Amsterdam!

Last weekend a couple of my friends packed up and went to Amsterdam, Netherlands. We each had a list of things we wanted to do and I just had two days there while they each had 3, due to bus departure times. That being said, both days were half days of exploring.

Our bus got in at noon on Friday and we checked into our hotel and began the list, first off was on their list, the Red Light District. However, we didn’t get around to that until later at night because we got distracted with other things throughout the way, like the Heineken Experience and a canal tour.

The Heineken Experience was amazing. We got to see exactly how they made their beer in a couple different formats, there was a guy talking about it, plaques and old equipment, and lastly the video. I was brewed and bottled at the Heineken Experience. Basically, they put you on a movable platform and then play a 4D video, it kind of reminded me of Disney. At the end they taught you how to drink their beer, they claim it tastes even better that way. What you do is you pour it (we didn’t go into the room where they taught you how to pour it though) and then you have to take a big sip so the foam doesn’t disappear because that is what keeps the flavor in.

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After we were done with that we went on a canal tour, which was on my list. The canals were beautiful, but we were tired so a couple of us were in and out of almost sleep. It did not help that there was peaceful music playing. My only main complaint about this tour was that all the buildings kind of looked the same, there was not much variety.

Then we finally made it down to the Red Light District, except we got lost and just wandered around trying to find it. We passed the same church about twenty different times. Here’s the problem: so many of the streets have a canal going down the center of them, and there’s not really a ton of blocks either, making it hard to figure out where you’ve gone already and where you haven’t. Also, they measure distance by canals. “it’s three canals down and to the left” as my tour guide had told us at one point.

After that, we went back to the hotel room and slept. And slept. And slept. We had alarms set for early in the morning, but I turned mine off thinking someone else had set one, and they hadn’t. So we got up around 10:30 and, having missed our original free tour time, replanned the rest of the day. At first I felt bad for missing it, but we went on the one later in the day and there was close to 100 people there, they did not miss us.

We wandered the streets of Amsterdam for the next three and a half hours. The most amazing thing I had learned was that there are a ton of bikes in the canals and they have boats that go around and pick them out, fix them up and resell them cheaper.

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We then went to dinner and went to the Anne Frank Huis, this was the major thing on my list and i would have came back just to see it next time I was in Europe. I feel bad because I have never read the book, but it’s close to the top of my to read list, and I bought a copy because I have been meaning to buy it and read it since I was in 6th grade. Now I have no reason not to.

The stairs were really steep, but that was not the thing that surprised me the most. The thing that surprised me was how spacious their hideaway was. I had no idea what to expect, but it wasn’t a multi room mini-house. Granted, with the eight people they had living there it’d be awfully crowded and there was no furniture. They had to be really quiet so no one heard them during the day and multiple times you read Anne Frank’s plea to be able to go outside. Also, the wallpaper was still the same in her room, with all the pictures glued up to make it look better. Their kitchen was just running water and  a little stove. It was quite the experience.

By the time that was done it was after nine and we still had a long way back to the hotel. We wanted a hotel that was close to the bus station we needed, but also close to the center of Amsterdam. Don’t do this, just get one in the center and take the metro from one place to the other it is a lot less walking.

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The next morning we went to the I AMsterdam sign behind the Rijksmuseum. If I had time I would have gone into the museum because it was gorgeous on the outside. We took a bunch of photos and then I had to catch a tram down to the bus station. Miraculously, I got everything except rent a bike done and I didn’t do that because it was so cold out.

In all, I’m really glad I went, but I don’t think I’ll go again.

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