Amsterdam, Netherlands Mar 27-April 2

First, a geography lesson, because this country is kind of confusing:

Holland vs the Netherlands

Theres a reason I’m a nurse..

This is the first trip I’ve ever gone on without Ben. 😦 My friend Stephanie is moving back to America this summer, and this was our last opportunity to take a trip together. Originally we were going to go to Spain, maybe do a road trip or just see southern Spain in general. That didn’t happen. We happen to both be huge procrastinators and are very indecisive. So we booked this trip a week before we were going to leave! It just happened to be the cheapest flight to a city neither of us had been to before. We were sold!

Ben just started going to school again a few weeks ago. He is taking one class, its the first time he’s been in a classroom since high school! The first attempts at undergrad schooling were online and not super successful. I don’t blame him, online classes are tough for me too. So we’re both excited for him to be taking classes here through University Maryland University College. They are held at the hospital or in the base high school classrooms. Ben didn’t want to miss any school for this trip so he opted to stay home. I was sad but understood the rationale.

Either way, I knew Amsterdam was going to be fun!

DSC03144

DSC03146

our cozy room

DSC03147

of course we had to have mexican food on the first night…

DSC03149

walking around downtown on our first night

DSC03150

our sleepy walk from the hotel to the tram station each morning

DSC03151

this was my favorite tree… 🙂

DSC03152 DSC03153

the national monument i think… i dont remember

DSC03154 DSC03155 DSC03156 DSC03157 DSC03158 DSC03159 DSC03160 DSC03162 DSC03163 DSC03164

Smartshop. Full of bongs. The irony doesn’t escape me

DSC03165

this is the sight of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. Apparently they dominated the shit out of trading for many many years. They called it the Golden Age. It’s pretty amazing that the building still stands here

DSC03166 DSC03167 DSC03168 DSC03169

this is a prison for women as our lovely guide tom is explaining in this picture. to rehab women in this prison, they were forced to spin yarn. that’s not bad. the relief above the door depicts what happens to the women if they don’t follow the rules. the inscription says something along the lines of “I’m not hurting you because I want to, I’m doing it because you forced me too” nice huh?

DSC03170 DSC03172

this is the gardens inside of a residence meant for nuns or single women

DSC03174 DSC03175

these are some of the signs on the buildings of people businesses depicting what services or goods were inside

DSC03176

the skinny houses of amsterdam. they are built on marshy ground so they are constructed to lean a little forward if at all. there is a hook at the top of each house to use a pulley system and move furniture into the house. they lean forward so that the furniture doesn’t bang off the side of the house. smart!

DSC03177

bike riding everywhere! i’ve never seen so many people riding their bikes in a city

DSC03178 DSC03179

this is my favorite revelation of the trip. smoking weed is NOT legal in Amsterdam. Can you believe that?!?! It is merely tolerated. That’s why the stores that sell it are called “Coffee shop” and not “Weed shop” So the government can say, oh they’re just selling caffe. My mind was blown. There are clearly people partaking sitting outside this coffee shop.

Stephanie and I didn’t go in any for obvious reasons. but this cracked me up. The people of Amsterdam are very tolerant people by history and by virtue so this isn’t surprising for natives. They are also comprised of about 51% of citizens who were not born there! Talk about an accepting and tolerant nation. I could definitely live there it was a wonderful and kind city.

DSC03180 DSC03181 DSC03182 DSC03183

“Eduard Douwes Dekker, better known by his pen name Multatuli, was a Dutch writer famous for his satirical novel, Max Havelaar, which denounced the abuses of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies.”

He went and worked with the slaves for a few weeks and after realizing the conditions were terrible and not going to get better any time soon, he wrote a novel about it calling out all the people involved. He wasn’t very well liked by those people but he woke up some of the citizens of amsterdam to what was going on. Pretty brave and amazing individual

DSC03184

that red house is the most narrow house in all of Amsterdam. Our tour guide said that the man that lives inside the house is taller than the house is wide.

DSC03185 DSC03186 DSC03187 DSC03188 DSC03189

You can see the city coat of arms at the top of that church. People often think the XXX are linked to the city’s red light district. But that isn’t true. The official city motto is Valor, Resolution, and Mercy. The three X’s, saltires (St. Andrew’s crosses), are taken to represent these even though the X’s are older than the motto. A popular tradition also links the X’s to the three threats to the city: Water, Fire and Pestilence (Plague).

DSC03190

The third building in from the right is Anne Frank’s house. Seeing the house was surreal. We did take a tour of the house but were not permitted to take pictures. I will never forget what it felt like to be in that tiny space. It took me back tot he monument in Berlin, about the insurmountable obstacles in the way of all those suppressed by the Nazi regime. It was a very moving experience, I think it’s worth everyone going through it at least once in their life.

DSC03191 DSC03192

some examples of the accepting and tolerant characteristic of the city…

and then we went to the zoo!

DSC03193 DSC03194 DSC03195 DSC03196 DSC03197 DSC03198 DSC03199 DSC03200 DSC03201 DSC03202 DSC03203 DSC03204 DSC03205 DSC03206 DSC03207 DSC03208 DSC03209 DSC03210 DSC03211 DSC03212 DSC03213 DSC03214 DSC03215 DSC03216 DSC03217 DSC03218 DSC03219 DSC03220 DSC03221 DSC03222 DSC03225 DSC03226 DSC03227 DSC03228 DSC03229 DSC03230

zoos always have the prettiest gardens

DSC03231 DSC03232 DSC03233 DSC03234 DSC03235 DSC03236 DSC03237 DSC03238 DSC03239 DSC03240 DSC03241

baby elephant!!! 🙂

DSC03243 DSC03245 DSC03247 DSC03248 DSC03249 DSC03250 DSC03251 DSC03252 DSC03254 DSC03255 DSC03257 DSC03258 DSC03259 DSC03260 DSC03261 DSC03262 DSC03263

i was wishing i was that lady!

DSC03265 DSC03266 DSC03267 DSC03268 DSC03269 DSC03270 DSC03271 DSC03272 DSC03274 DSC03275 DSC03276 DSC03277 DSC03278 DSC03279 DSC03280 DSC03281 DSC03282 DSC03283 DSC03284 DSC03285 DSC03286 DSC03287 DSC03288 DSC03289 DSC03290 DSC03291 DSC03292 DSC03293 DSC03294 DSC03295 DSC03296 DSC03297 DSC03298 DSC03299 DSC03300 DSC03301 DSC03302 DSC03303 DSC03304 DSC03305 DSC03306 DSC03307 DSC03308 DSC03309 DSC03310 DSC03311 DSC03312 DSC03313 DSC03314 DSC03318 DSC03319 DSC03320 DSC03321 DSC03322 DSC03325 DSC03326 DSC03327 DSC03328 DSC03329 DSC03330 DSC03331 DSC03332 DSC03333 DSC03334 DSC03335 DSC03337 DSC03338 DSC03340 DSC03341 DSC03342 DSC03343

and then we went to the Rijksmuseum! 

DSC03344 DSC03345 DSC03346 DSC03347

American hotdogs in Amsterdam! lol

DSC03348 DSC03349 DSC03350 DSC03351 DSC03353

mmmm fro yo!

DSC03354

stroop waffles. basically the best waffles ever with caramel in the middle. sooo good!

DSC03355

and then we went on a river cruise! 🙂

DSC03357 DSC03359 DSC03360 DSC03361 DSC03362 DSC03364

these house boats were so cool to me. makes me want one 🙂

DSC03365 DSC03366 DSC03367 DSC03368 DSC03369 DSC03374 DSC03376 DSC03377 DSC03378 DSC03379 DSC03381 DSC03382 DSC03384 DSC03385 DSC03388 DSC03389 DSC03391 DSC03393 DSC03394 DSC03397 DSC03399 DSC03400 DSC03402 DSC03403 DSC03404 DSC03405 DSC03406 DSC03407 DSC03408 DSC03409 DSC03410 DSC03411 DSC03412 DSC03414 DSC03415 DSC03416 DSC03417 DSC03418

Our last day in Amsterdam we decided we needed to go see the famous tulip fields. whether or not they were in bloom. It was a short 20 minute bus ride from the airport to a city called Keukenhof and it was magnificent. I wish it was my backyard.

IMG_4413

the first starbucks ever to spell my name right!

IMG_4417

 

ooh they were so close on stephanie’s

DSC03419 DSC03420 DSC03421 DSC03422 DSC03423 DSC03424 DSC03425 DSC03426 DSC03428 DSC03429 DSC03430 DSC03431 DSC03432 DSC03433 DSC03434 DSC03435 DSC03436 DSC03437 DSC03438 DSC03439 DSC03440 DSC03441 DSC03442 DSC03443 DSC03444 DSC03445 DSC03446 DSC03447 DSC03448 DSC03449 DSC03450 DSC03451 DSC03452 DSC03453 DSC03454 DSC03455 DSC03456 DSC03457 DSC03458 DSC03459 DSC03460 DSC03462 DSC03463 DSC03464 DSC03465 DSC03466 DSC03467 DSC03468 DSC03469 DSC03471 DSC03472 DSC03473 DSC03474 DSC03475 DSC03476 DSC03477 IMG_4367

souvenir shopping was interesting…

IMG_4368

the closest ill ever get to blonde hair

then we went to the van gogh museum. at least this place let us take pictures!

IMG_4375

check out baby jesus’s abs!

IMG_4376 IMG_4377 IMG_4378 IMG_4379 IMG_4380 IMG_4381 IMG_4382 IMG_4383 IMG_4384 IMG_4385 IMG_4386 IMG_4387 IMG_4388 IMG_4389 IMG_4391 IMG_4393

we had to go to an irish pub so steph could see her favorite futbol team play. it was a good time:)

IMG_4394 IMG_4400

we went to a tulip museum and learned more than you ever wanted to know. i wish i had bought some bulbs and brought them home with me

IMG_4401 IMG_4402 IMG_4403 IMG_4404

the cheese museum was also amazing. we bought so much good cheese! Just wait mom and dad… i saved some for you 🙂

IMG_4405 IMG_4406 IMG_4407 IMG_4409 IMG_4412

of course we had to go to a hard rock while we were there.

Such a fun trip. I’ll go back with Ben one day and enjoy it all over again. But for now, I remain in love with the city.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s