This past weekend, my friend Sarah and I took our first trip out of England and made our way to Amsterdam, Holland!
Amsterdam was one of the places I wanted to go most on of my list of places to travel (which is quite long), so I’m glad we got to take a long weekend and experience so much of what the amazing city has to offer.
Friday – Our first day in Amsterdam was a busy one, but we started it as everyone should start their days: with waffles. For whatever reason, Amsterdam has waffles everywhere (don’t look at me, I’m not complaining), so it was only natural we begin our day as the Dutch do. We then hopped onto a sightseeing tour bus to get a good tourist’s eye view of Amsterdam. This bus actually took us to a diamond factory, where we decided to get off and take a free tour. Not only did I learn that Amsterdam is actually famous for their diamonds, but I got to h0ld a tray of jewelry that probably cost more than my entire college tuition.
Next was the Van Gogh museum. It was absolutely gorgeous and I learned so much about Van Gogh (my previous knowledge was limited to the one Art History class I’ve taken). It was really cool to see his paintings that I had only previously seen in textbooks or online. I wish I had good pictures from in there, but photography is actually not allowed, so when I tried to take pictures, I had security guards coming up to talk to me. That wasn’t fun.
On our way back to our hostel (located about two streets over from the Red Light District), we decided to go into a museum called Red Light Secrets. Yeah…it was a museum about prostitution. But, when in Amsterdam, right? We actually learned so much about the women who occupy those famous windows, and it gave me a different perspective on their whole experience. I honestly didn’t know much about prostitution in Amsterdam until I went to this museum. If you’re ever in Amsterdam, seriously, check it out. It’s so, so interesting.
Saturday – Sarah and I began our Saturday like any good European would – with beer. More specifically, we went to the Heineken Experience. I have never been anywhere like this. Going into it, I really didn’t know anything about how beer was made, much less what made Heineken unique, but wow oh wow did I learn a lot. Not only are they active in sustainability measures, but Heineken is a family business, currently being run by the great-granddaughter of the man who first purchased the brewery, Gerard Adriaan Heineken. I also learned how to pour the perfect Heineken from a tap (sorry mom & dad LOL). Y’all, there were horses and even a ride in this place. It wasn’t an exaggeration when they say it’s an experience.
Next, Sarah and I decided to check out a museum on the human body. Sarah is a biology major and was really excited about this, while I was more thrown off by the fact that all the body parts on display were from actual human cadavers. It was still a museum, and I still learned a lot, it was just something totally different from the history museums I like to frequent. But I guess sometimes changes in pace like that can be good for you.
Our last night in Amsterdam called for a real celebration – namely, a pub crawl. It was so much fun getting to meet people from all over the world and taking a mini-tour of Amsterdam at night with a big group. It felt a lot safer than just trying to go to pubs by ourselves. We both had a lot of fun, and were still able to get up earlier than our check-out time the next morning.
Sunday – For brunch, we met up with one of my sorority sisters who is studying abroad in
Amsterdam. It was great to have someone from home to spend some time with and to get to chat about our different study abroad experiences. Also, brunch was amazing. Have I mentioned yet that Amsterdam’s food is probably some of the best on earth? Because it is.
After brunch, Sarah and I pretty much made our way to the airport — where our flight was delayed by three hours. It took way too long to get back to London, but that isn’t even something I have the time to get into on this post. It was so crazy. After three gate changes, four flight delays, one hour in line at border control, two busses, and a short walk back we finally made it back to our dorm in London (only to have to wake up for class in four hours).
If you couldn’t tell, I really loved Amsterdam. It was without a doubt, one of the coolest and most unique places I’ve ever been. I can’t wait to go back someday.