“Night Like This” by LP suits Amsterdam quite well. Queue it up, ladies and gents.
Braxton and I, Edinburgh’s resident power couple, set out one last time to explore Europe’s nooks and crannies. This time we had our sights set on Amsterdam.
Amsterdam wasn’t going to make it easy for us, though.
Those are the faces of a pair that utilized far too many forms of transportation in one morning.
Waking up at 2:30 AM to reach the airport by 4 AM (opening time, mind you) is rough for a girl that prefers to sleep until 9:30 every morning. A short flight and sunrise later, we had arrived in the Netherlands and were ready to roll. Our first obstacle was navigating our way out of the airport- that place is MASSIVE, I tell you.
My first hitch was at Border Patrol when the inhumanely adorable guard asked if I was traveling with anybody. Flushing, I motioned behind me to Braxton in his red coat. “Yeah, I, um, am with with a dude who is red. No, he’s wearing a red shir-coat. A red coat. I am traveling with the boy in the red coat.”
The only thing affected by this encounter was my pride.
Moving on, we aimed to tackle the ticket machines that projected instructions solely in Dutch. After staring at the screen for what seemed like an eternity, we selected a station that seemed correct but were promptly left with the rejection of our credit cards. Fantastic. We resorted to talking to a real life person working for the transportation desk.
“We tried to purchase a train ticket from the automatic machines but it wouldn’t accept our cards. Could you help us?”
Staring. Intense staring.
“This is the station we need to get to.” *Shows phone to him*
Staring. More staring. “You’ll need to take the bus to to drop off point and then the train to your station.”
“Great, could we purchase those here?”
“Of course. The trains are down. That’s why the machines weren’t working.”
“So we can’t take the train?”
“You can, that’s why I’m here selling you a bus ticket.”
“So we CAN take the train?”
“Yes, that’s what I’ve said. I’m selling you a bus ticket to get on the train but the trains are down.”
At this point we were confused beyond belief but he gave us our tickets and pointed us in the general direction of the bus. After a short bus ride, we made it to the train station where the trains were most definitely running. Despite buying tickets, however, we were unable to enter the platform. An employee clad in orange let us in through the handicap entrance after informing us that the train was free on that day (?!) and we were on our way.
The next hitch? IF YOU CAN’T USE THE TRAIN TICKET TO GET IN, YOU SURE AS HECK CAN’T GET OUT. Desperately, we clutched at the gates, looking for a way to get out. Eventually we pressed what we assumed was the handicap button.
Wrong. So wrong. The alarms went off, all of the gates opened, and the escalator stopped working. Didn’t matter, we saw an out and we took it.
As we waited for the tram, we watched security blazing down the road. The ran around the platform looking for danger but found none. Oops.
Hopping on the arriving tram, we left the chaos behind and showed up at our hostel ready to start our day.
Rented bikes chained to one of the city’s millions of bike racks, we set ourselves up with Heineken’s and prawn sandwiches. Thank god for fresh seafood.
Refreshed and ready to explore, we set out to discover Amsterdam.
Check out those unbearably beautiful colors. It’s hardly fair.
We indulged ourselves with pastries and traditional Dutch cuisine while familiarizing ourselves with the many canals.
We spent an hour wandering random streets look for the “I Amsterdam” sign and only stumbled upon it because we drawn to the Rijksmuseum that was situated behind.
Touring the Heineken factory, practically inhaling far too many Poffertjes, and sitting alongside the canals to rest our tired leg muscles ate up our days.
Speaking of leg muscles, I mentioned that we rented bikes, right? Definitely suggest it to everyone visiting the city. It’s fast, efficient, and you’ll fit right in with the locals. Just DON’T lose your bikes.
One fateful afternoon, Braxton and I spent an hour walking up and down the same street that we SWORE our bikes were on, looking for the lamppost we thought we remembered. An hour of searching through bikes with a 300 euro fine looming over our heads was not the afternoon activity we expected but the weight that was lifted off of our shoulders once we found them was heavenly.
Also on the weekend agenda was a tour of a nearby cheese factory, fishing village, and clog factory.
Yes, we did have the opportunity to go inside of a traditional Dutch windmill and it was just as enthralled as you assume it would be BUT it was adorably picturesque.
Suckered into buying a joint cheese wheel at the cheese factory, we jumped on the lunch deal of fish, chips, and a Heineken for only ten euros! Captured above is our disappointment when we realized the beer was the size of our fist.
BUT THEN WE GOT TO RIDE ON A BOAT AND WE FELT EXTRAORDINARILY COOL. Plus the Captain told me that there was room for me on his lap if I wasn’t enjoying the padded seats at the front of the boat. I can check “Getting hit on by a middle-aged Dutch man” off of my bucket list 🙂 🙂 🙂
The clog-making demonstration was the cherry on top of the entire tour. We clearly enjoyed ourselves as the tour guide dressed us up and took pictures of us around the gift shop while feeding us stroopwafels. ❤
In all honesty, our very favorite part of Amsterdam was the Red Light District but I have no evidence because photography is not allowed and simply rude. (Also not appropriate for an ISU Study Abroad intern’s blog ;))
The women were absolutely fascinating with their revealing “uniforms” and effective tactics of enticing clients to choose them over the many girls surrounding them. I could go on and on about the Red Light District- what I observed and inferred, how the onlookers reacted, the nonchalance of the sale of sex in public but it’d require a blog post all on its own.
In the end, Rraxtor and Dera took on Amsterdam and fell completely head over heels.
Sending my love ❤