Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Anticipating Amsterdam Adventures?....

....maybe its best to let the city speak for itself. 
This was an experience to say the least. 
While my Aunt Peggy and Cousin Jodi were here a couple of weeks ago, we made it our goal to get to Amsterdam one day, as none of us had ever seen it, but always heard what a marvelous city that it was. 
So on March 7th, the morning after my last midterm, we boarded a train and headed up to the Dutch part of the world. 
Excitement filled us with expectations of beautiful tulips, windmills, Van Gogh, and all the other trademarks that come with Amsterdam as we made our way through the rural areas of Belgium and the Netherlands to the capital city. 
We had to change trains in Rotterdam and then would arrive in Amsterdam around lunch time, well, except we took the longer train by accident, so we journeyed through The Hague, Harlem and other smaller cities in the Netherlands, never debarking the train, but taking in the pretty countryside. 

When we got to Amsterdam, our first mission was to find a place to stay, which should have been easy enough...except the place we had in mind was all booked up once we finally made our way across town.
We then tried a couple more places, none of which had vacancy! 
Long story short, our tired legs finally let us end up at the Marriott, which should be called the Golden Marriott, but that story is for another time. 
We dropped off our stuff in the room, freshened up and headed out to see the sights that Amsterdam had to offer when....WHAM.
We go to cross the street and we have to jump out of the way of a speeding bicyclist who had no respect for pedestrians! 
A little further along, we go to find some dinner, and narrowly avoid about 10 to 12 more of the bicycles that apparently have the right of way in Amsterdam at all times!
So if you're wondering why there are bicycles in all of my photos from the city.....NOW YOU KNOW.
The weather was decent while we were there - no worse than any other European day, so we went to a couple of stores and shopped down the streets, narrowly avoiding trams and bikes... both of which rule the road apparently. 
I have to say though, the city is rather beautiful at night, as we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe on the canal and got to see the Canal Cruises go by from the table which we ate.
As we were quite tired from a day of traveling, we retired pretty early that evening, as we had several attractions to see the next day. 
Peggy and I took off to the Van Gogh Museum the next morning, where along the way, we got the only view of I Amsterdam without a million people around, and had a beautiful brunch at an outdoor cafe in amazing weather, and then got in pretty quickly to the Van Gogh Museum right after it opened. Jodi decided she would rather sleep than go to the Van Gogh, so she stayed behind in the room. 
Here are Peggy and I in the I Amsterdam sign:

And at our really awesome brunch outdoors:

We were pretty sad to hear that two of Van Gogh's most famous works were in other museums around the world, but still made the most of the experience. We weren't allowed to take pictures in the museum, but we had a great time admiring all of the works of the famous painter. 
Our last stop before heading back was at the Rijksmuseum, which held the only tulips that we could find in the entire city! No windmills either! :(
I thought this picture turned out really good so I wanted to share it. 

As you might can tell, between the bikes and raised expectations, Amsterdam wasn't really what we were thinking it would be like. It was a great experience with two of my favorite people, but it isn't somewhere that I'm looking to rush back to just because of how rude the people were, dirty the city was, and it was just kind of an all-around letdown from what we were expecting. I am glad I got to experience it with two amazing ladies, which made the experience much better than it would have been otherwise! After so many close calls with people on bikes, I think we all are just happy that we are still around to tell the stories about the city. If you ever get a chance, ask Peggy about her friends on bikes in Amsterdam (HAHA). ;)
Here's a farewell shot of all of the bikes that we dealt with....THIS IS JUST ONE OF THE COUNTLESS STORAGE FACILITIES FOR BIKES. 

Be on the lookout for the next post, about a city that I'm actually going back to this weekend - Antwerp! Definitely my favorite city so far in my Belgian travels!!! :D
Not too far off, my mom and dad will be meeting Zach and I in Paris and traveling to London and Brussels, where after they go back to the U.S., Zach and I will fly down to Rome and see Florence and Venice over a week in April! Exciting things upcoming! Can't wait! Thanks for reading, guys!

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