So, our last Contiki night in Amsterdam was very interesting! We got to bed and headed off to sleep, only to be woken a wee while later by Tegan coming in, and when I awoke and looked up, there was also some random guy standing there too. I thought it was just someone in there helping Tegan with something, but no it turned out she had just met him in the pub and had brought him back with her. Next thing, Tegan is climbing into bed and smashes her face on the edge of the bunk, and it was incredibly loud. 30 seconds later, she says 'is that blood?' and stumbles down the bunk onto the floor and heads into the bathroom. She comes out a minute later with a towel and blood streaming down her face. I took a look and told her that I was pretty sure she needed stitches as it was a reasonable sized gash.
So we went downstairs to the reception and the guy down there stuck a plaster on and said yes she did need to go to the hospital. So I headed back upstairs to get her passport and credit card, while the others tried to wake Andreanne, our tour manager. She didn't wake up at first, and I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital with her, but she woke up eventually. So Stacey and I headed back to bed, only to have Megan knock on the door to get in, and just as we drifted off again, Tegan was back. I couldn't believe how fast it was, she had left the hotel in a taxi and was back at the hotel in less than an hour. If that was at home, then it would've taken about 4 hours to be seen. She just got her eyebrow glued rather than stitched. It probably took us another hour to get to sleep because she kept going on and on about it. So last night we had a total of about 2-3 hours sleep! This made the rest of the day lots of fun.
So we set our alarms a bit later this morning and just got up 15 minutes before breakfast so that we could go down and eat and say goodbye to everyone. Tegan and Megan had planned to get up over an hour before breakfast, but when I woke up they hadn't moved, so they ended up in a mad rush to get up. We had breakfast and said our goodbyes and then went upstairs to finish packing. As we were leaving, I ran over my big toe with my suitcase and cracked my toenail again! I keep doing it to the same big toe.
We got a taxi to our new hostel, checked in, and dumped our bags in the holding room because we weren't able to check in yet. The taxi ride to the hostel was crazy. Amsterdam is the scariest city to get around! Everywhere you go you are in constant fear of getting run over - by cars, trams, and cyclists. There are literally millions of cyclists in Amsterdam, it's crazy. Every time you cross the road you need to look both ways 3 times and then you still almost get hit because they just come out of nowhere. It makes me incredibly nervous, even on the footpaths, because cyclists have right of way everywhere! If a car hits a cyclist, even if he's in the right, then he will still get done for it. There are special cycle lanes on the footpaths, and sometimes you don't realise that you're walking in it until it's too late. The city is definitely set out for people to ride their bikes. And they do it with such ease too. You see people dressed in any type of clothing just biking with breeze throughout the city. They don't get dressed up in a whole lot of cycling gears just to bike to work etc.
Anyway, the taxi trip to the hostel was scary because he was going so fast and swerving in and out of cyclists, squeezing down these skinny little streets where there were cyclists coming at him. I had to just turn away in the end, I couldn't look out the front window anymore. I've never been a backseat driver before, but I certainly was during this trip. I was getting pains up my feet to my shoulders from the tension!
Once we had checked in, we wandered down the street and found a tram stop which got us up to Central Station where we knew we could catch the hop on hop off bus from, which would then take us to the Anne Frank house. As we got there, we saw the bus parked up, so we ran our little hearts out to get to the bus before it took off. It ended up sitting there for at least another 5 minutes, so we didn't need to run at all. We also realised later on that the hostel was quite close to the Anne Frank house and we went in the opposite direction to catch the hop on hop off bus to Anne Frank. Oh well. We got to see a bit more of Amsterdam while we were at it.
We had to queue up for 45 minutes to get in, but at least there was wifi available, so time went pretty quick. Once we got in, we wandered through a bit of a museum first and then headed through the bookcase and through Anne and her family's living area and bathroom, before heading up some incredibly steep stairs (which weren't possible to climb without holding on) that lead up to the Van Pel's living area and the kitchen. We couldn't go up to the attic, but they had positioned a mirror so that you could see up there. The house was very small, I think smaller than the virtual internet tour makes it look, and it also wasn't furnished, which I didn't realise, because it is in the virtual tour. The only original things which still existed were pictures on the walls which Anne had glued up, a height chart which they had recorded on the wall, a map, and a couple of other things on the walls. Otto Frank had wanted the furnishings to be removed before the house became a museum (but I can't remember why).
At the end, we came back down the stairs and into another museum part with some more information, videos and diary replicas (the original had been removed). It was really great to visit the house, and even to see what she could see from her own bedroom window. This is a place which I had wanted to visit for a long time. It's a shame that I wasn't allowed to take photos to remember things better. I bought a little magazine about the house, as well as a few postcards.
Once we left the house, we went next door to the bagel cafe again for lunch - for another delicious cream cheese bagel. I wish we had these in NZ! Then we caught the tram to the Van Gogh museum. Each time we need to head back to the main tram station because we can't figure out how to get anywhere otherwise haha. We know if we go back here (and pretty much every tram goes in this direction) then we can get on another tram which goes straight to wherever we're going. So we got to the museum and I tried to find the pictures which I knew of his, while Stacey didn't know a single one - she had never heard of Van Gogh before at all. I couldn't even find 'Starry Night', so I don't know if it was there or not. But I saw a few others which I knew. We were over this pretty quickly, considering neither of us know anything about art, but at least I can say I've been there.
After this, we attempted to find our way to the Ice Bar. We caught the right tram, but once we got off we couldn't figure out how to find the bar. It was only by chance that we came to a corner which I had recognised going around yesterday on the hop on hop off bus and seeing the Ice Bar on the way. So we wandered down this street and then just stumbled across it because there was a polar bear on the footpath.
Once we got onside, they gave us a big thick poncho to put on and some gloves, but no boots. So here go me and Stacey into -10 degrees in our bloody shorts and jandals! I'm sure when I went to the one in Melbourne, we were given boots too. The funny thing was, we weren't the only ones in jandals, because there were a bunch of random Australians there too in jandals. So we went into the freezer and got our first drink and had some photos, then we sat down ready for the 4D movie. It was a weird movie about a penguin but the 4D part was just feeling as though we had ice wind on our feet! There was a wind machine that kept going, so it was pretty much just torture on our feet. Once the movie was over, we got our second drink and then left pretty fast. We had a look at our photos, but weren't keen on any and left. But my god, once we hit the heat of the street the alcohol just hit us! We both only had 2 small premixed cocktails, but obviously mixed with the ice cold and then the heat outside, it wasn't good for us. I felt more drunk in those 10 minutes than I had for the whole trip - I think we both did.
So we swayed our way back to the tram, but on the way we decided that we may as well have some tea while we were still in town, even though it was only 4:30, rather than come back out again later. That way we could just go back to the hostel, shower, and then have an early night. We bought our dinner with the £40 that I had found earlier that day (and converted into Euros). We had the most expensive meal that we've bought the whole trip, but it still wasn't actually expensive, we've just bought cheap the whole time.
After dinner, we went back to the hostel and took our stuff up to our room, and wow what a surprise in this room. We thought the see through shower in Paris was bad enough, well in this room, the shower AND the toilet were see through, much to our delight. We semi organised our stuff ready for our early departure in the morning, and then we still headed out again anyway for some dessert. We ended up going to Ben and Jerry's for a Belgium waffle. This was the closest we were going to get to Belgium, since we weren't going through there with Contiki back to London. They were so delicious. Neither of us could finish them though because they were so rich!
Once we got back to the hostel, we both awkwardly managed to have a shower while the other one occupied themselves, and then we were in bed by 10! The earliest we've been in bed this whole trip I think. But considering we only had 2 hours sleep last night, we were certainly ready for it. Plus we have to get up at 3:30am to catch a taxi at 4:30am to get Stacey to the airport for a 5am check in. I don't have to check in until 8am, but it's just easier to get a taxi with Stacey and then hang around at the airport. So tomorrow, I'm off to Sweden and Stacey is off to Nice in France.