Well, my Amsterdam adventure started off with a bang. I walked out of the airport and got myself a cab. When I say cab, I don't mean like a yellow cab or anything like that. Nooooo sir-ee. There was a line of shiny Mercedes Benz's just clamoring to relieve me of €30 or so. I pick out a lovely white one and climb in. Because that's how I roll. High class all the way. The driver is playing and singing along to a Billy Joel CD. We're driving along. It's a lovely sunny afternoon... and all the sudden, a sporty little BMW cuts us off. My driver lays on his horn and when the light turns green, he guns it to cut in front of the BMW and once he's in front of it, ...wait for it... SLAMS on the brakes, opens the door, gets out of the car in the middle of the street and walks up to the BMW and starts banging on the hood and screaming at the driver. Ummmm, I'm still sitting here in the back seat trying to act like nothing's going on and when he finally gets back in the car, he resumes singing along to Billy Joel and asks me if I like "Uptown Girl". (And I do. Who doesn't like Uptown Girl? But that's beside the point.) Only in my world would something that bizzare happen.
Well, I finally make it to the hotel in one piece and decide to go for a stroll in Vondelpark since it was right next to our hotel and I had some time to kill before Jason got in from work. It was so beautiful! Especially on a nice sunny day and with the sun reflecting off all the little ponds and streams. It was then I began to discover that I am either really hot to the Dutchies or I have "Dumb, Approachable American Girl" stamped on my forehead. I'm going for the latter. Either way, I passed by this group of dudes in the park and they started yelling "Hey, pretty lady, come drink with us!" When I didn't acknowledge them, they started walking over to me saying "Caio Bella!". I guess they thought I was Italian? Anyway, once I gave them the polite brush off, I walked a bit further and two guys on bikes hit the brakes right in front of me and said, "Are you all alone this beautiful afternoon?" When I finally made it to Cafe Vertigo to have a coffee and read, another group of guys walked over and asked if I wanted company. What the heck?
Anyway, Friday morning, Jason had to go to work for his closing conference and I spent some time at Waterlooplein - a flea market. Later that afternoon, we went to the Rijksmuseum and then decided to go see the Anne Frank House that evening. We got word to go either really early or late as the queues can be outrageous otherwise. Going at night was the best decision ever. We were able to walk right in, and were two of only about 20 people in the whole place. It made the experience all that much more moving. We were standing in Anne's bedroom, just the two of us, and as we were looking at the pinups of film stars she had decorated her walls with, the bells of Westerkerk (the church next to the annexe) began to ring. These were the very bells she and her family used to hear. It was very moving. I had decided to re-read The Diary of a Young Girl before we came on this trip just to refresh myself with her experience. I'm so glad I did. It made it all the much more meaningful. When we walked around the corner and I stood face-to-face with the bookcase that hid the secret door to the hiding place, I felt like my heart skipped a beat. It really was an undescribable experience...
Saturday, we hit the Van Gogh Museum which was awesome because, as everyone knows, I love Van Gogh. Then we took a canal cruise! With little mini bottles of wine! And that was awesome too! Even though the wine was called "Chardonette"!
That evening, we hit the town. Did she or didn't she? A lady never tells.
Then, it was Sunday Sunday Sunday! And we went to this cute little village called Zaanse Schans. It was so cute! It had windmills, and a cheese farm, and a little wooden clog workshop and loads of other fun stuff. But after all this wholesomeness, we needed to get back to debauchery. So it was off back to Amsterdam and to the Heineken Brewery. Where for €10, you get a fun tour, 3 beers, a Heineken glass, and just enough of a beer buzz to put you right to sleep for the flight home. Not a bad deal!
Here are all the photos.