Started writing this two weeks ago and then forgot about it. Oops. Will update later with other people’s photos from Facebook, maybe.
So… A couple weeks [EDIT: almost a month] ago I went to Amsterdam with my flatmate Kim.
We had a jolly old time. The adventure started in the Dublin airport, where my backpack set off the alarm at security. The security lad told me there were some scissors in the bag and asked if I knew where they were (funny because I had glanced at the screen a moment before and thought DANG somebody packed a huge pair of scissors! What where they thinking?!). I looked in the most likely places and didn’t find anything, then remembered that I’d taken everything out of my backpack before packing it and definitely had not put any scissors back in, which was confusing.
Fast-forward through about five minutes of this security lad going through everything in my bag at least twice, dropping my makeup brush on the floor, the whole deal. Neither of us could find any scissors. Kim was entirely befuddled as well. He ran everything through the scanner again and came back to tell me that I had some tweezers in my makeup bag that had overlapped with the buckles on my purse strap to look somehow EXACTLY like a pair of scissors, and I was free to go. Of course.
Fortunately we had plenty of time to lollygag through the airport, drink hot chocolate, eat sandwiches, etc. Our flight was pleasantly uneventful, good chats. On arrival in Amsterdam, we ran outside and found this:
Which, despite being in front of a Heineken billboard and not the Rijksmuseum, was still nice enough to take photos with. We then paid five euro each for a bus to our Airbnb, where we met our hosts and their fluffy cats.
This will sound dumb, but I was surprised by how much Dutch was spoken in Amsterdam. People tried to speak to us in Dutch all the time. A bus driver spoke sternly to us in Dutch for about thirty seconds from the front of the bus once, and we had to ask our bus neighbour to translate (apparently you can’t enter buses through the rear door). All the transport signs were in Dutch, and some of them had no translation. We made it to the city centre, anyway, and were met with this lovely sight:
and then we walked around looking for a good restaurant and ended up eating some exquisite Lebanese food.
We then wandered some more in city centre and accidentally ended up in the Red Light District when we weren’t expecting it. I didn’t find it shocking, just more weird and sad. On the way back to the train station we saw several men standing on street corners with big red flags. Kim approached one man and asked what they were doing, and he explained that they were with a Christian ministry doing outreach to women in prostitution. I’ve done a little research and think their organization is called Scarlet Cord. Kim’s post about Amsterdam, including more about this ministry, is here.
The next morning we started off with HUGE PANCAKES
The restaurant had a cat.
So did this boat full of cats. It’s called the Poezenboot and it’s like a Humane Society on a houseboat. There are just cats everywhere.
Then we got some candy, most of which turned out to be several variations on horrible licorice.
There is a lot of cheese in Amsterdam. Also lots of tulips. Accordingly, we went to the Amsterdam Cheese Museum and the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.
We also visited a rubber duck store and a cow statue museum. Most of central Amsterdam, though, just looks like this:
We also got crispy chocolate waffles and spent some time with our American friend Joelle, who was also in Amsterdam for the weekend. This quality time included hanging out in Joelle’s amazing hostel, eating pasta, and a romantic nighttime canal cruise for three,
much of which was spent making each other eat really horrible licorice pellets that look like rabbit food. I hope for rabbits’ sake that rabbit food tastes better than those things.
Also, I would like to note that the tour was very informative – for example, I learned that some of the buildings are super crooked because they were built on wood pilings that are now rotting. Good planning, guys.
Sunday we thought about going to NEMO, a science museum on the water, but decided it would be better to go to the Rijksmuseum. Kim and I also had some tiny sandwiches (not pictured) for brunch that were absolutely delicious. The Rijksmuseum was lovely but we got lost about twenty times.
And… half an hour in a fancy tea shop, and then it was time to head back to the airport. The Amsterdam airport is absurd. The security area looks like a fancy Scandinavian office building lobby, or maybe an avant-garde restaurant.
Anyway, we ate some airport sandwiches
and headed back to Dublin. It’s feeling more and more like home every time I come back… so weird to think I’ll be leaving in almost exactly three weeks.