Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 55-58: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of those places that you have an idea about. It's infamous, really. When the opportunity to go on a group trip through our exchange university came up, a bunch of us jumped on the idea. Cheap travel and hostel for a weekend away. Sounded like a great idea! It was, except for the travel part. 11 hours on a bus (we drove/took a ferry). I wouldn't do it again, since the flight is apparently less than an hour, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless. I'm continually realizing that I take less and less pictures each trip. No particular reason, just less concerned with snapping pictures and more so enjoying the scenery and such.

Thursday evening we left from UH by coach to begin the journey. I literally slept the entire way, from UH to Dover, while on the ferry, and from Calais to Amsterdam. I've got a knack for sleeping on most forms of transportation, it comes in handy when you travel this much. We arrived Friday morning about 10 and left the bags at the hostel as usual. The 4 of us girls decided to get out and explore a little of the city before check-in. We found the Iamsterdam sign, which must look prettier in the summer. There was some construction around the area, so we couldn't get a good picture. After some looking around and getting lunch at a cafe, we then headed back to look around the Vondelpark, a public park next to our hostel. It wasn't really warm in the city, but nice enough to go around with a light jacket. Better than freezing! We headed into the hostel to nap then explore a little more. Around 4 we left to go back and see the Van Gogh museum. It was pretty interesting, but no pictures. I tend to listen in museums, people there always seem so much more strict.

The first evening we decided to explore some of the night life a little more. The girls on the trip decided to head to the Red Light District and look around. Without going into details, it was interesting and not something I'd do again, but it was quite funny to experience. The tour group organized for us all to go to a couple of bars, so after our walk around we all joined in with the group and headed out for a while. Myself and K left early, which was about 1, to head back and sleep for the next day's activities.

Saturday morning we were up and on the go in time to catch the free breakfast. Always fun trying to do that. We all managed to make it on time to the meeting point for the Sandeman's free walking tour. Always an interesting way to spend a couple of hours. This one was a little darker than most, because of Amsterdam's history, but very informative. The areas we were in were pretty quiet since it was early, so it was nice to see the city as it really is for locals.

the copious amounts of mayo, served with fries. really tasty!

tulips about to sprout

see the tiny tiny house?
After the walking tour, we walked around a little more to see the city. Went to the Anne Frank House which was definitely something you need to see if you're in the 'dam. There weren't any pictures allowed so none from there. The museum is laid out really well, since it was designed by Anne's father Otto. To be in the rooms where they lived in hiding were really heavy. I did enjoy learning about her story, need to read her book soon as I haven't before.

We headed back to the main square for some souvenir shopping after that. Lots of pretty things of course, even tulip bulbs you could buy. I thought about it but I was afraid I might squish them. Back to the hostel after that to get ready for the night. K and I had waffles on the walk back then supper when we arrived at the hostel. We had all booked the Ultimate Red Light Pub Crawl for the night. It was definitely an experience. 6 bars and lots of shots. A much better pub crawl than the last, for sure.

swans in the canal
Sunday was a slightly hungover day, with no pictures as we were just driving back. We ended up stopping in Belgium to go to a chocolate factory. I ate far too much junk food and not nearly enough actual food. Slept a lot on the way back, and so ended that weekend's trip!

More to update of course, til next time!

No comments: