Wednesday March 19- Thursday 20, 2008
We left Antwerp this morning around noon to get to Amsterdam. We wanted to get some last second souvenirs in Belgium before we took off, plus the train ride was only about 3 hours. We woke up and had breakfast at our hotel. After, we went out into the city and bought some Belgian chocolate to send home and bought some souvenirs. We got on our train around noon and got into Amsterdam around 3. Of course, it was raining when we got there, and so for about 45 minutes we wandered aimlessly in search of our hostel in the rain. We finally found out and walked into one of the sketchiest hostels I have ever been into. You had to walk downstairs to get inside, and everyone was just sitting inside (Eric said they were high, but Caitlin and I had no idea whether they were or not) and they were playing hippie music and there was smoke everywhere. Thankfully, our room was in a different building, so we took our luggage out of that room (you probably could have gotten high just sitting in it) and went to our room. We sat our stuff down and dried off for a while. Afterwards, we went to the sex museum. Amsterdam is definitely a unique place, so the sex museum was definitely a first. It was pretty different to say the least. But after that, we went to walk the red light district, which was also a little different. I have never seen anything like it! It was actually pretty humorous because it was just so weird to see. We sat in a coffee shop in the red light district as well. We would watch for men to come out of the buildings and put their hoods or hats on and scurry off. We found that pretty funny too. Caitlin and I were probably pretty immature in Amsterdam, but I guess you could call us sheltered. After the coffee shop, we went to Club Paradisso. It was about 10 minutes from the red light district. It was actually pretty fun! They didn't play the greatest of music but we had fun anyway. We came home around 3 and went to sleep so we could get up and explore.
Thursday morning, we got up really early so we could beat the line at the Anne Frank museum. The house was actually an office that hid Anne Frank and 8 others during WWII. It was really cool to see. We got to go through each room, see her diary, and then read little excerpts as we toured through her "house". It was very interesting. I was able to send my parents a video from the house at the end, so that was kind of fun. But I really did learn a lot from going through her house and it was a little more eye opening because we were actually where she was. After that, we walked around the main road and bought souvenirs and once again, French fries. At 11:00 we took a 3 hour walking tour. The tour was really good! It definitely gave a us a lot of background information on Amsterdam and why it is so liberal like it is. Of course, it rained throughout the tour, but we tried not to let it ruin it. The tour guide took us through the red light district and told us that there are now 200 coffee shops (where drugs are legal) and there will never be more added. We got to see the Jewish ghetto also and all of the different canals. Amsterdam is actually a really cute town! There are so many canals! It would have been beautiful to see when it was sunny so we could have gone to the tulip museum and all of the flower gardens, but we still had a lot of fun. After the tour, we went back to the hostel to get dry and change clothes because we were cold and wet. We had seen a sign advertising salsa dancing, so we went to go check that out but it ended up not working out so instead we went inside a Christian bookstore and hung out there for quite a bit of time actually! Then we went to a restaurant and I got the biggest calzone I have ever seen! It was actually pretty good! Definitely doesn't beat Sicilian pizza but it was not too bad We sat at the restaurant and hung out there for a long time. It was pretty fun to just hang out and relax. We got back to our hostel and were sleeping by 1030 since we had to leave for our train at 5 the next morning to Berlin!
All in all, Amsterdam was nice. It is definitely the most unique place I have ever been! But there was a lot of history and a lot of things to see so that was cool. I never really understood why the city is the way it is until the tour, so it explained a lot. I loved seeing the Anne Frank house, especially since our next stop is Auschwitz. Amsterdam was a lot of fun though. And although we didn't have the greatest weather, it didn't really affect us that much. I loved seeing all of the canals. Amsterdam went really fast but it was definitely something different, which is fun to see and be a part of!