Monday, March 23

fun in the sun!

Monday, March 23
Me, Kathy, Rachel

The six of us (Amanda, Kaitlyn, Rachel, Brittany, Kathy, & me) left for a quick, sunny weekend trip to Amsterdam on Friday morning. Originally, we had planned to wait until the end of our month of travel to visit the top sights in the Netherlands, but the weekend before finals seemed like it would be easier and a nice break. Okay, I know...this whole semester has been about breaks! But anyway... :)

On the train, we met up with a friend of Kathy's friend Francesanne, Daan. He is from the Netherlands and was had an absolute blast with him! He helped us navigate the city and of course could translate things in Dutch for us. (Though it really isn't ever a problem finding English translations or speakers in major European cities).

We stepped out into the warm sun, only to be nearly run over a bike! Take that incident and multiply it by at least ten because there are a billion bikes in Amsterdam. Before coming here I had heard that Maastricht was known for its bikes. No. Amsterdam has many, many more.

B- Brittany, Kaitlyn, Kathy, Me; F- Amanda, Rachel

We found our hostel pretty easily...unfortunately, the sewers in front of the building were being repaired, so we were greeted with the worst smell imaginable. Kathy and Brittany had to switch rooms because it was so bad! Rachel and I shared one of the smallest rooms I have ever been in. It's possible our couchette to Budapest was bigger. And that's saying a LOT. Anyway, though it was smelly, the hostel was gloriously close (a street over) to Museumplein, where two of the major museums are. The view below is the Rijksmuseum.

It is also a nice park area with the "i amsterdam" sign. I had never heard of this thing before but we had a hilarious photo shoot with it. I can't stress enough how much I appreciate warm weather and the sun after living in a country where winter means grey and drizzle (rather than a few days where you might need a jacket, Texas) for two months.

Rachel, Amanda, Kaitlyn

Daan, Kathy, Me

After this, we ate a leisurely lunch of authentic Dutch food outside! Finally it was warm enough to enjoy that European tradition...that wicker chair, flowers on the table, eating outside kind of meal. It was quite nice. Then it started to get cold. We headed to the Anne Frank museum (see next post) and wandered around shopping and buying souvenirs and enjoying canal after canal of the beautiful city.

Brittany, Kaitlyn, Me

I loved the canals, and it was nice to be in a city where we weren't frantically scrambling through a metro to get to all the famous landmarks. Amsterdam reminded me a little of Austin, just because it is so lively and independent and a little quirky and probably both have been influenced by hippies.

And they are both just as busy at night! We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant that was pretty delish, and though we were planning to head to a museum (they don't close until 10:30) we decided to take our time and hit both the next morning.