Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Whenever my mom talks about Amsterdam, she always sings the name as in the title of this post. Two weekends ago I finally went to this beautiful AmsterAmsterDamDamDam place! I loved every moment of the sunny long weekend, but the best part was by far not the art or the food or the flowers, but seeing Kathryn, my CISV leader when I was 13 and friend ever since! She came all the way from the USA just to hang out with me for a weekend and it was so nice to see someone from home when I’ve been missing it so much.
I arrived Thursday late at night and crashed at my hostel. Friday morning I brought my things to the place where I would stay with Kathryn then headed out for a bagel and then to the Van Gogh Museum. I love art museums and so naturally I spent almost four hours there just exploring and learning. I liked looking at his works chronologically to see how he kind of spiraled towards the end. Interesting side note – there was not a single mention in the entire museum about Starry Starry Night. I wonder if they’re bitter that it lives across the pond in the MOMA. Anyways, Kathryn and I met up outside the museum and looked at cherry blossoms and walked around in the sunshine and it was wonderful! We did the Heineken experience, had French fries and mini Dutch pancakes, then did a boat tour. Afterwards we stopped at a grocery store to pick up dinner. Going to foreign grocery stores will always be one of my favorite things to do in a new place even if they don’t always vary that much in Northern Europe.
Saturday morning we woke up, had a lovely hotel breakfast (more Dutch pancakes), and then started our day at the Anne Frank House. I found walking around the annex where the Franks lived to be a very moving experience. There was also a museum part of it where you learn more about her life. We even saw her actual diary. I was also able to connect this experience back to visiting Bergen-Belsen, the place where she died, in 2011. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone visiting Amsterdam. Never forget.
From the Anne Frank House, we went to the Rijksmuseum. It was crowded and fun and I enjoyed seeing the Rembrandts among many other works of art. Then, we had a third big event of the day, tulips!!! We went to Keukenhof, which is basically the Disney of flowers. It was absolutely breathtaking. They made so many different designs with the hundreds of types of tulips and the park just seemed to stretch on forever. I find it incredible to think about how many gardeners they must employ to make this place beautiful and open to the public for only one month out of the year. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I’m glad I got to share it with Kathryn as we tiptoed through the tulips!
After the tulips we headed back into town. Both of us wanted to check out the Red Light District for funzies, but first off we walked around the area while it was still daylight and had dinner at a Malaysian restaurant because why not? I was disappointed because at first I couldn’t find any actual red lights, but eventually they appeared. Then we went back to the hotel to sleep yay!
On Sunday, after another yummy breakfast, Kathryn had to go L I put her on the train, and then went to bring my things back to the hostel to before continuing to explore. I went to the Portuguese synagogue and enjoyed seeing Jewish things that had survived the war. From there, I took a boat to the north of the city to check out one of the biggest flea markets in Europe. Though all I only bought two small things for the girls, I had never before visited a market like this and just enjoyed walking around.
Afterwards, I walked around a shopping area of town and the Flower Market. I sampled lots of Gouda walking in and out of cheese stores and had a cookie at a delicious place recommended to me by my lovely Dutch friend Minke. I couldn’t help going to McDonald’s because they have Stroopwafel McFlurries in the Netherlands! It was by far the best McFlurry I’ve ever tasted. On the way back to the hostel, I grabbed some salads at the market. I realized my hostel is situated on the awesome East Park, so I sat in a tulip field to eat my salads J It was fun to watch all of the Dutch barbecuing and hanging out in the park. I even offered to take pictures of this cute little family that came to play in the tulips where I was eating. The baby was so chubby it was awesome.
Monday morning I accidentally slept in, then just went to the airport. It was a wonderful trip and I’m so happy and thankful that I got to share it with Kathryn. Until next time, AmsterAmsterDamDamDam!
Cherry Blossoms by the Van Gogh Museum
Checking out the Heinken Experience
Entrance to Keukenhof - a Dandelion Fountain!
Not only are they beautiful but they have a great name
Seas of tulips
This guy was funny
A tulip made of tulips!
Kathryn & M-C!
Unconsciously trying to eat a macaron everywhere I go. Amsterdam's flavor was Cookie Butter!
Dinner in the Park
A few of my favorites combined
:) the end!