Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Aug 30, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, July 11, 2009

Early Friday morning I stepped onto the Amsterdam train platform with my new sandals I bought in Bremen (a horrible place that I will never return to), and a whole new attitude. I knew that I would never have a bad day in Europe again because I had already had my worst. Yes, Bremen got worse after I posted the note on Thursday, but I won't dwell on it.

As I rode the tram towards my hostel, I noticed how neat the city was. The city runs quite efficiently off its canals. People travel on them by boat, and some people live on the canals with houseboats. People even have floating gardens in he canals. It was neat. The houses that line the streets and canals are really tall and skinny. There are no spaces between one house and the next, but the backs of the houses lead to square courtyards, which are shared with the other hosues. In addition to the cool buildings there is also a lot of greenery. Amsterdam overall is a really pretty city. I like it better than Prague. 

Beauty aside, Amsterdam is by far one of the most exciting places to spend a weekend. There are about 250 "coffee shops" in the city. I may or may not have explored a few of them. You're not allowed to smoke cigareetes in the coffee shops, so there are signs in the door reading, "Smoking only, no tobbacco." Also very cool was the Red Light District. It was very weird. It was a normal street, with a wide canal in the middle. On either side, there were buildings with glass doors at street level. Behind these doors, women stand in bikinis, illuminated by a red light. It was very interesting, there was quite a variety of women standing behind these doors. I didn't take any pictures of the street though. It's somewhat of a taboo. 

Unfortunalely, the Netherlands is being pressured by the European Union to "clean up its act". Within the next few years, the Red Light District and the coffee shops will be a thing of the past. Knowing that this would be the last time I'd see Amsterdam like this, I stayed an extra night. I could have stayed longer but I couldn't afford to. Amsterdam quickly drains the funds. 

I also went to the Heinekin Brewery here. It was really interesting, and they let you taste the beer at the end. 

Also, I discovered something really disgusting over the weekend. After buying some really disgusting smelling cheese, I was sort of weary to buy any more. So, I've been buying a cheese that comes in a cardboard circle, and is induvidually wrapped in tin foil. It's pretty good; it's a really soft cheese that melts in your mouth. So I was with a few friends, and we were having a picnic in the park. A few of them were European, and they were really astounded that I was eating the cheese on its own. When they explained why, I discovered that I've been eating cream cheese for the last few weeks. I've been living off of it as a bed time snack. Sick. 

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