Amsterdam is Insane

There’s really no other way to describe this place. But first, how I got here. Yesterday morning I had breakfast with Katie in Berlin and then caught my train at the central station, which is huge by the way and really pretty (see below). The trip was seven hours and I passed the time by reading a lot, napping some, and just relaxing. Our train engineer announced when we crossed into the Netherlands and I got a smidge sad because there is no border crossing anymore since both are members of the EU, so no fun passport stamp.

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When I got into town I followed the directions I had to my hostel here. I’m staying in Shelter City, which happens to be a Christian hostel. Why did I pick that? The main reason was because its super cheap and centrally located on a cute square. The added bonus (and deciding factor) was that it is a smoke-free facility. Everyone in this city smokes, whether its tobacco or weed, and they smoke all the time. So since I’m in a shared dorm room, I really didn’t want people smoking right next to me. I settled in and then spent the evening exploring the city! Nothing major but I did have exceptional goat cheese croquettes for dinner. And saw some gorgeous bridges. And got second-hand high from walking past all the “coffee shops” 🙂

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This morning I was by far the first person up and went for a short run before the world woke up. Except I did detour through the red light district and there were women in the windows at 7am. Impressive. First on my list for this city was the Anne Frank House to finish out the World War II part of my trip. I had heard the lines get quite long so I was there when they opened (with 50 or so other tourists). It was really cool to actually see the annex where her family hid, as the museum is the actual office/house and you go through all of it. The most touching aspect for me were the quotes and videos of her father, who was the only member to survive. Particularly interesting was hearing his reaction to reading his daughter’s diary after the war, only after he was certain she wasn’t coming back, because he’d sworn to never read it. But he also knew she wanted her stories published and she wanted to be a writer. Really moving.

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From there I wandered through several cute districts and around the canals. I saw Westerkerk, one of the most gorgeous churches in town (below). I hung out in the flower market for a while, looking at all the different species of tulip bulbs for sale. I wish the fields were blooming but it’s a little early for that. Then I found an amazing shop for lunch and had a durum, which is a lamb wrap and SO good. Came with fries and a drink so I was stuffed afterwards, but my legs were happy for the rest. Then I strolled through the Jordaan district and window-shopped at all the cute stores on my way to the Museum of Bags and Purses. So Amsterdam is apparently kind of a fashion hub for Northern Europe (who knew?) and this museum was insane. The purses were in the shape of animals, foods, buildings, you name it. Another weird find in my tour of Europe!

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On my way back from that I paused to walk through the City Guard Gallery, which is a passageway run by the Amsterdam Museum. They rotate original works of art in the hallway and let everyone go through for free! I saw Rembrandt’s painting of Napoleon entering Amsterdam from the 1600s, a gorgeous embroidery work from the 2000s, and a gigantic statue of Goliath from the mid-1700s. It stood almost two stories tall! This was a nice way to get a touch of art without getting overwhelmed, and is always changing so even locals walk through to see what’s new.

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Now I’m back at the hostel for a few hours to warm up and relax a bit before starting the second half of my day. I need to book my hostel/hotel for Brussels, which I’m thinking I might want a private room for so I can organize and pack before I leave. And I need to figure out how I’m going to spend my last five days… I think the combination of parting ways from Katie and not having any alone space here has made me ready to come home. BUT the sun did shine today for the first time since Turkey, so that helped. And I know I don’t do big cities well, so tomorrow I’m taking a day trip out of town to a cute village, since I have an extra day on my train pass. I hope you all are doing well!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: That’s More Like It « Rays of Funshine

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