Sunday, May 4, 2008

Where I was: Amsterdam

May 4, 2007

Yesterday Lisa and I did Amsterdam. We arrived at 6 a.m. after our long night on the bus. This city was still not fully awake and the sun was not fully risen. I was a little disillusioned because I expected the city to be bright and colorful.

We went to our hostel, the flying pig and Lisa and I deemed this time purgatory because we could not check in until 10 and we had arrived by 7. Our bags were so annoying and nothing was open so basically we were stuck on the pillow covered area.

After an hour or so Lisa and I decided to shower and then we headed over to the Anne Frank house. It was truly an incredible experience to see in real life where she lived and hid. I was really taken aback by the museum. How can you be forced to live like that? The floors were so creaky--I couldn't imagine not being able to make noise.

After Anne Frank, Lisa and I just cruised around and got a feel for Amsterdam.

We did some wandering and then we went back to the hostel and then right after went for lunch--we ate cheese covered hot dogs, which were so amazing. The food is all such junk but so good. Later Lisa and I indulged in waffles and cream puffs as well as cheese fries . Wonderful.

Back at the hostel we made a friend named Amir. We hung around and had some light Dutch beer which I actually liked.

Lisa and I also took a few adventures out to the Red Light District, which was really interesting. We were really curious about how these transactions occur. Basically, red lights, women behind windowed door--dude makes a selection and walks in. Weird.

Coming back to the hostel and trying to go to bed was quite the task since we stayed in a 32-person room and the lights had been shut since people were already sleeping. Lisa and I, of course, caused a mini raucous.

At the end of the day, I must say, Amsterdam ended up as bright as I expected after the son rose. We had such fun enjoying the sun. I loved that we saw windmills from the bus on the way in. I woke up at 4 a.m. to scream: "LISA, A WINDMILL!"

Today we over slept because I set my alarm for Irish time. Whoops! But we still got out. I bought my mom a dutch shoe charm for her bracelet and then we wandered to the Heineken brewery, which was so much cooler than Guinness. There were rides and it was interactive.

At both Heineken and Anne Frank, Lisa and I made video messages, which you can e-mail to people. We had way too much fun making these videos. Hopefully they have them in a lot of cities we go to.

A bunch of Canadians from our hostel were also at Heineken and it was great to hang out with them. Part of backpacking is meeting people and I really hope we do that.

Now we are en route to Brussels where we plan to stay for the night. I feel so lucky to be on this trip and get to experience all these cities, but also the countryside, which we can see from the trains.

We have no idea where we are staying in Brussels tonight. Fabulous.

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