We arrived in the city after a 9 hour flight on which the most sleep anyone got was maybe 2 hours. The wine, however, was really good. We were pretty jet lagged and tired, but decided to rally and try to stay up until 9 pm. We found our apartment, which is pretty much right on the edge/on the same street as the red light district. We dropped off our bags and set out to wander, as we couldn't get into the apartment until 2:00pm. We had breakfast and then basically just wandered until we decided that we needed beer. Camille made us go into every single dutch cheese shop (approximately 1 every 1/2 block) and smell all the stinky cheese. We then met up with Matt's friend Henk (Henk!) and wandered some more. There were chips (with mayo.. very delicious) and more beers. Then some falling asleep at the table at the pub. This was about 4pm, and we were very dead, so the girls decided to head back to the apartment and leave Matt to rally with Henk. We failed at the waiting until 9 pm and were sound alseep by about 5 pm. We did however wake up when Matt came home around 8:30, and went for pizza and yes, more beers.
The apartment has 2 big windows in the living room/mine and Matt's room, which of course we need to keep open for air. I am super thankful for my earplugs! Haivng windows right on the street does make it easy to scout out all the action and do some really great people watching at night though!
Sunday morning Manon and I left Matt and Camille to sleep until noon and went to Anne Frank house. Neithe of us had actually ready the book, and although we recognize the importance of the memorial, found it to be a bit overrated and tourist trap-y. Oh well! Met up with the rest of the gang, walked halfway across Amsterdam (oh my poor blisters) (Jill, don't worry, they are NOTHING like Athens!) and went on ze party boat canal tour, narrated by the oh-so-witty Nell and RON, where we drank wine and Heineken's and did not yell 'hello strawberries!" at each canal bridge we came to. We learned a lot, including that the XXX on the Netherlands coat of arms has nothig to do with the red light district and instead stands for the three dangers of ancient Holland - fire, floods and the plague.
Now, what happens in Amsterdam stays (mostly) in Amsterdam, so I will just say that lots of fun was had Sunday afternoon/evening, and that I rallied (desite pretty much no sleep Saturday night due to jet lag) until 2:30 am and that Sunday morning was not really very much fun for me and in fact its now 5:30 in the evening and I just started feeling better about an hour ago.
Spent the afternoon walking all over the city yet again, complaining about how much our feet hurt, assisting Camille in her ongoing search for fruit beers, and also at the Rijksmuseum. This was an art museum, but up until we walked through the door I thought it was a natural history museum, so you can imagine my dissapointment. Matt, Manon and I got the audioguide, and then spent most of the time just trying to figure out where the hell we were going due to the lack of overtsignage and sad maps in the infobook. I actually spent most of the time there just hanging out in the picknicroom, which was amazing. Manon napped in there for a short bit. The other amazing room was the library - amazing. I would want this in my dream house, along with a room of cheese.
Tonight is our last night here. The plan is to go for a nice dinner and then perhaps to a sex show. It is 40euro though, so Camille and I are wavering on whether we are too cheap to actually go. I suspect the verdict will be something along the lines of "when in Amsterdam" though! Camille has heard many things about the banana show and thinks she better see it for herself.
Random things about Amsterdam:
- IJ together is pronounced AY
- there are so many bikes. Way more bikes than cars. There are also seemingly no traffic rules or lights. Also the trams run in the center of the driving/walking streets with no guard walls/berms/anything and if this was Calgary at least 20 people would die everyday.
- Dutch service industry people are pleasant but stern. They get paid a living wage so no tipping necessary and they do not work for your tips,. No, you cannot switch out chips for a salad and no, we will not separate your bills. We are getting really good at doing math in our heads.
- The red light district is not as crazy as I thought. Many fewer windows. Less crazy clubs.
- A coffee shop is where you go to smoke/buy pot. You can also drink coffee but its definitely not a Starbucks.
- The name of this post is the actual name of an appetizer at a cafe we frequented quite a bit here. In our 'everything is incredibly funny' mood on Sunday night we decided that we needed to eat this plate of Dutchness. It was slightly dissapointing (mostly cheese and some pickled onions) except for Grandma's meatball, which was DELICIOUS
Random blog note: I'm wriitng this on my phone and the blogger app is pretty terrible, so you'll get a post (maybe not as long as this one??) and THEN some pictures. It won't be fancy, but I'm hoping to at least post more than twice!
Tommorrow: 9 hour flight and then TANZANIA! It's also my birthday :)