Anecdotes

Old travel Series: Amsterdam (Europe, Part 4)

This post is part of a series where I’m incorporating old travel journal entries into this blog. This part of the series is from my first ever trip to Europe, when I visited the Netherlands, Belgium, and France with a group from my college. This is transcribed from the original hand-written journal I kept during that trip while I was still just a wee college student. I hope you enjoy it! Stay tuned for more tales of our adventures!

Didn’t catch the first post in this series? Start from the beginning!


All right…Amsterdam.

It has actually been two days since I’ve written in this journal because last night I was very tired when I was supposed to be writing so I pretty much just went straight to bed after dinner. So I will now recall the last two days in the pages to come. Yesterday was Sunday, and we didn’t go to Mass with some people from the group, so we had several hours of free time in the morning. Norwood and I went walking around Haarlem, but nothing was open so we just walked around and looked at stuff and took a few pictures. I did manage to get this nifty sticker off of a pole, though.

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After that, we met up with the group and took the train to Amsterdam. We went to the Hermitage Museum and the Rembrandt House, but by that time the scattered movements of the group was starting to get on my nerves, so we stayed behind when they left for the Modern Art Museum. This turned out to be a great decision because Norwood and I got a chance to explore the city and relax a bit. We first came upon a great flea market where I bought a white Gypsy skirt and Norwood bought the belt he’s been needing for ages.

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After the flea market, we settled in at a restaurant which was relaxing and enjoyable. The servers were all really nice and the bartender there was hilarious and made us laugh.

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After eating, we decided to go check out the red light district while it was still light outside (hey, it’s famous so when you’re in Amsterdam you have to at least SEE it, so then you can say you were there). It was actually very strange. The prostitutes were standing in windows, so you could go window shopping for them before you buy them. It was gross and really sad. I wonder what happened in those women’s lives that made them turn to this.

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On a lighter note, Norwood and I also checked out the erotic museum just for a few laughs while we were there in the good ‘ol red light district. It wasn’t that great of a museum, but it was pretty hilarious. After that we pretty much got back on the train and came back to Haarlem, where we had dinner and then conked out immediately after.

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Monday

This morning we woke up later than the group by 20 minutes. We left the hotel, got breakfast, walked to the train station, got my money exchanged, figured out how to get money wired to Norwood, caught the train to Amsterdam, hopped on the tram, and still managed to make it to the Rijks Museum before the group even walked in through the door.

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The Rijks Museum was amazing, filled with so many beautiful works,  but the only problem was the extremely rude people at the backpack check-in counter. We pretty much had to fight them tooth and nail to get our bags back because we checked them with the group, but they left the ticket with this one girl in our group who doesn’t have a clue, and she left the museum with the ticket while half of us were still there with our bags checked in! They didn’t want to give us back our bags and we had to argue all the way up to the manager to get them back. Stupid group. From now on, when it comes to checking in bags at museums, I’m not part of a group.

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Anyway, after the Rijks Museum, we went to the Van Gogh museum and it was awesome! the Van Gogh museum was amazing to see. I absolutely loved all the Van Goghs, but another artist I found out about today and also loved was Egon Schiele. I did a study and also pasted some of his postcards in this book for you to see.

Rembrandt’s House

img_0640The Rembrandt House was very cool. Apparently, this is the house he lived in (in Amsterdam) at the time in his life that he had just come into some money and started spending it frivolously. He bought this huge ridiculous house. He had a really nice studio, but the thing that struck me the most about the museum/house was that there as a room adjacent to his studio which was full of random crap…skulls and bones, strange gadgets, stuffed animals, African weapons, etc. It was really bizarre. The reason he kept all those things was to learn and draw from them. It must have been difficult to be an artist in those days when there was no photography or internet readily available for reference pictures.

After that…

After that, we went shopping, at first with a lot of people, but the group mentality kicked in and soon Norwood and I ran away to be on our own again. We found some great shopping in Amsterdam but all the stores close at 6pm! Also, I fell down the stairs in a shoe store and bruised my thigh. We tried to meet the shopping crew at a restaurant in town but we ended up at a different place than them so we ate alone and came back to the hotel after that.

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The train situation was a little tricky because a train carrying a lot of rocks had derailed earlier and the tracks were closed as a result, but we were able to catch a different train on some other tracks back to Haarlem so it worked out. That’s pretty much all. I would write more but I’m very sleepy!

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