Alice in Amster-Land
Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
11Trip End Dec 23, 2006
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I went on this trip not knowing either of my travel buddies very well, we were all a little apprehensive about how this weekend was going to go
The first day we were there, they boys stopped by out first coffee-shop of the weekend, and they were playing sort of an obscure reggae album called "Dub Side of the Moon." I am sure that you can guess that it is a cover album of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." It isn't bad, but it mostly makes you wish you were listening to "Dark Side" instead of "Dub Side." Anyway, after the coffee-shop, we headed downtown to meet up with the free tour of Amsterdam, which sucked, so we ditched it about a half hour in. Then we just wandered around the city for the rest of the day. We decided there are 2 very different Amsterdams; there is a normal city during the day, where people work and lead normal lives, and there is the city at night. At night, all the weirdos come out of the woodwork (as with any city) but these are extra-special weirdos. They are armed with the drugs that even the Netherlands didn't legalize. About 100 times a night someone on the street leans over to you from out of the shadows and says "Cocaine? Pills? Ecstasy?" Always in that order, and always in the creepiest way possible
The next day, we got up bright and early to get out free hostel breakfast, and go back to bed. We had been out pretty late the night before. When we finally got up and ready and out of the hostel, it was about 1 pm. We walked down to the Rijksmuseum, and then past it, in search of the Van Gogh Museum. Well, its literally right behind the Rijks, but I was navigating (because I was sober) and I got us lost. Eventually, we found the damn thing, but it was a really round about route. The Van Gogh Museum was one of the best I have been to in Europe so far. The set up was cool, the flow of the pictures was nice, the other impressionists were interesting, there were letters he had written to family and to girlfriends and it was generally really neat.
After that, we went to the Rijksmuseum, where the Rembrandt Exhibition was. I saw not only a bunch of his paintings, but also a ton of his sketches. It was really cool, not as cool as the Van Gogh Museum, but still very cool
We stayed there for the rest of the night, the boys smoked their pot, I drank beers, and we met some very interesting people. Apparently, Amsterdam is where all the Spanish people go for vacations. I know this because everyone we met in Amsterdam was Spanish. I did hear American English being spoken, as well as British English, but generally, it was Spanish. We stayed there talking to people until about 2 am, then went in search of street meat Chinese, and found it around the corner from the pub. We each got our noodles, and ate peacefully. When we left, we got turned around, and couldn't find out way back to the hostel. We ended up walking around for like an hour before we made it back. Our hostel is only a 10 minute walk from where we were. That sucked.
Sunday, I got the boys up nice and early to get some breakfast and head down to the Anne Frank House. Anne Frank house is not something that should be missed. Let me tell you, it was sobering. The more you looked at those rooms, the more you walked through that house, the more you read and saw about her life, the more engrossed you became. The point of the museum isn't to educate about one 12 year old's short and tortured life, but to make you realize how many others there were just like her
After that, we were in need of a good pick-me-up so we went and had a lovely lunch which consisted of bagel sandwiches and coffee. After lunch, we rented bicycles and rode around the city and to Voldelpark. Voldelpark is this huge park in the middle of the city and even on cold and rainy days, it is swarming with the local people out with their kids and dogs and lovers. We rode our bikes for hours in the park, and then took a little detour through the city to return them when our three hours of heaven were up. We rode along the canals and along the trails, through the park and back again
That was Sunday, and our last day in Amsterdam. We again went to the Red Light District, and went on our own pub crawl. We went to I think 4 places, but they were all so dead that we went back to "Hill Street Blues" where we hung for the rest of the night. Got back to the hostel pretty early, about 12:30, and went home the next morning.
I have been doing a whole lot of nothing since I got back. Actually, I think that I am becoming a professional homework procrastinator. I should be doing a lot of things, but instead I re-name all my photos, and rearrange them into new files. I write long rambling emails to people, and I generally fool around on the Internet, looking at hockey stats and standings. That is my week in a nutshell.
This coming weekend will be my last in Europe, and I am planning on spending it here in Prague with my friends. This is the last time we will all be together again, so everyone is pretty jazzed about hanging out this weekend. After this, me (like many others), are headed home. Back to our lives and families. Back to our cities and universities, where everyone speaks your language and you can read all the street signs and menus. The end of confusion, but also the end of our adventures. Sad really...