It’s time part 2 of my update from last week! After my long week in Brussels, I took a bus up to Amsterdam to meet up with Joanna, Rose, and a few girls from Rose’s program! Amsterdam was on my top list of places I wanted to go, so I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go (shoutout to Flexibus for the 12 Euro ticket to Amsterdam).
Let’s just start with the fabulous Amy’s-first-time-in-a-hostel-alone story. Friday night, I had to stay in a different hostel than the hostel I was staying in Saturday and Sunday because they were booked Friday night. SO, I searched and searched for a cheap hostel because I was just spending 12 hours there. I finally found one, booked it. It had good reviews and I booked an 8 person mixed dorm thinking it would be mostly young people, right? WRONG. When I first got to my room, it actually seemed promising. There were two girls from Ireland and they were getting ready to go to an all night Coachella type festival. We chatted as they got ready, and they were just the funniest girls I have ever met (they even know what UMASS was!). Then, in the middle of this great conversation, a 60 year old man enters our hostel without any items but his track phone, didn’t say a word, and sat in one of the beds. Then the girls left for the concert and it was just me and this random guy who did not speak English. Needless to say it was an awkward night for both of us and I was more than ready to meet up with Joanna to check into our other hostel.
Saturday: Saturday morning, I made my way to the hostel to meet the gang and start our first full day in Amsterdam! We started off getting brunch, obviously, at one of the best brunch spots in the city. We then continued on to the classic I am Amsterdam sign and had a lot of fun climbing the letters and taking pictures! We then went to the Van Gough museum and it was a great experience. We got to learn a little more about his life, what inspired him to paint, and why his most famous works became famous (although we’re still confused about the sunflowers).
We then walked around the city, stopping every other street to take pictures by the beautiful canals. I loved the city, but every street looks exactly the same so you A) get lost easily and B) feel like you’re walking around in circles. Nevertheless, it was too beautiful to complain. That night, we had a wine and dine canal tour of the city. Unlimited wine with dinner and dessert, how could you go wrong? It was so much fun being with such a genuine group of girls, sipping wine, and seeing the city all lit up! 10/10 recommend if you’re ever in Amsterdam.
Our last stop of the night was to walk through the Red Light District. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I saw was like nothing I imagined. The District in itself is fairly large, and you just walk up and down the streets. On most of the streets there are windows with women standing right on the same level as you, waiting for work. The John simply knocks on the window, and if the woman accepts his invitation, she just opens the door and he can walk right in. It was such an experience and unlike anything I have ever seen before. If you’re ever in the city, I definitely recommend just walking around the District. It’ll get you thinking about the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution and how the system works. It’s also a big part of Amsterdam, so you should walk around if you want a full picture of what Amsterdam entails.
SUNDAY: We began by visiting the Pancake Bakery, aka the best pancake house. Amsterdam is known for their thin, but decadent pancakes. Mine was a Hawaiian one with banana, pineapple, ice cream, and whipped cream. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the pancake because I was SO excited that when I got it I ate it up right away. RIP, the pancake didn’t stand a chance. After that, we walked around and hit up a few souvenir shops to pick up all the necessities: postcards, stickers, tulips, and Dutch shoes. Rose and her friends had a plane to catch, so after that we said our goodbyes and Joanna and I continued our adventure in the city!
We walked towards Jordaan, which is an area with really cute boutiques and window shopped for a bit. We then stopped in at the cheese museum and sampled some cheese! It was delicious. It was then time to get in line for tickets to go into the Anne Frank House, a must see if you’re in the city. We had to wait for 25 minutes in the cold and rainy weather, but it was so worth it. It’s been awhile since I read her diary, so this was a good opportunity to learn even more about her life and the Holocaust. After the museum, Joanna and I found a great dinner place with AMAZING burgers (pictured below). It was a great end to an even better weekend. We got to see and do everything we wanted!
Monday, I got up early and caught my flight back to Copenhagen! I had such a fun week and weekend, but was exhausted and could not wait to go back “home”. Being away this past week made me realize just how much I consider Copenhagen home now. I kept calling it home whenever I was away and I honestly believe it is just that! I was comforted when I arrived in the cold and grey weather that is so notorious in Copenhagen. It felt like returning home when I walked into my bedroom at my kollegium. When I went into the kitchen that night to make dinner, the Danes on my floor and I spent the evening catching up and it felt like I was part of the family. I love traveling to new areas of Europe and I don’t intend on stopping, but I also really love that Copenhagen has become another home for me. I love the city, the people, even the cold weather, and I am so happy that I still have a few more months here!