I don’t think my family ever really saw any/many of my Amsterdam pictures, so here is an overview of the awesome trip I took in the summer of 2011!
My brother [who has ALWAYS been one of my very best friends] went to Amsterdam on business and asked if I’d like to meet him there for a week. Why YES, yes I would! His direct flight [paid for by his company] was 8 hours long and $2200. My non-direct flight [paid for by me] was 16 hours long and $1500. Meh. But I had a cool layover in Reykjavik, Iceland both ways! I only got to see it from the airport & plane, but it was beautiful in a weird, other-planet-ty kind of way:
I was in Amsterdam for 6 days, from June 6, 2011 to June 11, 2011. I didn’t do a whole lot except wander around and stare at stuff, since my brother was in meetings all day and I didn’t dare go too far for fear of never finding my way back to the hotel. I did get lost one day and spent 7 hours wandering around in an increasing panic before finally finding the hotel [I think, actually, I finally got through to my brother on his cell and he steered me back in the right direction…]. I spent the entire next day in bed, recovering from the trauma… Although, I have to say, the beds at Hotel Pulitzer in Amsterdam are THE MOST COMFORTABLE I’ve ever experienced. It’s like laying on a cloud, being hugged by another cloud. So even though it was a “wasted” vacation day, spent in a hotel bed, reading a great book, it’s still one of my most favorite vacation days EVER. *nods*
Anyways, according to my bro it’s KIND of hard to get too lost in Amsterdam because the canals make concentric circles around the city, so you just have to find one that’s familiar and follow it:
But seriously – with names like Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Herengracht it’s hard to remember which Gracht your hotel is on! And I couldn’t remember the name of the hotel until the last day, so I couldn’t ask for directions…
I circled the places on the map where I went, including the Anne Frank house & Westerkerk Tower [both a block from the hotel], the Van Gogh museum [LOOOOOOOONG walk, but worth it – lower left of map, although they don’t have Starry Night – MEH], Dam Square, and Central Station [huge building at top right of map].
I would have LOVED to have seen the tulip fields and windmills, but they bloom from late March to early May and I was there in June. Meh! I did buy myself 6 beautiful black tulip bulbs at an open-air market:
Only to have them incinerated at Logan Airport in Boston upon my return. D’oh! The guy at the airport laughed and said I was pretty much the only person to ever DECLARE I had tulip bulbs with me. Sometimes I’m really dumb… 😛
I’ve been told it’s fun to rent a bicycle and zoom around the city like a local. But, when you’re accident prone, and almost take out 3 cyclists your first 10 minutes in Amsterdam, you tend to stick with walking… There’s SO MANY BICYCLES in Amsterdam!!! Everywhere you look there’s a megabajillion bikes either tied to the side of the streets or with people on them, whizzing by. I would have been really stressed trying to stay out of their way:
One thing that amazed me was watching the kids perched on the handlebars of their parent’s bikes! No safety gear, etc. – it’s SO weird to see! And the bikes go so fast:
I took about 1,000 pictures of the local architecture and buildings along the canals. Some of my favorite sights were the wonky, leaning buildings with equally wonky, crooked windows:
And the ornate roofs and doorways everywhere!
And so many beautiful flowers [that’s my bro in the first pic!]:
I love these ones with the shutters:
One thing that really bothered me in Amsterdam was EVERYONE pegged me for an American. IMMEDIATELY. When I first arrived at the hotel the concierge greeted everyone in Dutch but the second he saw me he greeted me in perfect English. And that happened every time I went into a store or stopped for a snack. It was irritating! Meanwhile, my brother Seth, who’s been a world traveler most of his life, seamlessly infiltrates any crowd. Whether he’s taking pictures, reading maps, checking out Fiats or just walking down the sidewalk, he looks like he belongs:
Meanwhile I was Captain NumNuts with a backpack, uncool clothes, sensible sneakers, neon pink stripes in my hair, & 2 cameras around my neck. Ugh.
Well, that wraps up my first post about my trip to Amsterdam! I have way too many pictures to put them all in one post, and I’m SERIOUSLY paring them down! Look for Part 2 next Thursday!