Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fall Break Part 2: I Amsterdam*

Nice to meet you, Sterdam. I am Christa.

In between beers, the Irish stewardesses slipped me a horse tranquilizer and dragged me onto the flight to Amsterdam. We touched down in Schiphol about an hour and a half later and were greeted by one of the most complex-looking languages I have ever seen. One of my fellow travelers bellowed the Dutch word for "airport security" at immigration, which prompted some unrelenting guffawing from the rest of the group and death stares from others in line.
We stayed in the mansion of hostels. It took up an entire floor of an apartment building and had two bedrooms, an en-suite bathroom, and a kitchen, which, to our delight, was fully stocked and free to utilize.
One of the bedrooms in the hostel
We had a pretty quiet first night, only heading out to a Spanish Tapas restaurant (because, as I understand, Dutch food is known to kill the taste buds and sting the nostrils) before taking a stroll around the city and getting a feel for its layout. 
The next morning began our adventures in Amsterdam. I'm not sure if it was the scenery, the ever-lingering scent of cannabis, or the fact that the weather was anything but overcast, but Amsterdam was, upon stepping out our door, my favorite city of them all. Goats and horses trotted about the park across from our hostel, commuters on bikes weaved in and out of automobile traffic, and the people on the streets (da da dee da dey) possessed a generally cheerful disposition. It was blissful.
The park by the Van Gogh Museum
We paid a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, but you all know my views on museums by now. I was more captivated by the boat tour that we had reserved in advance. It was a slow, peaceful tour along the river, interrupted only by the automated guide barking ferociously in guttural Dutch.
That night, we paid our first visit to the Red Light District, a must for Amsterdam tourists. The Red Light District is a sequence of alleyways stretching out for blocks and filled to bursting with prostitutes beckoning at passersby from behind glass doors. It's not nearly as scary as such a thing would be on the city streets of Philadelphia. In fact, I found it rather funny.
Our second day in Amsterdam consisted of sleeping in, moseying, and Anne Frank. We made our way over to the Anne Frank House throughout the course of the day and toured the museum. It was endlessly interesting and heartbreaking; it's really an experience to be had in solitude.
The next day, after lunch, we boarded our third flight en route to Prague. To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed that Amsterdam was only our second stop. I will definitely be returning in the near future.
Bye bye, Amsterdam. Ci vediamo. Or, as the Dutch would say, "we zein." I just Google translated that.

*This blog post is Writing Exercise #14 for CM316

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