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!



our cozy room


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


walking around downtown on our first night


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


this was my favorite tree… 🙂

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the national monument i think… i dont remember

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


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

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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?

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

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


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!


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

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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.

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“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


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.

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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).


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.

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

and then we went to the zoo!

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zoos always have the prettiest gardens

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baby elephant!!! 🙂

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i was wishing i was that lady!

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and then we went to the Rijksmuseum! 

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American hotdogs in Amsterdam! lol

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mmmm fro yo!


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


and then we went on a river cruise! 🙂

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

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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.


the first starbucks ever to spell my name right!



ooh they were so close on stephanie’s

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souvenir shopping was interesting…


the closest ill ever get to blonde hair

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


check out baby jesus’s abs!

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

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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

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

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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.


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