“Suitcasing” it in France and sitting like luggage on the TGV

© Sebastian Terfloth; Wikimedia Commons

There’s a reason college students and budget travelers go “backpacking” and not “suitcasing.” Big suitcases without wheels are awkward…very awkward —especially when you are running through the Paris metro trying, ultimately, to get to Gare de Lyon to make it to France’s fastest train, the TGV.

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A Rotterdam hotel: “We only charge by the hour.” – “Oh.” Awkward.

Rotterdam — Amsterdam’s grittier cousin.
© Stephanie Glaser

Visiting the Red Light District in Amsterdam is like going to an amusement park: lots of twinkly lights, displays and crazy characters in abundance. Additionally, a Dutch friend once told me that you’ll find a bigger police presence there than in the rest of the city. Consequently, it’s surealistically safe. Indeed, Amsterdam is well-known for the Red Light District and the more tolerant attitude toward drugs and “sin.”

Rotterdam’s vices, on the other hand, are a little less Vegas. It has always seemed a bit more gritty to me. For example, I actually experienced my first sighting of someone smoking crack in a phone booth – in broad daylight on a quiet city street. Of course, Rotterdam is one of the largest port cities in the world – so there’s bound to be a seedy element somewhere in the city.

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