Anyone who knows me was incredibly confused when I told them I was going to Amsterdam. I suppose it doesn’t exactly seem like “my scene”. Well, it wasn’t. I had visions of small blonde dutch children dancing around in clogs! I did not see one child the entire weekend. What I did see a lot of were bikes. When the people of Amsterdam get on their two wheeled contraptions, they become monsters. “If you hear a bell, run like hell” said our tour guide. By that rule, we were supposed to be running like hell the entire trip. Fearing for my life was only the start…
I’d like to attribute our HORRIFIC experience to our hostel. It was called The Bulldog. The people who worked there were about as friendly as bulldogs. Oh and it was located smack dab in the middle of the red light district. Oh and there was a “cafe” in the lobby. Poor Carley had a worse experience, as her bunk mate(s) were of a…diverse nature. I’m sure she will post a detailed account once she recoveres here.
Frighteningly uncomfortable hostels aside, Amsterdam is home to some incredible architecture, museums, and lots of tulips! We were able to visit the Rijksmuseum (home to the majority of Dutch art, including pieces by Rembrant and Vermeer), the Van Gough Museum (his paintings in chronological order), and the Anne Frank Huis. Another amazing part of Amsterdam was the diversity of food choices (you mean I don’t have to eat small slices of Iberian ham for breakfast lunch and dinner???!). We had tomato soup, cous cous, chinese and indonesian. Also, we found a spot. An adorable lunch/coffee shop that I would like to move into. We also managed to find some incredibly quaint clothing and home stores in the tiny canal streets. Shopping put us all in a much better mood, especially after attempting a walking tour in 20 degree weather. I was not a happy camper. Hopefully my pictures will shed a more positive light upon this small Dutch city.
I should elaborate on the Cous Cous Club – pictured above. We stumbled upon this restaurant on the outskirts of the city. As we walked in, the small space was packed, but the owner quickly came out and lead the five of us through the kitchen and into their second dining room, which he had opened just for us. The waiter proceeded to recite the three items on the menu: vegetable cous cous, vegetable cous cous with lamb sausage or vegetable cous cous with something I didn’t understand (I’m assuming it was meat). As we waited for our food, our new restauranteer friend sat with us and explained that he picks out the vegetables at the farmer’s market every morning himself. Everything is steamed, there is no grease allowed in the kitchen! The food was amazing. Finally, a real home cooked meal. Afterwards, he offered us seconds! It made going back to the bulldog a bit more bearable.
And now for the best part of Amsterdam: De Laaisie Kruimel
It had just opened three weeks ago and was already published in 5 articles. Owned by an adorable dutch couple who make everything by hand in that very building. We went there for an embarrassing number of meals and would spend hours at a time hiding from cold, scary amsterdam with their large brownies, delicious coffee and fantastic sandwich combos. The wife does all of the drawings on the menu, windows and labels herself, which made the place all the more special. We were all ready to trade in our lives as students of spanish and become their students of scone making after our 3 days there!