The One Where We Went To The Netherlands

Let me start the trip on Wednesday night, “The Night Before We Left.” I know everyone who reads my blogs will be shocked to hear this: I didn’t prepare a head of time and I waited until the last minute to pack. I’ll spare all of my readers the horrifying details of yet another failed packing experience, and just tell everyone that it was very similar to that of London and Paris. There was a group of seven girls going on this trip, and for some reason, we thought that we would be able to take a trip and have no errors in our plans and no problems. So we left our flats at 3:00 AM on Thursday very confident in our planning skills. After all our plan was simple and had no room for error…

  1. We would pack ahead of time and get a goodnight sleep.
  2. We would book an Uber ahead of time to take to the train station
  3. We would get to the station in plenty of time and take the Gatwick Express to the airport
  4. We would arrive to the airport at least an hour before the flight and have plenty of time to get settled before our plane took off.

Naturally, it just couldn’t be that easy. The morning went more along the lines of this…

  1. We didn’t pack ahead of time and therefore spent the entire night packing/freaking out/getting overly emotional/definitely not getting a goodnight sleep.
  2. We booked our Ubers ahead of time and took them to the train station (we were doing okay at that point)
  3. We watched as our train pulled away from the station, without us onboard. At this point we freaked out because the next train wasn’t coming for another hour and an Uber to the airport wouldn’t be cheap.
  4. Our packing came back to bite us in the butt at security. On most airline websites, they include a long list of everything you’re not permitted to bring with you on an airplane. Naturally we had about half the list in our bags.
  5. Our plane was leaving in then next ten minutes and our gate was on the complete opposite end of the airport. So picture that scene in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. when Ross is running through the airport to catch Rachel before she gets on the plane. Just in case anyone was wondering, running through a crowded airport at 4:00AM with seven girls and seven giant bags is a lot less fantastic than it sounds.
  6. We got to our gates right as the doors were closing, begged them to let us on the plane, and somehow made it to The Netherlands.

We started our trip with some Dutch Pancakes and much needed coffee at Pancakes Amsterdam. After breakfast/lunch we had some free time, so we explored the city that would be our home for the next four days!

I have always said that I would always rather be cold than hot, that I loved the cold weather, and I wish it would snow all year round. And after visiting Amsterdam, I can say with confidence that I have never been so wrong in my life. I can also say with confidence that I have never been so COLD in my life! My wardrobe everyday consisted of five pairs of socks, three layers on my bottom (1.tights 2.leggings 3. pants), four layers on my top (1. Tshirt 2. long sleeved shirt 3. sweater 4. jacket), two pairs of gloves, a scarf, and a hat.

Our first tourist visit was to the Anne Frank House, which was absolutely incredible. I would recommend it to anyone traveling to the area. It is incredible that Anne’s diary has touched so many peoples’ lives all over the world, and that it continues to be one of the most read books throughout the world. To walk through her home and have insight into something as horrific as the Holocaust through the eyes of a child was a moving experience and one that I will never forget.

The next day started with a visit to the Van Gogh museum, which featured sneaking lots of pictures for my sister Clare, who happens to be one of his biggest fans!

We spent the night wandering through the Red Light District; an interesting experience to say the least. You aren’t permitted to take pictures in that area, so take my word for it when I say it is overwhelming and shocking at first but once you got used to it, it is interesting to see the different culture over there and made you wonder whether there were any rules or if anything was actually illegal in the country! Although its definitely a crazy city, Amsterdam has managed to crack my list of favorite cities in the world. It is a completely different culture than I am used to, but I’m pretty sure everyone says that cultural immersion is an important part of traveling and studying abroad! There are so many different aspects to the city, from waffles to art to nightlife, so if you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam try and see the best of both worlds! (Thank you @DaveCurtin for recommending the Van Gogh museum and the Bulldog, both were highlights of the trip)

Our trip was cut short when we decided to take an impromptu train to Germany.

Overall, I really liked the city (although it would be much better about 10 degrees warmer!) and would jump at the opportunity to go back. My only advice for traveling here would be to dress for the Ice Age.

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