Red Light District

Red Light District

I can’t totally wrap my head around the idea of legalized prostitution. I’m in Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal and controlled. I guess it makes sense on some level, it provides a measure of security and standards for prostitutes, and protects the victims of vices. Still, I can’t totally wrap my head around it.

Whenever you hear about the red light district, people talk about prostitutes in booths. In my head, I imagined a large square with prostitutes in toll-like-booths. In fact, I hadn’t really considered any other options. In reality, its really more like window shopping for sex instead of driving through a toll. “Storefronts” are lit with red lights, and prostitutes are just hanging out, on display, by the window.

Very strange.

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Train Traveling Time

Train Traveling Time

I’ve spent a lot of time on trains in the past few days.

I took the train from Copenhagen to Berlin. The train got drove right onto the car cabin of a ferry and sailed across the North Sea to Germany. The ferry itself was like an airport, chock full of duty free shops selling oversized candy and cigarettes. I had 25 hours in Berlin, and I filled my time with German beer (bier) and the many sights (see photos in the previous blogpost). I had some trouble with the U and S Bahn, for one I kept calling it the metro – a big no no. It also took me a while to get a handle on the train map, and but people were happy to help.

In the morning I took a long run through East part of the city. In the afternoon I walked through the sights of Berlin with a friend. At night I took an overnight train from Berlin to Zurich. The overnight train is wonderful, its relaxing to be rocked to sleep by the movements of the train. Julia (the sister of my former D.C. roommate Andrea) met me in Zurich, and we’ve been traveling on the train ever since. We traveled to Bern, where we stayed with Julia’s aunt. We took day trips to the lake at Lugano in southern Switzerland and to Lake Como in the northern lake region in Italy. There happened to be an art exhibit on Chagall, Kandinsky and Malevich in Como. My thesis includes Kandinsky, and I was happy for the find. We also traveled to Ballenberg to see a museum on the different houses in Switzerland. The museum was sort of like a nature preserve for endangered housing styles. As I write this, Julia and I are on our way to Zurich to stay with her other aunt.

I love train travel. I love the captive environment and the passing scenery. European trains are very comfortable. Travelers usually do not have to make any sort of reservation, unless traveling overnight or in Italy. And no, the trains do not run on time there. Train travel has given me the time to read books and the sometimes difficult to find Herald Tribune and to stare out the window at the Alps. I want to be close to the mountains.

The Europass is awesome and well worth it. Its already paid for itself. I bought the 21 country Global Pass, 10 travel days in 2 months, so I am free to go anywhere I please. I’m staying with friends in Spain, and am purposely keeping my plans vague to exploit this well deserved freedom.

I might go to Amsterdam instead of Brussels. Oh, and happy Fourth of July!