I should preface this whole post by saying Dutch is a crazy language, and now I really want to learn it.
After a lazy start to our Saturday, Annika and I first went to a small cafe near her apartment. The area is not touristy enough to have English translations on their menus. I ended up going with a goat cheese and honey sandwich, which ended being toast, an entire carton of goat cheese, and a little honey. But it was SOGOOD.
Until I got a stomach ache half way through and had a sugar high for the rest of the day. #worthit
We metro-ed to Utrecht Centraal, where we caught a high speed train to Amsterdam, only half an hour away. I brought all the rain gear I could and BEHOLD we had a beautiful sunny day. I love when that happens. Annika took me to the top floor of the bibliotheek (library) for a great view of the city. There was a super sweet gentleman playing piano on the first floor (it was up for the public to use, sort of like the ones hanging out in the city in Boston), the design of the place was unreal, and the view was spectacular. An unconventional first stop in a city but a great choice.
Since we got a late start to the day, we decided a canal boat tour would be the most efficient/awesome way to see as much as of the city as we could. We happened to find a great deal in the visitor’s center when we first arrived – we got cheaper tickets, to leave whenever we wanted, and they came with a free coffee and food. The girl even switched the coffee to chai for us, you’re wonderful. The company was called LOVERS which made our trip even more memorable, haha. I didn’t see any lovers on our boat. Our table-mates were a mom and her two daughters; the mom promptly passed out cold on the table for an hour, haha. Her daughter kept taking pictures of her with an iPad, which was excellent.
The tour was great, because they explained what we were looking at – the statues on the tops of some buildings (often Neptune), why there are hooks on the facade of the buildings (for a rope and pulley system to get merchandise in and out of the stores – now for moving furniture out of the house – because the stairs are too narrow to bring things up), where the famous homes are (Anne Frank especially), and what the canals names were (I liked the ‘Gentlemen’s Canal’ personally). The announcements were translated into SO MANY languages – we heard at least dutch, english, chinese, indonesian, german (?), and at least two others. Our captain was a little odd and made a few unplanned stops (?) but aside from that it was worth the money spent.
It wouldn’t be Amsterdam without visiting the Red Light District, so we walked through but most places were closed until the evening. We passed quite a few bachelor parties, with the grooms-to-be all dressed as something absurd. Usually a beer wench, sometimes a terrorist. Yes really. I didn’t get a picture, sadly. And sorry, no space cakes or coffee house visits, I know you’re wondering. 🙂
After some shopping and picture-taking we headed back to Utrecht. I was really proud of myself for remembering a recipe for sausage, peppers, and onions pasta (Bob I hope you’re reading that!) and it turned out DELICIOUS with bratwurst. After a few glasses of red wine we were in no shape to go out that night, and happily so. More late night talking and dreaming of traveling together. Hopefully very, very soon!
[i was aiming for the name of the boat – ludwig van beethoven – so this picture really was just a happy accident]
[flag of the netherlands]
I took way too many pictures, so in the interest of your computer’s sanity…. more Amsterdam photos after the jump!