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The Flying Dutchman

Amsterbeen’s Dam Awesome

NETHERLANDS | Saturday, 16 January 2010 | Views [1125] | Comments [15]

Our travel blog - originally intended as a one-time only, epic adventure - has surpassed expectations and we’re gonna give the crowds exactly what they’ve been begging for: a sequel! DA DA DA...


From the masterminds who brought you “Too Jetlagged to Come up With a Witty Title” and other lesser known hits, comes the travel blogging event of the season!  Get ready to experience something so groundbreaking, so life-changing, it has already been likened to an improved version of the bible. 


“Amsterbeen’s Dam Awesome”

By Neil Loewen, Kendra Eyolfson, & Alice Berents

Alternate Title: Phlegmsterdam


So After the awesome time that was our first day in Amsterdam, we had no idea how we could follow it up with anything near as fun.  But we had to give it a try so we thought we would set out early Thursday morning for Anne Frank house.  Don’t expect many laughs here - holocaust-related museum’s tend to lack much levity.  On the way to Anne Frank’s we decided we needed some brekky to tide us over.  After taking pictures of every single canal we encountered, we came upon a nice little restaurant called letting.  Google translate tells me it means the same thing in Dutch as it does in English, so I have no idea why it was called such a boring name.  The food was anything but boring.  As per yoozh (i have no idea how you would shorten “usual”) when we eat in Amsterdam, we can’t find any actual Dutch food so we eat Mexican! or Italian! or McDonald’s!  So Alice got some Italian pesto thing and Kendra got “American Pancakes” (woot) and I got a croissant but Kendra’s pancakes stole the show because apparently Dutch people hold the belief that to make something American you just gotta add bacon.  I think that this is fairly accurate. (sidebar: Beer Can in a British accent sounds like Bacon in Jamaican. Try it, it will blow your mind.  Anywaaaay).  Ya. They had bacon cooked into the pancakes.  With waay too much syrup to be legal.  I love Amsterdam.  So we ate that up and drank down the mini, super strong coffee, and then waddled over to Annie’s for a tour.  The museum is the house the Frank family hid in for years, and has been completely restored for authenticity.  This museum was really well done.  I recommend it as mandatory Amsterdam for any future travelers.  Afterwards we walked back to the hostel down some random amazing street and Kendra wrote in her diary, I hung out on facebook, and alice had a minor freakout about us having to book the next days train tickets or something. I wasn’t really listening. (sidenote: Alice is an amazing organiser, love alice)  But we eventually did get up and go get the tickets, before once again returning to the hostel and, I have absolutely no idea - and at the time did not care - what Kendra and Alice did but - I slept hardcore like a baby/log for like 2 hours.  Jet lag was not yet quite out of my system. 


Immediately upon awakening, I was offered a shot of flugel, still no idea what it is, but its fluorescent and gets you out of bed quite effectively.  The Trynamic Trio next went to the bar in our hostel (yes our hostel had a bar) and did the 4 jagerbombs for 10 bucks, only because we can’t pass up or turn down a decent sale.  We then headed down the alley to a (way too) classy (for us) establishment where we had Magner’s cider, only because I had never had it, and the nice bar-lady taught us how to properly speak Dutch.  We then ditched that place for the first place we saw that served Amstel, only because we had to have authentic Amstel in Amsterdam.  There we sat at the bar with a couple other people who I assumed were Dutch.  I was impressed when they knew where Manitoba was and I told them all about how dumb Americans are cuz they know nothing about Canada.  One of the gentlemen, named Jules, then informed me that he was from Boston, which, I BELIEVE, makes him American.  This was awkward, but I handled it like a pro and made conversation with him for a while, rebuilding our, and Canada’s, recently shattered reputation as nice folk.  I guess I thought if I talked to him enough he would forget I called his people dumb?   Anyway, we ended up befriending him, along with  everyone else within a 20 metre radius of the bar, and he offered to give us a tour of the famed Red Light District.  He also took us to the skinniest alley in Amsterdam, which was random but made for a good photo-op.  Eventually we ended up at a Heineken bar, to complete our tour of Dutch beers and pubs.  Here we became even better friends with the bartender and she spent a great deal of time teaching, or at least trying to teach us, to say Dutch tongue twisters.  Plenty of phlegming necessary for pronouncing almost every Dutch word ensued.  We didn’t really learn a whole lot but my throat is still kinda sore.  Alice got started talking about lamb at some point in the night, and never really stopped, so Jules showed us to a Dutch-ish food place that served lamb and other stuff.  Jules (American), and the Dutch guy serving us, who had never met each other, interestingly talked to each other entirely in Arabic.  We were kind of thrown off but were too hungry to ask about it.  When it came my time to order I thought I’d get something easy, but was still obsessed with being AS DUTCH AS POSSIBLE, so the conversation went something like this:


Server: “Vat vould you like?”

Me: Can I have a hamburhghg(intense phlegming)hghghair?

Server: a what?

Me: (timidly) hamburger?


I pretty much decided to stop phlegming everything right there.  So apparently in Holland a hamburger is just a patty with no bun, but whatevs, it was delish.  I thought I’d spruce up my fries with some ketchup so I smothered them in it but found out much too late that it was hot sauce and not ketchup, which really destroyed my taste buds after finishing half of the fiery fries.  Meanwhile, Kendra was busy chasing the not-wanting-any-crazy-canadian-company cat that lived at the restaurant, and taking plenty of pictures of it.  I ended up eating nearly all her food.  After our late late lunch we decided to go home, arranging to meet Jules the next day at some now-long-forgotten corner at 9 am.  Luckily we told him to leave if we weren’t there by 9:30 because we didn’t even attempt to meet him there, and we never saw him again. 


So today we woke up groggily from the crazy night before and trekked off to the Van Gogh Museum.  We didn’t really use a map so we ended up take the scenic 12 mile long round about route, which culminated in Alice slipping on some snow and creating an epic, slow motion, seeming as though she had 6 legs shooting out in all directions, fall to the ground, where she sat in embarrassment. We picked her up while laughing hysterically with/at her, and finally made it to the museum.  For a building full of paintings it was pretty sweet, and we enjoyed it SO much more than the Rijksmuseum of two days prior. We then caught a canal boat tour back to our hostel and saw some more awesome Amsterdam architecture.  Interesting Fact:  all of the buildings in Amsterdam lean forward.  So much so that it is easily noticeable.  At the top of each building there is a hook that hangs above the street.  Jules taught us that this is because Amsterdam is so cramped and the buildings are so tight that much furniture (say, a piano) cannot be fit into the building through the door, so it has to be hoisted up the side of the building and brought in through the window.  Coolio.  Anyway, the canal tour was pretty sweet, and then while booking it to the train station to meet our train, we stopped at a McDonald’s, and it was sweet.  I got a “McKrocker” and it was some delicious dutch sauce/meat/patty thing in a bun and I want more.  Also, the fries come with some mayo-y mustardy thing that I want to call Hollandaise but maybe only because it was in Holland.  We will never know. 


We then hopped on the train and happily enjoyed the beautiful ride through the Dutch countryside, until the conductor came along and informed us that we were sitting in First Class, illegally, having only paid for second class.  We rather shamefully carried our luggage through all of the first class (while on a moving train, huge backpacks make you top heavy and easily tipped over - it took a while) while everyone stared at us with searing eyes, or so it felt.  We made it to the very end of the train and found our seats.  After a few minutes, the cutest little kid in the world came over, obviously sent by his mother, and asked us where we were from.  We began to talk to him and soon discovered that he was like the smartest kid we had ever met.  He was about seven years old, but smarter than all of us combined.  He also loved to act, and was quite flamboyant, and we sat and watched him for like 10 minutes as he gave us the news while acting like he was a news anchor. on television.  (real news stories: we learned all about the earthquakes in Haiti, etc.)  He kept sending it over to his little sister for sports or something but she would say that it wasn’t time yet and he would resume his spiel.  This newscast included full commercials for things like “leg-laps (your lap)” which included such benefits as “you can take them anywhere” and “you can hold anything on them”.  He was a super witty kid.  He even held the door for us when we got to Antwerp, and told us how beautiful the Antwerp train station was, and  could have told us about just about anywhere in the world. 


So we got to Antwerp and had one whole hour to spend in Belgium, before catching our train to Paris.  So we marveled at the massive old building that is Antwerp Central Station, and then strolled (albeit hastily and efficiently) down the first main street we found.  I had my first cup of coffee ever and it was apparently amazing (i found it aight) and then we dashed off to Leonidus, the best chocolate shop in Antwerp, for some authentic Belgian chocolate, which is fortunately not that expensive.  It was some of the best chocolate I have ever had it was SO good.  So then we had ten minutes before our train left and we made a beeline for the station but were distracted by some Belgian waffles that had ice cream and whipped cream and chocolate sauce and just everything that is good in the world on top.  So now we had about three minutes to the train and those three minutes included alot of running with heavy backpacks, which is a hilarious sight.  We made the train, but not before burning all the calories we had just consumed. We found Antwerp awesome, even if we only spent an hour there. 


So we continued on to Paris and had to switch trains every couple hours, cuz we had decided to take the cheaper, but WAY longer way there.  At one point we came to a station we weren’t scheduled to stop at, but the train came to a stop and shut off.  EVERYONE exited the train.  If it weren’t for Alice’s inherent need to know exactly what is going on at all times, we would probably still be sitting on that train, alone, wondering when we were going to start moving.  Turns out the car we were in disconnected from the rest of the train so that it could be picked up by another train and go somewhere else, and we had to move up to another car in the train.  This was a bit of a panicky moment but we made it and made it all the way to Paris.  In Paris, our hotel was right across the street from the train station, which was in a dirtier part of the outer parts of Paris, but we got a HOTEL instead of a hostel, so we really didn’t care.  The hotel seemed as though it hadn’t really been used much in the last 200 years, and if you are going to see a ghost somewhere, this is the place to be.  The elevator could literally fit no more that two of us, and im surprised it could lift us with all the luggage.  It had a manual door, and was a bit of an antique.  The room was in less than good condition but there was a balcony and we were on the sixth floor so we had a pretty awesome view of the grand old train station across the street and a castle-like building in the distance.  The one outlet in the room meant we needed to periodically switch the chargers between the two near-dead laptops and three cameras.  Also the only way it would work out for Alice’s camera was if it was plugged into a australia-canada adapter, then a canada-europe adapter, then a european converter (sidenote from Alice: CLEARLY this europe trip was slightly spontaneous.)  We stayed up until 4:30 in the morning, half because we were kinda jetlagged (can we still say that?) and half cuz we were writing part of this blog (YOU'RE WELCOME).


In the morning we took took the train and found the hostel we are staying in right now, and its a huge brand new building that is way too nice to be a hostel.  Its raining today and so far we have walked down the street and gotten a french style pita or something from a little deli.  Tonight we are going to see the Eiffel tower and find the 26 beers for 10 euro (which is like 14 dollars) deal that a hosteler just told us about.  Let me know if these are too long or too boring or what you want to hear cuz I really never know.  I’ll keep ya posted,                       

               Neil, Alice, Kendra (the Trynamic Trio)

Tags: alice berents, amsterdam, anne frank house, antwerp, belgium, kendra eyolfson, neil loewen, paris, red light district, van gogh museum




Keep on keeping on yo, because your European vacation is (almost but not quite) superior to sitting out on Lake Winnipeg ice fishing - which is what is happening today. They may be long, but they read fast.... DUDE - punctuation?!?! Just kidding, we love it!

  Whitters Jan 17, 2010 4:39 AM


hahaha i love the part about (timidly) asking for a hamburger!

  Eric Jan 17, 2010 4:57 AM


hahah bacon pancakes?! Sounds awesome!

  Sacha Jan 17, 2010 5:41 AM


Of course bacon pancakes - that's Opa's specialty! Keep writing bro, make em even longer, attach pictures!ps. Maybe start paying attention to what Alice is doing to get you places so when she leaves you you'll know what to do!

  Alexa Jan 17, 2010 10:09 AM


Love it all, you write very vividly. Would like to add to the request for more punctuation or maybe just more paragraphs. Stay safe and have fun!
PS. still laughing about the red man, Red Man!

  Alice's Mum Jan 17, 2010 11:13 AM


Sounds like you're having a wonderful time! I too request photos... Alice continue to keep the other two aware of the Red Man, you obviously learnt your road rules well! Miss you heaps you've got firetwirling to teach me when you get back!

  Alice's Biggest Little Sister Jan 17, 2010 3:21 PM


NEIL! i absolutely love this. and i am totally beyond jealous that you are in paris right now. ONE of the fashion capitals of the world. (of course i would know that right?) i would also like to see pictures =D

  kerri Jan 17, 2010 5:05 PM


this is AMAZING

and we totally have sat in first class by accident in germany once. WHOOPS!!

keep having a super amazing fabulous time! love all your faces!

  helen Jan 17, 2010 8:46 PM


i lOVE this =) feels like im actually with you guys i love how much fun your having!!!

  steph Jan 18, 2010 8:25 AM


Kendras Mum sent me your link. Great to hear what she has been up to. Hope she's learned a little from Alice about how to organise travelling. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  Kendras Aunty Heather (in UK) Jan 18, 2010 10:20 AM


You guys are HILARIOUS!! Killed myself laughing! Neil, cant believe you had your first cup of coffee, Finally. I can now stop plotting how to force feed (drink?? Force drink?) you an entire mug of coffee.
Peace out guys, Have fun and safe travels!!

  Della Brynn Jan 19, 2010 7:16 AM


HI Neil - we're thinking about you and laughing at your adventures. Had a great birthday party yesterday. 82 years young. We missed with the Heep Heeps! Love Opa

  Opa Jan 19, 2010 7:57 AM


you guys are unreal. ps those drink specials seem awesome seeing as you two are the biggest alcohol "enthusiasts" i know. oh man, you guys rule.

  Tanner Jan 20, 2010 7:01 AM


I love how you guys just ditched the poor American guy. Buuttt... my guess is that he wasn't going to show up at 9 anyways, and was going to try to outwit YOU. Crazy Americans.
haha, keep having lots of fun, and be careful!! (especially you neil.)

  Sandra Jan 22, 2010 12:35 PM


So.. England has Red Man! I should have known better.

  Kendra Jae Mar 9, 2010 9:28 AM

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