Amsterdam - sex, drugs, and bicycles!

Trip Start Feb 07, 2008
Trip End May 08, 2008

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Where I stayed
Budget Hotel, Tourist Inn

Flag of Netherlands  ,
Friday, April 18, 2008

After living in Holland for almost 3 months now, you'd think we would have traveled the country already...that is just not the case here evidently! There was no way I was going home without checking out this provocative city, so a bunch of girls (Mackenzie, Katie, Tess, Jen, Ashley, Ashlee, Collette, Nikki, and myself) decided to make a quick trip out of it this past weekend. Tess found out that there was a Cirque du Soleil performance going on in Amsterdam about a month ago and got us all interested so we booked tickets in advance because I guess it is pretty popular.
It was about a two and a half hour train ride to Amsterdam and we got there at about 5pm on Thursday. Trying to avoid the thousands of bikes that rule the roads, we set out to try and find our hostel so we could drop our bags off and head to the show. Turns out maps of Amsterdam are a little difficult to read sometimes so we got a little lost in the midst of the hundreds of coffee shops (which turns out, don't sell coffee) and bars, but eventually we found the hostel, dropped off our stuff, and found a little kebap shop to grab a bite to eat. Off to the circus!!
A metro ride later, we found ourselves looking at a giant white tent where the show was at. Our tickets said that cameras were "strictly prohibited" so we didn't want to risk it and left our cameras at the hostel and didn't get any pictures of the performance which was rather sad. It was amazing!! I haven't really been to a dance or anything like that before, so it was all kind of new to me--a lot of modern dance, people flying around doing trapeze, climbing poles, flipping around, coming out of the ceiling and up from the floor, and they were all wearing crazy jungle-like costumes. When I think back on it, it seems a little like mass confusion, but it was all choreographed and each scene told a story with the dancer's actions and the music that was being sung/played by the performers walking around on the stage. There was a couple contortionists who I swear didn't have a single bone in their body. At one point, the main lady had her left leg over her right shoulder touching her ear and was hanging upside down spinning....CRAZY! I was thoroughly impressed to say the least and would highly recommend anybody who gets to opportunity to go to a Cirque du Soleil performance to do it!
After the Cirque got done we decided that since we were in Amsterdam and all, we needed to check out the famous Red Light District. This is a crazy world where the buildings are all illuminated with red lights and in the windows wait nearly naked women beckoning for men to come in and pay them for their services. It seems like something that should be illegal in more than several ways, but it is completely normal in Amsterdam and I felt awkward in more than several ways when I was walking down the streets trying not to stare at these girls and wonder what brought them to that level. We weren't allowed to take pictures of these sites, and were told that if we did, someone would through our camera into the canal...yikes! When my head hit the pillow that night, I was still a little confused as to how people actually lived in this crazy city, but had high hopes for Amsterdam in the daylight the next day.
Friday morning we slept in until about 8 (which believe it or not IS sleeping in on our travels) grabbed breakfast at the hostel and met Sarah at the train station so we could do some real site seeing in Holland. Our first stop was the Anne Frank House. This was by far my favorite museum of my European trip-mostly because I knew how real it was and I knew about the story before I set foot in the building. We got to see the bookcase that moved to reveal the hidden attic and walk through all the rooms that Anne herself stayed in for 2 years during the war. It was a really touching experience and a quote at the end of the museum struck a chord in me when it said: "One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way: if we were capable of taking in all the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live." -Primo Levi
We trekked around the city for awhile after that and decided to take a canal tour on a waterbus that afternoon since the weather was no nice and we were all tired from walking. It was a really relaxing, pretty ride and very informational. The guide explained how the houses used to be taxed by how wide they were, which explains why they are all so skinny (we got to see the smallest house in the world-a whopping 3 feet wide!) and some other fun facts about the mayor's house and whatnot.
In our walking adventures earlier, we found a carnival that was going on in Dam Square in the city center so we hiked back there and braved one of the scariest/funnest/most scenic/sickening/awesome rides ever! It was taller than any building in the city and spun around really fast so I got to see the skyline of Amsterdam upside-down which was actually pretty cool! We also went on the more relaxing ferris wheel ride and took a few shots of the city. After the carnival we hit up a few souvenir shops and decided that we had just about enough of Amsterdam as we could handle. We went, we saw, we conquered. Enough for me anyways!
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kylieodell on

You're only young once. I hope you lived it up!

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