Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eurotrip 2011 - Day 2 (6/18/2011) - Amsterdam

The sleep could have been better - the loud music from hostel bar and noisy street outside open window did not help. But we got up in time to grab some free breakfast before it closed at 10.  At brekky we talked with a couple of Belgian girls for a while before heading up to get dressed.

After showering and such, we headed out into the crappy weather - it had been raining all day.  Because of that we decided to take the tram towards the museums.  We had been told that you could buy tram cards on the tram but we didn't see where to do this when we got on.  So we essentially bummed a free ride.

We first went to the Van Gogh Museum, where the line was a bit long - we got in after waiting about 30 minutes.  The museum was interesting because it included a bunch of info about how Van Gogh developed his style and the contemporary artists that influenced him (and pieces from them).  However, it didn't have his most famous works.  After the museum we grabbed a late lunch at an a la carte cafe (I had the strange combo of spinach lasagna and some Indonesian beef dish) then headed to the Heineken Experience. The "Experience" was a mixture of pseudo-museum to the Heineken family, brief explanation of the brewing process, a "4-D" amusement-type ride centered around said process, a lesson in Heineken drinking, some shout-outs to things sponsored by Heiny, and a couple more free beers (I opted for Pepsi) at the end.
From there, we headed back to the hostel to chill for a bit, and then headed back out again around 8:30 to grab dinner at a nearby pub we had found the night before (after already eating at the Tibetan place). Galen was able to satisfy his fish & chips craving while I had some bangers & mash. We then headed back to the hostel where we ran into the Belgian girls again.  We had a couple of drinks with them before heading out to try to find a bar crawl that had stopped at the hostel bar.  We were unsuccessful at that, but Galen struck up a conversation with a couple of Swiss girls, and we ended up hanging out with them at a couple of bars to finish out the night. We made it back a little before 2:30 and I went to sleep around 3.

Some thoughts on Amsterdam:
  • There are bikes everywhere, which is kind of nice since it's a good way to get around.  If I had ridden a bike more than once in the last 15 years I might have considered renting one - weaving through tourists didn't look easy.  But Galen and I like the cute bells that cyclists used to warn pedestrians to get out of the way.
  • Unlike Venice, the canals did not stink.
  • There was lots of construction to fix things up around the city.
  • People seemed to be able to park their cars wherever they wanted, including on sidewalks and in the middle of narrow one-way streets.
  • There is lots of (needed) street cleaning, so the streets stay fairly clean.
  • I don't recall seeing a police officer during my whole stay, though I did hear a couple of sirens.
  • The city is as tolerant as it is reputed to be.

Some pictures from the whole trip:

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