Travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Amsterdam- the city where [virtually] anything goes. This past week was a reading week, meaning there were no classes, so Tom and I decided to pack up and take the train to Amsterdam. We left London Wednesday morning and had a 2 hour layover in Brussels, Belgium. I would have loved to have spent more time in Brussels, but such is the life of a traveller.
When we arrived in Amsterdam the only thing I could think was, “we are not in Kansas anymore”. As soon as we left the train station and pulled out a map, we had hoards of people eager to help us get to our hotel. Of course, they are looking for tips, but it’s hard to provide money when you’ve just gotten to a city with different currency. So, for 50 cents, we were led to our hostel. What a deal.
In an effort to see as much of Amsterdam as we could, we stayed right in the heart of the red light district. I definitely could have come home a bit richer, as I was offered a window and a few inquired about how much I charged. Sorry guys, I have way better taste than what you could offer. So interesting though, to see guys wager with girls. It is truly a whole different world out there.
Our hostel was surrounded on every side by the infamous coffee shops. For those not so much in the know, the coffee shops are famous for selling marijuana. You go in, look at the menu, pick your poison, and smoke until your heart’s content. It’s amazing what people can get away with in this country.
Because not everything can be sex, drugs, and rock and roll, we also spent our days wandering Vondel Park, the Van Gogh museum (where I bought I print of a skeleton smoking a cigarette. I don’t know why, but I found myself oddly attached to it), taking boat cruises and visiting Anne Frank’s house. We also went to a cafe called Winkels where, after laughing hysterically at the name, we each got the best piece of apple pie we’ve ever had. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t even like apple pie.
EVERYONE RIDES BIKES HERE. It’s amazing. They are literally everywhere. There are about 1.2 million bikes in the city and only 400,000 residents. Obviously, if I lived in Amsterdam, this would be my ride.
I have to say, I’m sorry we couldn’t have recorded the entire trip for you to view. It’s tough to put Tom and I in one place and not have it be pandemonium. However, thankfully we made it back in one piece. It was a close call at some points, particularly on the night Tom almost got run over by a vespa. It happened so fast I didn’t even have time to react. I would have had to watch it all happen. After re-living the entire event, the only thing Tom had to say was, “if I had gotten hit by a vespa, I would have been so sad. And probably would have hurt my elbow.” It’s great to know that he can be so optimistic as far as thinking that if he had gotten hit by a vespa going 60, his elbow would have been the only thing injured. You’ve got to love him.