Amsterdam: Let’s wear wooden clogs

28 Apr

I’ll start off by saying, no, I did not smoke pot in Amsterdam. I don’t smoke marijuana and going to Amsterdam (where it is legal and socially acceptable in public) didn’t change that. Proud of me, mom and dad?

Anyway, on to my trip to Holland. I left on Friday the 22nd from Stansted airport which is a weird set-up for an airport. It’s basically like a giant warehouse with different wings…I flew EasyJet which is actually a neat airline because there are no assigned seats, so if you get there super early (like me) and make it to the front of the line (which I did) you get first pick of seats. The flight to Amsterdam was only 45 minutes which was weird. So before I knew it I was in the Netherlands.

Etana (one of my oldest, dearest friends who visited me back in February for my birthday) met me at the airport and we took the train into the city to her flat. Because I took a night flight it was too late to do anything so we just chatted until the wee hours of the morning and I slept in. And I slept so well. Something about being in Holland or maybe just a cumulation of a busy semester? Who knows. I slept over 8 hours every night I was in Amsterdam so I can’t complain. I couldn’t tell you the last time I slept that much or that soundly. But enough about my sleeping habits.

On Saturday we went to a street market where I had some Dutch chips (or french fries… I’m so used to saying chips, how British of me) which were fantastic. After that I had to have a fresh stroopwafel. A stroopwafel (stROWp waffle) is actually two very very thin waffles with a carmel syrup in the middle. I had only had the packaged ones so having it fresh was exciting. It was warm, buttery, and the carmel was messy and delicious. A perfect street food snack. We wandered the stalls of the market and enjoyed the sunshine before heading to a park. We spent the rest of the day continuing our gab fest and soaking up some rays. At night we went to a barbeque at Etana’s flat where I met some of the other students at the university.

On Sunday we went to the beach, a town called Zandfort. It was weird to go to a beach in Holland. I never really gave much thought to the fact that it is, in fact, on the edge of the continent and therefore has many beaches. It was chilly at the beach but I read a lot and got to know some of Etana’s university friends better.

Monday was the touristy day. Etana and I went to the “I Amsterdam” sign to take some pictures and she dropped me off at Museum Plein (Museum Square) so that I could go to the Reijks Museum (state museum) and the Van Gogh Museum.

While the Reijks Museum would have been a great source of new boyfriends, I wasn’t allowed to take photographs. All in all I didn’t really enjoy it, which coming from a museum nerd like me is unexpected. I don’t particularly care for Dutch art and since I was in a Dutch museum that was what I was looking at. I also found it incredibly small. Compared to London museums this place was more like an art gallery.

After the slightly disappointing start to my museums day I went to the Van Gogh Museum. I love impressionism. It’s my favorite art movement and so this museum did not disappoint. It is home to over 200 Van Gogh paintings and hundreds of drawings and letters. In addition to the vast collection of Van Gogh the museum also had several Monet paintings. Since Monet is my favorite artist I spent a lot of time in front of his paintings.

On Tuesday I went to the Anne Frank House. I was excited to go here because when I was younger I loved reading about Anne Frank and her life in the secret annex. Getting to walk in her footsteps was surreal, especially since I have read her diary and read her thoughts on the rooms. It was very emotional there. I got to see her red plaid diary, the notebooks she used after the diary pages were filled and even the loose sheets of paper that she edited her diary on. She wanted to be a journalist and it was her dream to publish a book about her experience in hiding. I saw Anne as a kindred spirit and it made me sad to think that even though her dream came true and her words have been read by millions she didn’t survive to see the impact she has had on so many people, whether they read her diary or not.

We walked around a lot and talked a lot, two of my favorite things. It was nice to have a sort of vacation after my internship ended and I’m glad I got to spend time with one of my best friends, in the city she loves (almost) as much as I love London.


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