Jackie and I arrived in Amsterdam on Monday evening. Schipol Airport is a very cool place with glass angles and sculptures. Jackie’s cousin, his wife and her twin sister picked us up at the airport and drove us to the apartment they rented. The flat is very cool, all the sleek architecture that these modern cities are known for. We went out for a late dinner (by our terms, not by Dutch terms) at a restaurant in a rotunda not far from the apartment. The menu was all in Dutch, which made ordering a bit difficult. With some help from the wait staff we found some orders that were delicious: fondue, tempura, burgers! And surprisingly, I even enjoyed the favorite side: fries and mayonnaise. But the mayo is not what we are used to back home, less fat and more like sour cream–yum!
After dinner, we went back to the flat to plan the next day’s attack. We found The Amsterdam Dungeon, an interactive tour of the ancient “dungeons” of Amsterdam. The tour is equal parts terrifying, hysterical, and historical. Afterwards, we went to see De Poezenboot, which is a houseboat that hosts cats of all kinds. The boat started when a cat-crazy woman welcomed any homeless cats into her houseboat. Amsterdam is known for its canal systems, and they are everywhere, all connecting. Houseboats line the canal borders, most of them are stationary residences that don’t typically move. The houseboats are beautiful, each one with its unique style. Anyways, Poezenboot is one of these houseboats, devoted to the cats and almost like a vet clinic on the water. A few good photos, but after petting a few friendly felines, there isn’t much else to it.
Pretty quickly we learned that bikes rule Amsterdam. The sideways are even split into a very busy bike and moped/scooter lane next to the walking lane. This bike lane is busy, I mean REALLY busy. Stepping into the bike lane is worse than actual car traffic. We wandered the streets into shops and restaurants and eventually made our way back to the flat. On the way, we found a Nutella store, devoted to waffles and warm Nutella, what a dream!
The next day, Jackie’s cousin flew back to the States early in the morning, so we had a whole day on our own! Our hostel was located on the other side of the city, so we decided to walk and take in the sights. We stopped for breakfast at a cafe, and worked our way toward the Van Gogh museum. I loved the museum, although it was a bit busy. We then followed the canals and stopped for lunch, before venturing in the rain toward the hostel. At what seemed like forever, we arrived. We dropped off our stuff and walked back towards city centre. We decided to take an evening boat canal tour, starting just as the rain clouds parted. The sights were incredible! We got to see the intricate architecture of the houses sitting on the canal-lined streets and learned a bit about the history of the city.
We docked and walked back towards the hostel, and on our way stopped for an incredible dinner at Rembrandt Corner restaurant (highly recommended!). We made it back to the hostel, went to bed early and before we knew it, we were on our way back to the airport via train early Thursday morning. Though it was a short trip, I think we walked the city enough to feel like we really saw it all!
Today, I leave for an overnight trip for our game against Darlington tomorrow. The game will be covered live on Twitter (@Bristol_L_rugby), at it is scheduled for 2pm London Time. Be sure to follow the match, and hopefully we can pull out a win! Yesterday, I submitted my application for the Fulbright Fellowship as an English Teaching Assistant, and now all there is to do it wait. Cross your fingers! No plans for next week, who knows what we will find next.