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The Road Less Traveled By Serving to systematically document my travels on my journey to self-disovery. In reality, thoughts, musing, and experiences as I attempt to travel to as many worldly destinations as possible.

All Aboard to Amsterdam!

NETHERLANDS | Wednesday, 29 January 2014 | Views [579]

Making use of our long weekend, this weekend Maddy, Josh, Jim, Billy, Marissa, Son, Leynah and I all sojourned to Amsterdam. Land of Van Gogh, clogs, and, of course, the Red Light District. After a long week of classes, we boarded our bus to begin our journery. Literally - it was an 11 hour bus ride, including our fancy all-inclusive ferry ride across the English Channel. Luckily, we made friends with some British guys, played Cards Against Humanity, and got a little inebriated to pass the time. And I, in typical Caroline fashion, completely passed out. I swear, it's a gift.

Once there, Maddy and I spent the day wandering around the city. It's surprisingly easy to get around. After a mere 2 days, Maddy and I could walk ourselves just about anywere. The layout is almost like a spider web, with long streets curring across hemispherical canals. The city center is up at the top, so on a map the whole thing looks like an oyster with a pearl. Pretty neat. We made our way to the "I AMsterdam" letters and took the mandatory touristy pictures, watched some street performers, checked out the architecture, and mostly just marveled at how beautiful the city is. We later learned that the crooked buildings, which we had all wondered about, were actually built like that on purposed to accomodate getting furniture up and down the extraordinarily narrow staircases. We're talking don't fall or you'll hit the bottom. Trust me, we had our near misses. 

In the spirit of a true tourist, the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum were necessary stops. Although the Holocaust and World War II are not areas of history that have ever really grabbed me or that I have felt comfortable with, the Anne Frank Museum was incredible. It was so tastefully done, and though I have read Anne's diary, it brought so much more to her words to see how she was living, to experience her life first-hand. Otto Frank stipulated that the Secret Annex be left completely devoid of furniture, but even so, reconstructions and images help to really put a viewer into the mindset of the situation. It was very powerful. As for the Van Gogh Museum, it consisted of 3 floors of work of Van Gogh's, his mentors, and his contemporaries. I find it incredible how expansive his oeuvre was, despite the fact that he was only an active artist for 10 years. He sure did paint a lot of pictures of his face in that time though...

Although his most famous works were not there, as they are located in bigger museums and galleries, it was very interesting to view not only his progression as an individual artist, but how he attempted to emulate the work of others, mainly Delacroix. His paintings of wheat fields were particularly striking, as those works are nowhere near as renowned as his other landscapes.

And now, the moment everyone has been waiting for. Enough with the intellectual exploits. Time for stories from the Pub Crawl. What would a European vacation be without one? Josh found one specifically honoring the night before Australia Day. An international holiday, it would have been rude to turn it down. From the beginning, a man ran about with a bottle, periodically whetting our thirst and contributing to our intoxication levels. Each bar/pub/club that we went to was very different. One was even Latin themed (sorry Becca, your salsa instruction made absolutely no appearance). I won’t go into the gory details, because I am sure that my mother dearest does not want to read about my alcoholic exploits in detail, but suffice to say that we all made it back to our respective hostels and onto the bus the following morning. All in all, a success!

Tags: amsterdam

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