Trip Start Sep 11, 2008
7Trip End Dec 19, 2008
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Where I stayed
So for my first travel weekend I ventured to Amsterdam which is about a 2-3 hour trip from where I'm living in Well. On the way there, we got the scenic tour of rural Holland-which is super pretty. As if all that beautiful scenery wasn't enough, I decided to take myself and the group that I was travelling with on a scenic tour of our own kind around the city in a desperate attempt to find our hostel. (I have no idea who the genius was that put me in charge of the map and finding the hostel, but clearly they have no idea of my unfailing track record or of my reputation of getting lost...though they found out soon enough!) Well, per usual, it took me about an hour to find the place, which is kind-of stupid considering it was right behind the famous Amsterdam Concert Hall. You'd think it would be impossible to miss such a landmark, but for me, nothing is impossible. So, we finally made it and I have to say, it was definitely worth the trek
Speaking of upscale, I was really surprised at how pretty the city is! I guess I had this dirty, sketchy picture in my head from all of the crazy stories I've heard about that place, but I have to say, I found the exact opposite. To me, it's the perfect marriage of Boston and Venice--Boston because of all of the brick architecture and history and Venice because of all of the canals and boats. Not surprisingly, when the two are combined, it makes for quite a romantic and beautiful city. That said, it's still probably the most bizarre place I've been. It felt like every 5 minutes (or less) you'd get a big ol' whiff of weed...and literally, one minute you could be looking at the national dutch monument and the next thing you know, you're face to face with a prostitute in a window making dirty faces at you. You just never know what's around the next corner-it was quite thrilling!
Anyway, after we grabbed a bit to eat, we met up with some friends (who were gay, of course) to go dancing. We ended up at a very classy, but very gay club on perhaps the gayest street in Amsterdam. I guess we should have known...it was fun all the same! (The next night we peeled away from the crowd and discovered a really cool jazz club with live artists who just sat and jammed for hours-super fun!)
Sooo, what did you see??
On Saturday, Dana and I took our own little walking tour around the city (I say little, it wasn't really that little...we walked for probably 5 hours)
And of course, I saw the Anne Frank house. It was a lot smaller than I imagined it to be, but I think it still had a big impact on me. After visiting the house I feel a lot closer to her story-I think being there made it more personal for me and the story sort of came to life. (Way more than it did when I skimmed the book in 8th grade when it was required reading...) Anyway, I really enjoyed seeing it and I think I'll look at Europe differently too now. It's amazing to see the kind of impact the Nazis had on Europe...
Ok...so favorite part of Amsterdam?
The Van Gogh museum-duh. I have no idea how long it took me to get through that building but I can tell you it was over 4 hours
See anything else noteworthy?
Bikes! I've never seen so many bikes in my entire life!! Right when you get off the train station there's a whole parking garage crammed full of bikes! It's absolutely incredible...America should do something like that...
Where to next?
Berlin! I leave tomorrow morning bright and early (6 am)!