Mays Business School, February 11th, 2015
So the next stop was to visit the homeland of the great artist Vincent Van Gogh. All of these 4 day weekends had really been wearing me down, so it was good to finally get a “break” and travel. A group of us had our sights set on Amsterdam ever since returning from our trip to Belgium a few weeks back. This time around, we all felt much more comfortable navigating the train system and honestly most of the nerves I had on the first trip were nowhere to be found. After about a 5 hour train ride, we found ourselves in Amsterdam on a Wednesday afternoon.
We weren’t exactly given the warmest of welcomes as it felt like we were walking into a mini tornado after leaving the station. Rain and wind turned out to be familiar sites throughout the weekend. Needless to say, we did not allow the weather to put a damper on the next few days. But it was okay, because I have already grown accustom to never really seeing the sun these days. Nonetheless, the weather could absolutely have been worse, so I don’t have much to complain about. Upon arrival, we immediately began the search for our hostel and also trying not to get too soaked. We found it in no time, but I was reluctant to call this place a temporary home for the next 4 nights. I have never in my entire life had to climb up such a steep and narrow staircase. I literally had to walk up sideways because they was not room for me to place my feet on the tiny stairs. I thought it should have a fitting name.
The hostel was not of the highest caliber, but I guess we got what we paid for (which wasn’t much), and life went on. Amsterdam is home to quite a few amazing attractions. For one, they have an intricate canal system that dates way back to the 1600’s, when they were at the height of power as a dominant trading port. There are hundreds of bridges throughout the city and the canals are very beautiful.
The city also had some great places to visit. The first place we went to see was the Anne Frank house. This museum was quite moving, and one of the most powerful places I have ever been. The perfect time to go is at 10 or 11 in the morning. Any time after that, you’ll be stuck waiting in line for at least 30 minutes. This place is a must see if you ever find your way in Amsterdam. Next, we were able to see the legend that is Van Gogh.
The museum is quite large and has about 4 floors of Van Gogh’s best work. There is a reason why he is one of the greats. So after spending a few hours soaking in the great artwork, the new museum we journeyed to is known as The Eye Museum. It is less famous, but it is a museum dedication to the film history in Amsterdam (and also it was free on the I Amsterdam pass). This was a neat place and had many short films running on antique projectors. It was interesting to see how the equipment evolved over the years, especially with how advanced it is today. Oh, and I began practicing for my TV show, Johnny and the Jets!
Amsterdam did not lack places to get food. Everywhere you walk there are many options for all types of food. There are even small “restaurants” that only serve french fries! But by no means was Amsterdam cheap. And it was hard to find a decently priced meal that would fill me up all the way, so I spent way more money on food than I expected throughout the weekend. But the fries were delicious each time, so I really don’t have much to complain about.
As you can tell from the title of this post, Amsterdam is the biking capital of the world. Since gasoline is extremely expensive, people just opt to ride their bicycles everywhere. This is no exaggeration, as you always have to be on the look out for bikes coming from all directions, as we had a couple close calls. I would feel confident in saying I saw three times as many bikes than cars throughout the 5 days, and again people like to walk everywhere as well. One of the most unique things that I saw was a simple parking garage. But oh no, it was not for cars…it was for bikes! Never seen anything like it
The next day we made a trip out to see the soccer stadium where the Dutch team “Ajax” plays. I won’t even pretend to act like I know anything about this club, but that does not prevent me from saying that this stadium was highly advanced (but of course not even close to Jerry World). But hey, still good enough to cash out in!
Took about an hour tour of the stadium and found myself being interviewed for ball boy position. All the job description said was to make sure that they were inflated at the correct size, so seemed worth a try!
From here, we moved to the the legendary I AMSTERDAM landmark, which was of course flooded with people. But this was a very beautiful part of the city, and for a change we had a few rays of sunlight!
Probably one of the highlights of the trip was doing the “Heineken Experience”. It is basically an interactive museum for Heineken, and was just a lot of fun. Definitely enjoyed my time there, and was able to hold onto a few souvenirs! To close, Amsterdam is definitely a hot spot for young life. There is a hostel called St. Christopher’s and it was crowded with people every night in their bar area. We ran into a few fellow Americans here and there, but the native people were more than welcoming. Amsterdam was great, and hopefully I’ll be able to go back someday!
Next to follow, is the experience from London!