The past week in London was pretty uneventful, especially with a city wide tube strike that prevented us from being able to leave our small residential area. Although I got a lot of homework done, it was really difficult to watch the time tick by without seeing what else the city had to offer.
Friday afternoon I left for a weekend in Amsterdam, a city far from uneventful or boring. In high school I had a layover in Amsterdam and was extremely disappointed to have been unable to leave the airport, so deciding to accompany a few of my classmates was an easy choice to make. There were so many crazy things Holland had to offer, and in just 2 days I wanted to do as many as possible.
The first day was spent in a 2 and a half hour line for the Anne Frank House, which was definitely worth the wait. To walk through history in that way incredible, and really put what I read as a child into perspective. I even bought a special copy of her diary to reread with the new context of the annex in my mind.
Following the museum, we hopped on a canal cruise around the city before grabbing dinner.
That night, we braved temperatures of around 15 degrees Fahrenheit at Amsterdam's Icebar with some Californian friends we made on the metro. Since they had already spent time exploring the city they led us to the notorious Red Light District. Although hanging out on a street known for prostitutes is my absolute worst nightmare, it was interesting to see something so foreign to what we know in America. After walking up and down the street a couple times and stopping for an after-midnight-snack at McDonald's, we piled into a taxi back to the hostel for the night.
In stark contrast to Saturday nights in Amsterdam, Sunday afternoons were completely my style. I was able to visit both the Rijks and the Van Gogh Museums. The Rijksmuseum was vast (I got lost multiple times), and filled with work from artists like Vermeer and Rembrandt. Naturally the Van Gogh offered several floors of some of his best paintings throughout his life. Although I admit we were all very disappointed to discover that Starry Night is actually on display in New York and not in Van Gogh's home country.
Before returning to the hostel for a few hours of sleep, we each took turns with the IAMsterdam letters in museum square. Unfortunately I couldn't fit the whole word into one photo, but there are plenty of embarrassing shots of my attempts at climbing. Plus, the waffles from the stand nearby made for a delicious and traditional snack in between the many other stops for food throughout the day.
Amsterdam was a perfect way to spend the weekend. Although we had to wake up at 5:45 for a flight that was delayed twice, I wouldn't take back a single thing. (Except for leaving the windows open and the lights on when we went out for the night- shout out to my amazing friends for killing all the bugs that unfortunately flew in.)