This weekend, I visited Amsterdam and it was quite the experience.
We started off our trip by staying in Malaga, Spain, the coastal town where there is a bigger airport than Granada. The hostel we stayed at definitely had...character....but did the job and allowed us to get some precious sleep before our flight. This was amazing because, unlike the travel time to Brussels, we were able to sleep in a bed so when we actually arrived in Amsterdam, we werent ready to die.
Our Amsterdam hostel was on the edge of the Red Light district, far enough out of it that there were not any "windows" out our front door, but one wrong turn could land you in the center of the district. Like in Malaga, this hostel had plenty of character, with a bar on the main floor and no locks on the dorms. Strangely, I felt pretty safe the whole time, probably because this was one of the first time where everyone I met at the hostel was within probably 8 years of my age--no creepy 50 year old men that wanted to be my "friend". We explored the town, stumbling upon the red light district and many times, surrounded by the clouds coming from the coffee shops. We met up with some friends who are studying abroad in Ireland, and spent the evening and next morning with them, visiting a flea market, cheese factory and exploring the city. On Saturday, we tried to go on the free walking tour, and ended up on the Spanish one, because there was no room on the English one. So there we were, in the Netherlands, a country where almost everyone speaks English, and we had managed to find the twenty people that spoke only Spanish. But it was pretty awesome that we actually could understand it. Being with all native Spanish speakers and following a Spanish tour guide and we actually understood what was happening! Definitely pretty cool. Later, we visited the Anne Frank museum, a very moving testament to the Holocaust. The testimonies of survivors created an aire of reality of the gravity of the situation. It was a very moving experience. We finished off our night in our hostel bar where we met some very interesting characters, including an Australian who was younger than us but had been traveling alone for two months and a Russian who made a "joke" to the Americans that the Cold War was not over........(then things got uncomfortable, especially with us Americans). For some reason, we had mulitple people ask us what part of Canada we are from (why...).
Like Brussels, we didnt have much time there, but the time we were there we really enjoyed. It was great to catch with our Ireland friends and make new friends, too. I am continually amazed by how easy it is to meet people and how fun seeing new places is. But Amsterdam was such a beautiful city with plenty of history. It was also one of the most friendly places that I had visited. Another good weekend trip.