Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 10:29 (UTC+0100)

Passing quickly through the relatively welcoming customs and immigration I stepped out into a cold fresh wind on The Continent.  Away from the roudy noises of the British bachelor parties heading for Amsterdam I found peace walking through the IJmuiden harbor and catching the local bus to Haarlem.  A yellow train eased into the classic hardwood and ironwork station and whisked me away to Rotterdam.  Now I was passing through the world of red brick buildings and bicycles on dedicated paths and canals and daffodils.

My accommodations were not unlike my cabin on the ferry, minus the personal bathroom and shower.  The CityHub capsule hotel has a touch screen automated checkin process, and I selected "upper bunk" style capsule, overlapping with the next door "lower bunk" one in a totally efficient use of space.

Here in the "Cool District" (by the way, "cool" in Dutch actually means "coal") are many fun restaurants and my eclipse buddies Olaf and Merel took me to a Mexican joint for a good margarita and decent huevos rancheros (Dutch style with a bun instead of tortillas).  The talk immediately went into planning for the next total solar eclipse in December in Chile/Argentina.

Later in the evening I took a stroll in the biting wind that had toppled numerous parked bicycles so that it looked as if vandals had run through.  Modern cosmopolitan Rotterdam makes old Edinburgh seem like an historical relic.  Back at the capsule hotel you could even pour yourself a drink by tapping your RFID wristband then dispensing your measure from a tap.  It is high tech but does not give the cozy feel of an Edinburgh pub.