Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Weekend in Amsterdam

Well my family left for an exciting week in Spain leaving me alone in the house to wander around Holland to my hearts desire. I kicked off my week off with a fabulous weekend trip to Amsterdam. I stayed with Lily, my fellow aupair, in her East of the Amstel house. Similar to houses in San Francisco, these houses were build up, not out leaving no room for windows on the side, just the front…So I arrived at Amsterdam Centraal (after completely making an idiot of myself by suddenly thinking I was not at the right station) and met up with Lily. We stopped by the IDFA box office to buy tickets for the documentary “Tightrope” and then wandered back to her house and up three flights of stairs to her top level room. After dropping off my bag, we went back to our movie…

Unfortunately though I only give it a 2 out of 5 star rating. There was no point, and to be honest it was rather depressing. On our way back home it began pouring and we got SOAKED! We decided all we wanted to do was get some junk food and sit on the couch and watch Arrested Development, but first we had to stop at the store and get supplies…brie, melba toasts (which Lily made fun of me for), stroopwaflen (cookies with caramel), imitation Nutella (unfortunately not as good either), chocolate, paprika chips, and of course…It was a great night.
The next day we decided to play tourist and go to a museum. On our way, we ran into the epitome of tourism – giant “Amsterdam” letters, complete with children crawling all over them. Because it was so crowded, we could only get part of the sign…The sign was right next to the Van Gogh Museum so we took some time to admire the outside of the building…I then bought my Netherlands Museumkaart, which entitles me to entrance at all public museums in Amsterdam, which is quite a few (25 in Amsterdam alone). However once inside, we didn’t take into consideration that it was a Saturday and the VanGogh was a popular tourist attraction. It was almost overwhelming the amount of people trying to look at all these fabulous works of art, so armed with our Museumkaarts, we took time to appreciate the temporary exhibit, an amazing collection by the artist Alfred Stevens, and vowed to come back and enjoy Van Gogh himself on a less crowded weekday.
Then it was time for some quick nourishment so we grabbed some bagels and coffee in an adorable chain café called Bagels and Beans…By that time, Lily had to be back home to babysit for the night, but I decided to go join my fellow couchsurfers at the weekly Saturday Meet-Up at the Café d’Oude. Lily told me I could borrow her bike, which meant attempting to ride a mountain bike made for someone at least eight inches taller than me, figuring out where I was going, and not getting run over by cars, trams, people, or other bikes. It was definitely an adventure.
Once I got to the bar, I wandered for a couple minutes unsure of what to do. But then I heard English! So I zoomed over and introduced myself and met a girl and guy from Canada. After that it was easy to make friends. We all talked about our travels and plans for the upcoming year, enjoyed some bitterballen, drank some Heineken, and even saw a couple (failed) attempts at magic tricks. I kid you not…they were bad. I went home happy with my new friends, and eager to meet more people in the months to come.
The next day when we finally decided to get up, we popped in another episode of Arrested Development while enjoying some tea and leftover stroopwaflen. Then we headed out the front door intent on wandering around the city, and eventually finding our way back to the house. On our journeys we passed some cute canals…Cute boats…And cute stoops...We also found some rather fun window displays…And some candy that made me think of Pat…We eventually found ourselves in the Center of Amsterdam and finally knowing where we were, took the time to enjoy some ice cream even though it was freezing…We sat in a cute square enjoying our ice cream, and watching the sun beginning to set at 3:00 in the afternoon…But all that sitting and staring, made me feel like the square in front of us was missing a statue so I graciously stepped in…Well, by that time it was time to head home. Back at the house I collected my backpack, bid Lily farewell, and headed off to find my way back to a cold and empty house where macaroni and cheese leftovers and a skype call home awaited me.

Word of the day: Paprika – Pepper
Note of the day: All photos from the last three blogs have been graciously donated by Lily!

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