Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh hey, remember that one time we went to Amsterdam for the weekend?

Yeah, that happened.

Kitty, Matt, Kelly, and I went to Amsterdam this past weekend, we were literally there for 48 hours so we all committed to making the most of our trip. We flew into Amsterdam around 7:30 Friday night and had to go to and we got to our hostel successfully a couple hours later, hoorah! We wanted the trip to be affordable so we had decided to spend the night in a room with 10 people in order to pay the cheapest that we could for rooms. But much to our surprise, when we opened the door to our room, there were only 4 beds. Some how we got upgraded to a private room with our own bathroom! I didn't even know that hostels did room upgrades, but I'm happy they did.

We got these cards called the I-Amsterdam cards for 48 euros(which is a lot). We wanted to make the most of them, which covered the entrance to 25 museums and any sort of public transportation we used in the city. So our first night in the hostel was spent deciding how to pack a ton of stuff into the next 2 days and going to sleep early.

We awoke early on Saturday and had breakfast in the hostel. The breakfast was pretty standard: juice, bread, hardboiled eggs, cereal, krumpets and there was a cappuccino maker, so I was set for the day. After bundling up we began our first epic day.

We went to:
1. The Tulip Museum-people in Amsterdam LOVE tulips so it made sense that there would be a museum devoted entirely to the history of tulips. Did you know that...
a. tulips originated in Asia
b. that the turks loved tulips and the word "tulips" comes from tulipa which means muslin
c. the tulip trade was so profitable that poor people would become tulip growers and
merchants to get out of poverty

Note: There was almost a 2 hour time gap between the Tulip Museum and our next destination. Kitty and I forgot our I-Amsterdam booklets so we had to go back to the hostel. As we were trying to find out next destination, we realized how crappy our maps were because they were too zoomed out to be much use. So we ended up wandering around, getting lost, and consequently getting tired, annoyed, and hungry. None of us wanted our 48 euros to go to waste and we hadn't done much in the day and were continuing to waste time because we were lost. But eating lunch from a local grocery store next to a canal helped curb our crankiness. After our stomachs were filled, we were ready to yet again commit to our overly ambitious day.

2. FOAM-a museum of Richard Avedon's portraits. Don't know him? Check him out because he was an incredible photographer and took some very interesting portraits of famous people. The thing that I loved about his pictures was that he wasn't trying to necessarily make the person look good, instead he wanted to show a different angle of them.

3. Van Loon Museum-we got to walk around a wealthy person's house from the early 1900's and see what it was like to be rich. The interior designer was HUGE on symmetry in the rooms, so there were a lot of fake doors in the was silly.

On our walk to the southwest of Amsterdam we passed the majestic Rembrandt museum.

Behind the museum was an outdoor skating rink and one of the most ridiculous playgrounds I have ever seen. It was basically a bunch of logs put together in obscure ways. It was hardly safe for me climbing on the playgound let alone a toddler. There was a huge field that people were playing was so great to be able to walk on the grass because people in Oxford do not allow you to walk on the will be fined.

4. Van Gogh Museum-this was an exhibit of the life of Van Gogh. We got to learn about different periods in Van Gogh's life and see his paintings that corresponded with his artwork. I feel like we only see about 10 of his works on a regular basis but he used to be a dull still life painter and slowly moved to color and finging his own style and then became introduced to the Japanese style.

Note: We spent too long at the Van Gogh and had to spring to the Heinekin museum to get there before it closed. We go there just as they were closing. Looking silly and running actually pays off...that's all I'm saying.

5. Heineken Museum-Surprisingly one of the best parts of the trip.

I wish I could describe how flippin sweet this museum was. They had just finished doing a bunch of renovations and it showed. So the first hour was spent touring the facilities of a beer manufacturer(pretty standard) and going on the Brew U Ride.
What's the Brew U ride? Oh, let me tell you. You go into a room and stand 4 to a bleacher on 4 bleachers. You are facing a huge screen in the front of the room and are told that you are going to be made into beer. So you go through the process complete with a moving and shaking floor when you are being stirred or transported, heat and red light when you are being heated, and water sprays when you are dropped into a tub. Basically, it was awesome.

We also got to go to 2 bars along the tour and get complimentary Heinekens, sit in chairs and look at old Heineken commercials, go to a sports room and see the sports that Heineken sponsors, play fooseball, record videos and send them home, go to a lounge with huge TV screens and bottles covering the ceiling like icicles, and take pictures at the many Heineken provided photo ops.

6. Night Canal Cruise: We got to travel on the many canals of Amsterdam and see the city lit up at night. Also all the bridges were lit up too which was amazing! We also got to look into all the houses and house boats, and not going to lie, it was pretty great being able to spy on people's interior decorating. This was also a trip highlight.
After an incredibly full day, which included Matt getting stuck on the tram without the rest of us, we went to bed, utterly content.

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