Wednesday, March 20, 2013

À Bientôt Bruxelles [My Weekend in Amsterdam]

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom.  And in freedom, most people find sin.” 
-- John Green

This blog post is from two weeks ago, but it's taken me awhile to upload.  Mostly because of one word. Midterms. A term that inspires fear, shock and horror.  But also much relief once it is over.  For me, it also meant that I got to go to Amsterdam!

I was going to Amsterdam for two reasons: one, I really wanted to see it; and two, my friend was visiting.  The lovely Re and I became friends last semester while we were in Morocco together.  Since it was her spring break, she decided to do a Euro-trip by herself.  Pretty amazing, considering that she'd never left the country (except for Mexico) until she went to Morocco!

Anyways, Amsterdam.  The bus ride there was a bit horrible, but funny: I was quite exhausted and nauseous from the night before.  However, I got to sit next to a few women from Morocco, and practice derija!  Once I arrived, I walked over to the hostel.  The place is called Heart of Amsterdam and is based on a box office/movie theater.  The reception desk is called the box office, and each room is designed after a film.  The room that I stayed in is called "The Wall."

What happened was I waited two hours for Re, getting anxious to the point that I thought "I need to call the police and ask if they've found an American girl with amnesia!"

Of course, guess who chose to walk up at that moment in time... Re.

She had to buy gloves because she forgot hers.  At least they were cute souvenirs!

Anyways, our nights and days were filled with a serious of strange events:

We met a group of girls and guys who proceeded to show us around the Red Light District in Amsterdam.  Speaking of the Red Light District, I would never be able to stay in Amsterdam, just because I feel like I would get desensitized to sex... If it's so in your face, all the time, wouldn't you get used to it?

Later, we went to a club, and several other places.  Re and I, while freezing to death since it JUST HAD to start snowing while we were in the club, decided that Dutch people are super friendly, very bizarre, and just a bundle of fun all around.  This was in between getting phone numbers from Italian guys, getting grabbed and kissed on our cheeks by some random guy, and getting photo-bombed by some guys from Amsterdam.

Two of the friendly Dutch men we met!

The next day, we also went to the Van Gogh experience, as well as the House of Bols.  The Van Gogh experience was fantastic, since they also used 3D technology to recreate some of the paintings, so it felt as if you saw the painting step by step, and even felt as if you were part of the painting.

In front of the My Dream exhibition sign, I couldn't stop grinning.

Now, disclaimer, it did take us awhile to walk to the House of Bols.  In fact, it took us about 30 plus minutes, since we got lost!  But it was worth it: the place was fun, colorful and awesome.  I even semi-flirted with the bartender!  The place was more than worth the 12 euro ticket: we tried three drinks, got to learn about the history and even got our own drink recipes!

The House of Bols is the house of the oldest alcoholic drink: genever.

Even if I didn't go on the Heineken Experience, I saw the boat!

In the end, there were no space cakes for me, no baby bump shrooms, and no making out with Dutch guys.  What I did end up loving was the people that I met, and the fact that Re came with me to experience Brussels!  But that's a whole other blog post...

This is also the most stereotypical photo of Amsterdam I took, minus the cannabis!

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