Prague & Amsterdam: Part Three (last one!)

I’m going on a one-day trip to Venice Wednesday and wanna write a post about my mom’s lovely visit here this past weekend so I’m aiming to write about Amsterdam today, my mom tomorrow, and Venice after I get back after Thursday. Marathon blogging starts NOW!

So, Amsterdam. You are a cool city, for sure. Your government and social structure is very enviable, your insanely coordinated multitasking bikers impressive, and your canals a pretty sight. But compared to Prague, I’m sorry to inform you that according to a recent trio of travellers, you didn’t measure up. Why? Well, for one, your weather was dastardly and it felt like you wanted us out. Yes, you provided us with a one-of-a-kind tour guide replete with history and free cheese, but a surprising number of your residents made us feel unwelcome thanks to various rude and obnoxious interactions. It’s funny you say that you love us, because we didn’t really feel is too much. Maybe the winter wasn’t the right time to visit. I’d love to return to see your tulips blooming all over your country another time. Maybe then I’ll change my decision on you, but until then, Prague was much better.

Eh don't be so aloof then, Amsterdam!

Then don’t be so aloof, Amsterdam!

The night we arrived, we diligently (and arguably maddeningly) made a two day itinerary that covered tons of attractions: Museumplein (Van Gogh and Stedelijk (modern art) museums), the Albert Cuypmarket, Anne Frank House, flower market, sexmuseum (this is Amsterdam, home of the–>), Red Light District, Jordaan neighborhood, canal ride, walking tour… so much!!

The food: Pretty good. From what I saw, Amsterdam didn’t push as much of a uniquely regional cuisine than did Prague. I tried stroopwafel, a chocolate/caramel/cookie sort of concoction that was yummy and almost overdosed on gouda cheese. Expecting three euro to fetch me a sliver similar to that from London’s Neal’s Yard Dairy stilton I’d enjoyed previously, I was shocked when I was handed enough cheese to last a baguette-and-cheese tourist half a week!

If you’ve ever even heard of my existence, you probably know of my intense appreciation for food (consisting of both flavor and the biological side), so here is a market slideshow!

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As I said above, the weather wasn’t very nice. Worse than London, even. But the architecture aided our eyes, especially the curious sights of leaning buildings and tiny houses!

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MINISCULE house! Back in the day, owners were taxed according to how many windows they possessed, so this house is a cheeky response to the taxman.

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EVERYBODY BIKES! If I return, I’d like to take a cycling tour of the city.

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Such a hopeless houseboat romantic. Wouldn’t that be a good prompt for a movie?

DSC01450Our hostel was positively adequate. We were given beds, heat, safety, and a one-minute walk to Dam Square, the historic and current center of Amsterdam. There was one bathroom for eight people and no common room. I, the hotel booker, didn’t actually realize this until a week before we left but it was also situated in the Red Light District! Ha ha! Turns out this area is one of the safest places in the city because it’s so heavily policed. We strolled around one night, taking in the sight of women selling themselves in the windows. In the canal swum waterfowl that, as my friends said, must’ve wondered why our species was so obsessed with sex while they handled it without much fuss.

Can’t finish this post without a shoutout to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (a major part of this movie relates to Amsterdam)

(only click this link if you know the end because it’s is a SPOILER joke)

and now I can’t end without showing you all more from a great well of laughter: Remix and autotune videos!!! AAA SO GOOD k done. (jk never done with these)

The Anne Frank House was phenomenal.  This was the actual house where the family hid for two years, outfitted as a living museum. Absolutely incredible.

Here are some last photos:

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I’m starting to think with an accent

It’s happening! Also, am beginning to weigh different groups of words in the milliseconds before I speak, e.g. contemplating between saying “thanks a lot” and “thanks very much”, or “very” versus “quite”. They are similar but the latter words give off a more British vibe in my head. I feel more proper- like I’m actually going to use the vocabulary words I’ve learned in my years of English classes and books, and not rely on a broken-down vernacular (widespread in my hometown and college), through which we communicate in fragments rather than sentences. Maybe it won’t happen, but the hope and motivation to speak more clearly and well is there! (Obviously not coming across through my run-ons, but since I’m blogging to mostly Americans, can I get away with that?)

I’ve met some cool Americans on the boat tour of the  Thames and while shopping at some markets in northern London today. Am eager to meet the real British folk, who should be arriving tomorrow in time for Monday’s classes.

My mom was very vocal about offering to fund a smartphone abroad, but after much decision, I declined. I have yet to purchase a phone (sorry mom! Plan on it tomorrow!) so in the meantime, I’ve had my new pals scrawl their numbers and names on the back of a receipt. Here’s hoping that some of the magic that accompanies songs written on bar napkins will turn up in the friends department! Not planning on it, though, since I remember how at Wes’ orientation, the race to make friends is a mad dash of courage, speed-friending, and lots of disposed phone numbers after a few weeks. But that’s okay! At least I gathered some nice pictures of us! (posted below)

Vassar/flatmate, Florida, and I

Vassar/flatmate, Florida, and I

boat tour scene. May add that on the tips of the scones lay dots of that beatific CLOTTED CREAM! But only in tiny drops and unfortunately not enough to give me a feeling of coming home. Soon!

boat tour scene. May add that on the tips of the scones lay dots of that beatific CLOTTED CREAM! But only in tiny drops and unfortunately not enough to give me a feeling of coming home. Soon!

Myself, Westchester and Philly

Myself, Westchester and Philly

Niagara (NY!) and I

Niagara (NY!) and I

But as I was saying- no smartphone, yada yada. That means I don’t have access to apps or GPS or anything more mobile and high-tech than a map right now. So, I have to plan out my trips in advance- including writing down directions and important information on notepaper! (Don’t have a printer either.) Wow, do I appreciate the ease of technology now! BUT MOM, NO that doesn’t mean I want a smartphone. It’s a refreshing change, and has an end date. I’m happy to embark on this challenging experiment!

Also, some shoutouts to pals:

Marissa: I met someone from your college! In the theater department though, so you may not know them.

Elior: I was going through my picasa and this came up:

this would happen to either one of us. it did.

this would happen to either one of us. it did.

Also while shopping today there were these hilarious cards about *awkward topics* and an ad about taking old people out on Sundays and I miss you so much!

Also, Netflix is different over here! Some cool movies available!

Tomorrow I plan on scoping out some of the town on my own. It’s fun to be with friends but I know myself enough to recognize my market habits and love for moseying. I know there is much social fun to be had in the future, and I may go to a pub with friends tomorrow for dinner. Can’t wait!