Well, I just got back from Amsterdam today. I am totally exhausted. Happy Belated Birthday, dad!! Let me tell you about my weekend starting from Friday. We got woken up by the RAs at 6:30am. Bright and early. I had already packed the day before. I was gonna bring my super huge backpack, but decided to be the wise European traveler, and cut the load in half, and only bring the smaller backpack. I was so glad I did because I had to carry it everywhere. So we all got on Coach busses and headed to Amsterdam. When we got there, 2.5 hours later, all 80 of us got off the bus, and got a serious reality check. There was a train coming, and it didn’t stop, and my life flashed before my eyes. Moral of the story: Amsterdam isn’t Boston, LOOK BOTH WAYS.
Once we got to our hostel, Stayokay, we all got settled in. There were four of us in our room, it was really nice, and had its own bathroom and shower and stuff. I was so glad I had my own hostel sheets. Best investment EVER. I was so comfy, everyone was jealous! Then we went to the Rijksmuseum. This is a great art museum in Amsterdam. I saw really great art by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, and others. It was really big. Following this, we went for lunch. We walked around for the afternoon, and then for dinner, went to an Indonesian restaurant. This was important because Indonesia is a colony of the Netherlands, so it was a cultural experience. After this, I walked around Amsterdam. The city is amazing. Its so cute, by the end of the weekend, I didn’t need a map anymore. I knew where I was going, it was so cool.
On Saturday, I got up and went to the Van Gogh Museum. I really wanted to see Starry Night and then I found out it is in New York, and the famous Café painting was in another museum in Amsterdam. Feeling deprived, I bought the Starry Night poster, so I can look at it whenever I want in my room. I was disappointed with this museum. It was a huge building, and not enough art to fill it. Maybe they are planning to expand, who knows.
After this, we went to the "Torture Museum". This was actually a lot cooler than it sounds. It was a whole museum dedicated to medieval forms of torture. It was really interesting. It made me glad that I didn’t live during those times.
And then, Emily and I went off on our own and walked the Red Light District, twice. Once during the day, and once at night. It was really interesting. And it is not nearly as bad as the reputation it has. It was so safe, there are police everywhere. The prostitutes get health insurance, and social security, and police protection for their "work". And it is a well lit, really safe part of town. You walk down the main strip, and there are just women, not much older than me, sitting in windows. I pictured naked people, but not at all, they were all dressed, and not vulgar at all. I was very surprised. Then we went to a few bars in the area, and met some locals.
Sunday, I woke up, and we went to the Anne Frank House. It is the house she lived in while in hiding during World War II. The furniture had been confiscated during the war, so it was bare and stuff, I tried so hard to picture it as it would have been, and I couldn’t. Its really sad. Her room was so small, and to think that 8 people lived there. I looked out her window and tried to picture Nazis walking on the roads below, because they did, and I can’t imagine such a beautiful peaceful place, being taken over like that. But I felt good being there, it is definitely a place everyone should see.
After this, we went to the best part of the city: the Heineken Brewery. This was amazing. We spent almost 3 hours there! For 7 Euros, we got 3 beers, and a free gift. Not to mention the 3 virtual reality rides, brewery tour, and interactive room. I couldn’t handle having 3 Heinekens before noon, so I took a diet coke at the last place on the tour! But it was a lot of fun, we just laughed the whole time.
Then, we went to lunch at this nice Italian restaurant and had pizza and pasta and real garlic bread. It was wonderful. It was raining out, and we were both wet, and cold, and tired, so we went back to the hostel, a different one this time, called Shelter Jordan.We napped for a bit, and then went back out around the city. Finally, at night, we didn’t feel like dinner, so we went out and had big ice cream Sundaes and wine instead. It was great. We played pool for a bit, and had some more beer, and talked to some people there. It was fun. They really like American music over here, so the music was loud and fun. Then we went to bed.
Today, Monday, we got up at 7:30am, got breakfast (free at the hostel) and got a tram, to a train, to a bus, to the Castle. It took us about 4 hours, from hostel to castle. So not too bad. It was a great weekend! Now I have to go do homework! Bye!
Amsterdam Street Map
The hostel we are staying at this weekend is called City Hostel Vondelpark. I tried to get a picture, but it wasn’t working, and it was annoying. So use your imagination. Here is a description of the place: City Hostel Vondelpark is located in the heart of Amsterdam on the edge of the park of the same name, close to the lively Leidseplein and within walking distance of the Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The hostel’s location makes it the perfect home base for getting to know Amsterdam. Whether you want to stroll along the canals, relax in one of the many traditional brown cafés or sample the nightlife, it’s all within easy reach of City Hostel Vondelpark.
The second night, we stayed at the Shelter Jordan Hostel. It was a little Christian Hostel. We walked in and they gave us Bibles and invited us to Bible study, but other than that, it was perfect. Everyone was really friendly, and breakfast was free. It was nice.
Here are the places we visited:
Rembrandt’s Night Watch
Red Light District