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Sofia - RWU Class of 2013

Tag: Amsterdam

Beyond Windmills and Wooden Shoes

Time is beginning to freak me out. I can’t believe we are now halfway into March… where is the time going?? In one month, I will be traveling through Europe on my spring break. In less than two months time, I will be back in America… AH! I am so overtired and worn out but I don’t have time for rest. Too busy having the time of my life! (Not so much right now… currently sitting in class barely able to keep my eyes open, why did I think going out last night was a good idea again?)

Over the weekend, I took a trip to Amsterdam with my school. It was the first time I traveled outside of the country since I got here and I had a blast! We met at the bar on campus on Thursday night and traveled by bus and ferry to get to Amsterdam by Friday morning. I did not get much sleep because one girl was SO LOUD on the bus, so no one could sleep. We all wanted her head.

We finally arrived, exhausted, but I was not about to waste a minute in Amsterdam sleeping! My friends and I dropped our luggage at The World’s Worst Hostel (literally, they have a gold metal AND a plaque), and began exploring the city! There are rivers everywhere and it’s actually set up in a giant circle, patterned with roads and rivers. The first thing I noticed (after it’s beauty) was the insane amount of bikes. EVERYONE seems to ride bikes there, and they rule the streets over cars, pedestrians, even the tram. The bikes have their very own lane and stop lights!

bikes everywhere

Bikes Everywhere!

Amsterdam at night

Amsterdam at night

The second thing you will notice about Amsterdam is the amount of coffee shops there are. No, I don’t mean cafes to grab some coffee and a croissant. Coffee shops in Amsterdam are very different… but we won’t get into that.

On the first day, we went to the Rijksmuseum, which was mostly under construction, so it was kind of a waste of money. I did get to see some original Rembrandt paintings, though! Aside from that, not so worth the €14 I paid for a ticket. Really beautiful on the outside though.

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

We then wandered in and out of some touristy shops to collect some items of memorabilia (I got a shot class and a postcard for my wall).

While walking though the city, we found some truly amazing street performers and street art, so I had to take some photographs. I wanted to make this guy’s dream come true and put is art on a blog, so here it is!

street art

street art

Street art on a blog, as promised!

Street art on a blog, as promised!

And it wouldn’t be Amsterdam without wooden shoes, right?

Me in a wooden shoe

Me in a wooden shoe

wooden shoes sold everywhere

wooden shoes sold everywhere

They’re everywhere! Street fries are also really popular, but I couldn’t muster up the confidence to have them with traditional ketchup and mayonnaise… but they were delicious all the same.

We then ventured our way over to the Red Light District… I don’t think I have many words for that. We were in and out of there in about 60 seconds!

For something a little more serious and less disgusting, we went to see the Anne Frank House, which was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures there (except one at the entrance), but I highly recommend it for anyone who travels to Amsterdam. It was a little eerie being in the actual house she lived in during the Holocaust, but breathtaking and so emotional. The things they have preserved here are quite a sight to see, right down to her bedroom wallpaper and magazine clippings she hung up herself. Visitors can walk all throughout the house (even behind the bookcase to the annex!) all the way up to the attic, reading plaques and watching video clips along the way. Once we made our way back to the beginning of the house, we got to watch an interview with Otto Frank about the discovery and publication of his daughter’s diary. We even got to see the actual diary in the red plaid notebook she filled with her feelings during this excruciating time for her and her family.

Amazing, amazing, amazing. Worth the trip to Amsterdam itself.

That evening, we went to a club with my school and had a blast! Quite difficult to wake up on Saturday, but refused to waste time when we only had a weekend!

On Saturday, we started the day off right and visited the Heineken Experience, and let me tell you, it was an experience. I wasn’t expecting it to be so interactive and interesting, and I don’t even like beer! I decided to like beer that day though, as our entrance fee came with a wristband that allowed us a choice of two complementary beers, or a lesson on how to draft a perfect Heineken and one complementary beer. I choose the latter, and drafted my first beer perfectly on the first try! I got a certificate and my very own Heineken bottle with my name on it, so legit!

me, my perfect beer and Storm

me, my perfect beer and Storm

Heineken experience

Heineken experience

Malt barley at the Heineken Experience

Malt barley at the Heineken Experience

After staying there for… almost the entire day… we found a playground and had a photo shoot on tire swings! I then got my very first falafel wrap; it was amazing and I am now addicted to anything with falafel in it.

To be proper tourists, of course we had to stop by the I Amsterdam sign and take some photographs, posing on the letters. It was much bigger than I expected and so much fun to climb and pose on the letters. I even ran into my friend who is studying abroad in Florence! She was visiting in Amsterdam as well and we got a picture in front of the sign together… love you Alice! Xo

Alice and me

Alice and me

Tire Swing!

Tire Swing!

Sunday morning, we had to head home in the morning, but all in all, it was an incredible weekend and I would not have wanted to experience Amsterdam in any other way. We stopped at a rest area in Brussels and picked up some Belgian chocolates (YUM) and headed home!

This weekend is St. Patrick’s Day weekend… so there will definitely be some stories to blog about.
Until then, cheers!

xx