Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amsterdam Fairy Land

That's me, just chilling in a giant "e." That kid to my left clearly thinks I'm weird, but how could my abroad experience possibly be complete if I don't travel all the way to Amsterdam and take the oh-so-sorority picture at the IAmsterdam sign?! Thank god there was an E there, or what would I have done! Can you tell that I'm not Amsterdam's biggest fan?

(one of the 1,281 bridges)

It's not that I didn't like the city itself. It was really beautiful, like something out of a fairy tale. The buildings are all a bit mismatched, the canals, and colorful store fronts, it's charming. But then there's this whole dark side that makes the city so deceiving. Walking around in the daylight, I felt like I was being tricked. You see these scantily-clad prostitutes in their windows in the red-light district at two in the afternoon, and then you see an adorable little family taking a stroll along the canal with ice cream cones and a cute puppy. OK, so maybe I didn't see that exact scene, but it could have happened! Luckily we were only there for two days. Friday (my birthday!!!) we grabbed some food and started out on our walking tour - which didn't last long because I potentially got food poisoning and had to go back to the hostel. Much later in the day, after I was feeling a bit better, we headed over to the Anne Frank Museum, which was amazing. I actually haven't read The Diary of Anne Frank, but I've learned enough about it that seeing her story come to life, actually walking around in the house she lived in, moved me to tears. There were so many people at the museum, too. It made me feel strangely proud that people are still so interested and that they still care. 

(yay birthday dessert! waffle with custard, strawberries and bananas)

So, back to the red-light district. Prostitutes just stand in these windows all day, waiting for "customers." If the red-light is on, that means they're busy. I just don't get it. Some of the women looked not much older than I am, and this is their job?! Be a waitress, or work at a supermarket if you're that desperate! It was just such a strange sight to see. Even more strange than the coffee shops, which do NOT serve coffee. People casually sit out front of these shops, just smoking a joint and relaxing in the sun. Strange world, this Amsterdam.

(Amy and I just brewing some Heineken)

On Saturday we visited the Heineken Museum. It was actually really cool, considering that I don't particularly enjoy beer. I don't know really what else we did during our time there; it was a while ago, and it just wasn't all that exciting. Would I suggest that people go there? Probably not. But then again, I hardly partook (well that's a funny word) in all that Amsterdam has to offer. Don't worry though, I did eat their signature foods (duh).

(chocolate banana pancake)

(apple strudel)

I love pancakes, but these were no fluffy Aunt Jemima's. They're basically a crepe, with whatever you want on top. Good, but nothing really to write home about. The apple strudel was like an apple pie roll-up, just with walnuts and the apples were diced really thin, like charoset (ha, getting in the Passover spirit already). Well Amsterdam, it was meh while it lasted. See ya never.

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