Monday, January 16, 2012


I went to Amsterdam in November...quite some time ago, I know.  But, I have yet to do a blog post for that beautiful city, so here it is....

Before getting to Amsterdam, I didn't really know what to expect.  All I had heard of the city was that 1) It is legal to smoke marijuana.  2)   They have a Red Light District which has women in windows whom you can pay to have sex with.  3)  An old roommate of mine studied there and loved it (but, apart from hearing about the clubs, I never heard why she liked it so much).

Not being much of a party-person (I do enjoy going out, but when traveling I'd rather see the city than a fuzzy, tipsy view of the inside of a club), I didn't know what to expect to do in Amsterdam.  Everyone on our overnight bus was partying, drinking, playing loud music, while my friends and I were trying to do coursework or sleep.  Once we got to Amsterdam, however, I could easily see why my roommate fell in love.  I keep using the word "quaint" to describe Europe, but Amsterdam felt very quaint.  It had tall, thin houses squished together overlooking canals.  Bicycles lined the fences and flew past us as we walked through the city.  It felt like a time warp, and looked like I was in another country.  That's one nice thing about Europe - every country looks different.  Some architecture and city designs are similar.  I found Barcelona and Paris (blog posts to come) to have some similar architecture and street structure, but both felt very different, and looked very different.

While in Amsterdam, I went to a few museums, walked down a lot of the streets, and ate some dutch food.  Again, photos seem the easiest way to show what I did, and to sum things up quickly, so I hope you enjoy:

Amsterdam is full of canals.  They are at the center of most main streets.  Also bicycles are the main mode of transportation.

Went to a section of FOAM - a contemporary photography museum.

Front of the Rijke Museum

One of the famous I amsterdam signs.  This one is behind the Rijke Museum.

The Van Gogh Museum was amazing.  I've always liked his work, but it was really great to see it in person, and to see some of his less famous works.

A cute cake at a cake-shop.

I'm assuming it's "Literature" in Dutch.  It's really nice seeing and hearing other languages as I go to different countries.

Sometimes artwork can be found alongside the street names...definitely something you don't see in the States (at least not where I've been in the States).

Heineken Experience.  Didn't go inside as I'm not a big beer fan, but definitely worth checking out for those beer connoisseurs out there.

I went in mid-November, so holiday decorations were up :)

Anne Frank statue near the Anne Frank House.
Top of the Anne Frank Museum
Anne Frank House museum sign.  Unfortunately, I couldn't take photos inside.  It was definitely a great, but humbling experience to see where she and the others hid.  You realize what little space they had to live in, and how quiet they had to be, as the floor creaks a lot. They also had some of her original diaries and notebooks, which was really cool to see.

Dam Square.
The Royal Palace.

Sex Museum.  Had some really interesting images from a photography standpoint.  It was also really interesting to see how different cultures express sexual behavior.  However it was 3-4 floors, and definitely became a bit overwhelming by the end of the exhibit.

Not the real Red Light District, but a sign from the Sex Museum.  The Red Light District itself wasn't as depressing as I thought it would be.  I'd heard it was really upsetting to see all the women in the windows, but really, they were just working.  They looked bored when they didn't have an audience to try to pull in, and were working when they did.  I probably sound really anti-feminist when I say this, but it wasn't as upsetting to see them in the windows as I'd been told.  It was just a different way of doing things.

One last canal photo.
And the food I ate - mostly dutch pancakes!

Yum!  (And yes, I split a Heineken with a friend.  Despite not being a big beer fan, it seemed like another need-to-do while in Amsterdam.)

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