I’m going to preface this post by saying that if you continue to read this, please note that I did not do anything illegal while in Amsterdam (according to Dutch law). I am a law-abiding citizen (shoutout to Alden for teaching me the rules) and the events that occurred this weekend were done completely with a “YOLO” mentality. For those of you who are unaware of pop culture, YOLO means “You Only Live Once”.
Anyways, this crazy weekend started on Thursday afternoon with a flight out of Florence. Flying out of Florence is actually so much more convenient than having to take 4 trains just to get to an airport. Fast forward and after a nice plane nap we landed in Amsterdam, where the airport was literally a mall and was just a happy place to be. I was definitely vibing with Amsterdam from the start. Of course it only helped that I found freshly sliced mango in the airport and ate 2 packs of it #healthy am I right?! We then left the airport and soon realized it was a mistake to take a taxi, which charged us almost double what Uber charges for the same trip. Rule of thumb: when in doubt – UBER! Once our overpriced taxi arrived at the Volkshotel which was awesome and very different. The only part about that hotel that I disliked was the fact that they thought chains hanging from the ceiling acted as a proper door to a shower, which just makes it awkward. After settling in, we took a little trip to the city and made our first stop at Topshop because I couldn’t contain my excitement about going to a European store. No worries though, mom, I surprisingly left empty-handed. But in all seriousness, just smelling that place was enough to make me happy to be honest. That night we went to a random insignificant Chinese place for dinner and then we went to our first coffeeshop (if you know what I mean). At our first coffeeshop 3 of us had to leave because we didn’t have our original passports on us, so we ventured down the street to a different one with green mood lighting, which made me feel like I was getting the real Amsterdam experience. After stopping for french fries, we went back to the hotel for a night of some quality sleep.
Friday morning we woke up and went to The Pancake Bakery, where I had the most incredible “Dutch Pancake” with stroopwaffels baked into the pancake dough and covered in whipped cream and cinnamon ice cream. I couldn’t justify having just the pancake, so I paired it with a nice hearty side of scrambled eggs. All food things aside, we then went to The Bull Dog which is Amsterdam’s famous coffeeshop. Good times. After The Bull Dog we went to get french fries which were incredible. Next we went to the I Amsterdam letters (see above) where my friends and I took some basic photos and also got somewhat of a cardio workout climbing. It’s definitely more difficult than it looks!
The second part of Friday after our naps was much more intense and emotionally exhausting, so now it’s time to get ~serious~. We went to the Anne Frank House which was a pretty awesome experience. Anne Frank is such an iconic figure, and having gone to Jewish school my whole life I had learned about her life story so many times. It almost felt surreal being there. The museum itself was also incredible in how it made her story seem so human. The photos of her look like they could be anyone I know, and it gave me goosebumps to be in the place where her family hid for so long. I also thought it was awesome how quiet everyone was in the museum. Each and every person knew to respect where they were and stopped to read every single sign, which I admit I rarely do at any museum. At the end of the museum tour, we had the opportunity to reflect upon the experience and my friends and I sat down to share our thoughts, which I definitely thought was a cool idea on the part of the museum staff. Just like Anne Frank did, we were encouraged to share our thoughts and reflections about her life. I thought about how even though I had visited the concentration camps in Poland, for some reason it didn’t feel so real until I saw the annex where Anne Frank and her family hid for so long. It was almost as if seeing the camps I had seen the place where the horrible things of the Holocaust happened, but I hadn’t had the opportunities to see somewhere that Jews lived, though I had seen old synagogues. It was real that people hid in that place to save their lives, and it was so incredible to see how it was right in the middle of a pretty busy area. After seeing the living quarters when we learned of the fate of the other residents of the annex, it was crazy to see that many of them were sent to and killed at concentration camps that I had visited and stood at, though I had the opportunity to go to Amsterdam after the fact and most of them were fated to never leave the camps which I walked out of freely. These pretty much sum up the emotional thoughts my mom recommended me share in this weeks blog post. So here you go, mommy – you’re welcome.
Moving on to the rest of the night, we then went to all you can eat sushi at Sumo, which was sickening. It was 5 “rounds” of food, and we were allowed 5 dishes a person for each round. I can’t talk about it more because it literally makes me nauseas thinking about it. Funny to note, however, that the place actually charges you for food you don’t finish, and we gave up trying to eat it, so I may have smuggled some sushi into a napkin and tossed it into the bathroom to save us some extra fees. After Sumo we went to another coffeeshop and then to the most disturbing show of my life. If you’ve heard of the Red Light District, I can now confirm the rumors are true. Women are dressed provocatively standing in windows pretending to dial their call line so men will call and “book” them (honestly not sure what the right term to use here is). In the midst of this weird part of town, they have things called “sex shows” (better known as live pornos). I will not go into any detail and refuse to. All I can say is, the majority of the show was spent with my snow hat pulled over my head and I wanted to leave the whole time. To be honest, the entire time I wanted to just walk up to one of the girls in the show and change her life like people do in the movies, though this desire to change someones life was likely just a side effect of our earlier stop at a coffeeshop.
Saturday we woke up and went to a Dutch breakfast place which was cool and had a unique layout. We then went to the Heineken Experience, which turned out to be a lot of fun! We learned all about the process of brewing beer and the end of the tour had some cool interactive exhibits which were pretty enjoyable. After Heineken we grabbed lunch and went on a canal boat tour, which I found pretty interesting; it described the buildings and the history of the city of Amsterdam. I enjoyed myself a lot, even though by the end of the boatride all of my friends had passed out in their seats. Saturday night after dinner at an Argentinian restaurant we went to a comedy show called Boom Chicago. I also tried a space cake, which really did nothing, so I don’t even know why I mentioned that. Aside from the fake cake we bought, the comedy show reminded me of Whose Line is it Anyway? which I LOVE and it was actually so funny. One of the actresses also looked like Kristen Wiig, so it was definitely a win. Sunday we basically spent the entire day traveling, which really isn’t interesting so I’ll skip that part.
All in all, Amsterdam was a beautiful city that I really loved, despite how wacky the laws and some of the people may be. Everyone there just seems so happy and the buildings are gorgeous, as well as the views of the canals. For next week’s post, check back in for some details about Abroadfest, which is possibly the most “scene-y” weekend of abroad, second to Dublin. See ya in a week and hope you enjoyed!
Ciao for now,