to go to [we didn’t know? north?]
We drove to Antwerpe (in Belgium) but it didn’t look so good so we continued through the country and eventually crossed the border into Holland. It was getting late so we went to Dordrecht to find a hotel – the entire city was fully booked, so we went to Rotterdam. Rotterdam was full, they checked the surrounding cities – everything full. I called ahead to Den Haag – full. We decided to go on to Amsterdam and stopped at every hotel along the way (they were full). AT the Hilton Amsterdam Airport they called around for me (as the only Dutch speaker, I did all of this) and found 2 rooms at the Novotel that would hold us – for AUD$500 each. I gulped and made the reservations – it was 10:30pm at this point and 12C outside. None of us were happy at this massive budget buster but then I had an idea – thanks to my trusty black book I still had the number for the hostel where I stayed in November, and they had 6 beds! we are spolit between 3 dorms but it is only 23 euros each and tomorrow we move into our apartment.