Celebrating 2 Years in Amsterdam

Trip Start Jan 07, 2011
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Trip End Aug 01, 2011


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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Monday, February 14, 2011

Sorry this took so long, I've been preocuppied with my code at work and getting my room cleaned up from dumping everything when I got home from AMSTERDAM!

Amsterdam is a great city (and before you all go getting suspicious, we were not there to get stoned) and celebrating our two year anniversary with Blake was absolutely amazing.

I took a train Friday afternoon to Hannover and from there spend 4 hours on a train to Amsterdam. It was a long ride but worth it because it cost less than half of a flight. I arrived at the main train station and walked down to the hotel to meet Blake. He got to the hotel a bit later and arrived with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for me (he's such a sweetie). We asked at check in if they had any nice views available and they gave us a free upgrade (the price posted on the door was more than what we paid for the whole weekend) which was awesome. Blake ate the PB&J sandwich I brought him (he misses peanut butter in Denmark, but I was able to find some in Braunschweig) and we got a small dinner at a Tapas restaurant near the hotel. In case you don't know, tapas are basically just little dishes and you order a bunch of little things and share everything and mix and match the foods. We wandered around the neighborhood a bit, mostly restaurants and shops, then went back to the hotel. By then it was pretty late and we got some sleep.

Saturday we found a little sandwich shop for breakfast and I got a bagel (I miss bagels, I can't find them around Braunschweig) and we bought tram tickets and headed to the flower market. The flower market is a bunch of flower shops that sell both potted flowers and bulbs. The stalls are all floating on one of the canals but they're attached to the sidewalk pretty seamlessly. We each bought a couple of little souveniers then got back on the tram to the museum district. The lines at all of the museums were way to long so we decided to get lunch instead, and ate at a little Indonesian place (the Dutch colonized Indonesia and they brought back the traditional food, so it is really good there). We found a little coin shop owned and run by an old Dutch man who had a great time telling us about the old coinage of the Netherlands and Blake bought a few as a neat souvenier (he is a coin collector). After that, we went to the Historical Museum and learned about the history of the Netherlands (imagine that!). Their golden age was the 1600s and there was so much cool old stuff there. We also stopped at a candy store and each got an assorted bag of candies and I found a bag of cherries covered in chocolate that I could eat. They are super yummy! Eventually we ended up back at the hotel and got changed into our nice clothes for the surprise dinner Blake planned to celebrate our anniversary. It turned out the restaurant was right across the street from our hotel so I thankfully didn't have to walk far in heels on cobblestones :) The restaurant was called De Silveren Spiegel (The Silver Mirror) and it was super nice and they were really good with my allergies. I got to try another meat I had never had before, eel, which is always fun. All the food was really good and they made a sorbet dish for me for dessert. After dinner Blake set up a little scavenger hunt in our room and I found some Mike and Ikes (yum) and at the end was a lovely letter he wrote me. I gave him the card I wrote him, too, and we had a glass of champagne to celebrate our anniversary.

The rest of the weekend was rather chill. Sunday started with a little breakfast at another cafe by our hotel. I had another bagel with "bacon" though it was more like really salty ham than bacon back home. We took a canal tour that was a little crowded but fun, they did the announcements in English, German and two other languages, so I had fun matching what I heard in German to the English. We took a train out of the city to Zaanse Schans, which is a little touristy village with old windmills they maintain and cheese and wooden shoe demonstrations and of course lots of shops. We wandered through the town for the afternoon, then headed back to the city around 5:00 when everything started to close. For dinner we went to a traditional Dutch restaurant (obviously aimed at tourists looking for authentic Dutch food) and I got a trout. Literally a whole trout, head, tail, scales and all. After dinner we walked through the infamous Red Light District just to say we did it and wandered back to our hotel after soaking up some nightlife.

Monday was our actual anniversary and we spent it enjoying an extra day of weekend mainly devoid of tourists. We had a late breakfast at another little cafe and wandered around a flea market near the hotel. There was an older Dutch man there who handmade little (wool?) caps and Blake and I bought a pair becuase they were so cute. After that we went to the Anne Frank house which I had no idea was in Amsterdam. She was from Germany but they fled persecution and settled in Amsterdam. When it caught up with them the went into hiding in Amsterdam. The house was very moving, lots of exerpts from her diary and video interviews with survivors. We went to the Van Gogh Museum afterwards, the line was pretty much non-exsistant. It was a pleasant walk through, though neither of us are really art people. They had one of the Sunflowers and a couple others I recognized, as well as paintings by his inspirations and sketches he made. Blake was dissapointed they didn't have Starry Night, that is apparently in New York. After that we didn't have much time so we grabbed a quick lunch at McDonald's and hung out in Magna Plaza at the National Monument for a bit before I had to catch my train.

The weekend was amazing and it was so great to see Blake for our anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been two whole years! Next weekend I am planning on hopping a regional train to wherever I feel like and spending Saturday in a city in Niedersachsen (the trains within the state are free to students). Yay adventures!
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