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Erasmus Shenanigans "Not all those who wander are lost"

Amsterdam- Part 2

NETHERLANDS | Monday, 27 February 2017 | Views [778] | Comments [1]

Amsterdam- Part 2 (2nd4th Jan) 

We rushed to Amsterdam as if we were a couple of Road Runners being chased by Wile E. Coyote. We took an early train, walked the 15 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal to Shelter City Hostel and checked in. Shelter City was a Christian, no smoking, no drugs hostel; a rarity but available for those who weren't interested in the Dutch Capital'sparty life. The entire hostel is run by volunteers and they offered free accommodation for a month to those who would help run it. It was also very cheap and with the price, came a constricted shared room of bare minimums. But who cared?! We were out of there and into the streets lined with canals quicker than you could say marijuana. Or should I say canals lined with streets?  The thin water bodies ran parallel and adjacent to each other on different streets. Small stone bridges curved over the streams and if you stood in the middle of one, you were met with a picturesque view.  

The first day we walked to the Museumplein, the area in which the major museums were located. Gleicy had told me that she wanted to go to the 'I AMsterdam' sign and to our delight, we found it in front of the Rijksmuseum! It was crowded and the sign was very long. This made it impossible to get individual photos. Since there were only two of us, we got lost in the crowd if we took the photo from far away and if we were closer, the rest of the sign couldn't be seen. Despite this paradox, we had our own fun. Gleicy said she really wanted to climb the letters like several people were doing. The problem was we didn't have anyone to boost us up and we were too short to get a hold ourselves. Nevertheless, I managed to hoist myself half way up the letter 'e' before realizing that my jeans didn't allow me the flexibility required for the task. After doing about 3 sideways leg extensions I jumped down and the man who had been waiting after me climbed the entire thing like it was nothing...I left with a derpy expression on my face. 

We wandered inside the Rijksmuseum to find out the adult price for over 19's (damn it!) was €17.50! The Van Gogh Museum was the same and this seriously pissed me off. Being a student and a museum lover can be tough sometimes. For once, I had something to compliment the UK on and that was free admission to all the major museums in Central London. We grabbed some hot dogs and met one of the Brazilians we had met the previous night for New Year's celebrations. He and Gleicy pointed out that half of my jeans were covered with bright yellow mustard. This day was only getting better and better. When you're on holiday, you just have to accept that shit happens and move on. We climbed a bridge over a big ice skating rink and that's where I took my favouritephoto of Amsterdam; The Rijksmuseum in the far background, the 'I AMsterdam' sign in front and hundreds of ice skaters in the foreground. I almost forgot about my mustard jeans. 

We aimlessly walked around the city after that and I finally tried the Dutch apple pastry that was a tradition for the Dutch to eat on New Year's Eve. We met another one of the Brazilians in Dam Square and it was getting quite chilly, when I asked them if anybody was interested in finding out what the huge building was to our far left. It turned out to be The Royal Palace of Amsterdam and the entrance was only about €9, half the price of the other museums. I decided to go and explore while escaping from the cold, but the others were too broke to accompany me. The first thing that hits you is a magnificent, whitehall. The main thing I remember about the Royal Palace, though, was the statue of Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders (he was literally carrying the Earth on his back). I started getting lost in idealistic thoughts about how my problems didn't matter when there were people like Atlas, when I realized I had to go find my friends in crowded Dam Square without any means of communicating with them. Very luckily, I found them on a bench and we went souvenir shopping. There was this great store just off Dam Square with souvenirs for less than 5 euros and Gleicy and I went wild.  

That night, we agreed to meet the four guys at "Bulldog", the oldest chain of coffee shops in Amsterdam. Let me tell you, we had the shock of our lives when we left the hostel. What seemed to be a normal area during the day, turned into the heart of the red light district at night. And our hostel was right in the midst of it!It was pouring and the guys were running late, so Gleicy and I got sausages and fries from a stand. The red-eyed server asked us where we were from and exclaimed 'Brazilian women are so sexy! And Indians...you guys are very spicy eh? *wink wink*'. It was super amusing and he gave me free sauce. Finally the guys arrived and we tried entering but it was really crowded. After walking up and down for some time, we entered one of the coffee shops and luckily found a space for the 6 of us. We chilled for 3 or 4 hours and then headed home, me barely being able to keep my eyes open. 

By now Gleicy and I had travelled together for 11 days. Tensions can run high when you continuously spend time with someone for that long. We had planned to attempt to see the Anne Frank Museum today. Travelers we had met along the way had warned us about the impossibly long queues and told us if had not booked the tickets online it was not worth the trouble. I was intent on seeing it and when we reached the queue, 45 minutes early, it was about 200 m away from the actual entrance. Gleicy started showing signs of wanting to leave and I asked her to wait until the doors opened at 3.30 pm to see how fast the queue would move. When they did open, I threw a stroppy fit about not wanting to wait alone for so long, and being the sweetheart that she is she waited with me for 3 hours in that queue. We barely said a few words to each other and when we did, the couple in front of us eavesdropped to see whether the tension would rise even higher. Somehow it didn't and I can say that against all odds, I saw the Anne Frank House! I think the queue exhausted Gleicy because when we got back to the hostel she said she felt so weak and she promptly went to bed. I was surprised I didn't catch pneumonia and I did the same.  

The most spontaneous thing about the trip happened that night. A Dutch girl I had mentored as part of the Buddy Scheme at UEA the previous year messaged me at 7 pm, asking if I was in Amsterdam and how I was doing. I replied, asking if she was free to meet up as I was leaving the next morning and I was happily surprised when she said yes! An hour later, I met her near my hostel and she took me around Amsterdam on the back of her bicycle (it was a miracle I didn't have bruises the next day) to various bars and clubs (we might have ventured into the Bulldog again). Amsterdam has these seriously cool fast food vending machines where you insert coins and it opens a door like a mini microwave containing different Dutch fast foods. She treated me to them and made me feel like a local for the night. I was so exhausted the next morning that when Gleicy woke me up to say goodbye, I couldn't even get out of bed. I felt guilty but Gleicy was laughing at me and I hugged her goodbye and wished her a safe journey back to Brno. I was to catch a later train to Groningen, where I would meet Veena after 5 months! But at this point, I was just looking forward to a comfy apartment and a hot shower more than anything else.

The most iconic photo I took

The most iconic photo I took

Tags: amsterdam, anne frank, coffee shop, red light




hilarious hot dog-stand guy ! :D

  poongothai Feb 28, 2017 2:12 AM



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