Fall Break Part 2: Amsterdam 

    Sunday we took an early flight to Amsterdam. Conveniently, there was a train station under the airport, so we just had to go downstairs to catch a train downtown. We started this leg of the trip by walking around the city, getting some coffee, seeing some churches, the usual.  

Central Station

    
   
I knew there were canals in Amsterdam, but I didn’t expect so many or that they would be so beautiful! Fall is really the best time of year to visit places with deciduous trees. 

   
    
    
 

We walked through the tulip market, where lots of bulbs and souvenirs were for sale, but no fresh tulips. They are not in season. We then went to this really cool photography museum, where I was just as impressed with the aesthetic of the room as with the photos.

   
    
 We got lunch at a sports bar, where we got pancakes that were bigger than our table, and I got a Heineken. A very Dutch meal. We then walked through Vondelpark and checked into our hostel. 

   

We walked through some streets that were already decorated for Christmas, and that night we walked through a fair and got street food. Mayonnaise and fries is also a Dutch thing, and way more delicious than I expected!   
  
We took a canal cruise that night, which was really cool. Although it was harder to see stuff in the dark, the lights were gorgeous. 

 

I think this was the biggest floating restaurant in Europe.

  
    
 
We got up early the next morning, and I went with one of my friends to the Anne Frank House, where Anne and her family lived in the secret annex before they were captured and taken to the concentration camps. I would highly recommend going. 

   
 
We then went to the Rijks Museum, the biggest (I assume) in Amsterdam.

 

“I AMsterdam” is the slogan of the city.

  

The coolest illustrated geneology ever.

  

Saint George Slaying the Dragon by Albrecht Durer. This scene is depicted a lot all over Europe.

  

People used to be fascinated with these unicorn horns that had mystical powers. Turns out they’re just narwal tusks.

    
  

Van Gogh

  

The Battle of Waterloo, a giant painting that took up the whole wall

    

The Night Watch by Rembrandt!

  

The Milkmaid by Vermeer

 

The Rijksmuseum

We then went to the FOAM museum, which had photography and modern art. It was really weird, let’s just leave it at that. 

 

I took this at FOAM looking out the window


The next day we took a tour of the areas around Amsterdam with a lovely tour guide. I found out she has a daughter with Down syndrome, and we had a nice conversation.  Our first stop was to the Zaan district, where we walked around and saw some windmills, as well as a clog-making demonstration. It was a beautiful area! There were also little shops with cheese and such that you could sample. The Dutch eat fancy mustards with their cheese, which is actually delicious.
   
    
    
    

inside the windmill

    
    
    
  

I got to climb one!

  
    

Cute ducks. Also got to pet a goat.

 
We then took a walk through a charming town called Edam.  
   
    
  

This was a lovely surprise! It’s a molly-pop (passion flower), which grows at home. My mom used to play with them and their fruit as a kid, and they thus inspired my name.

  

The ground in the Netherlands is wet, so this tower is leaning.

  

The oldest house in town.

  
  

These houses have step gables.

  
We then took a little tour of a cheese making farm, and got to sample some more cheese and mustard! 

 

He’s wearing wooden clogs, how cute!


We then went to another town and walked along the shore of the lake that used to be a sea. I got fried cod, more delicious street food that was recommended by our guide! We shopped a little here too.    

    

That was the end of the tour, so we were dropped back off in Amsterdam. We went back to the area of the Rijksmuseum, and I explored the gardens and park with one friend while the other went to the Van Gogh Museum. While I do love Van Gogh, I was a little museumed-out and was looking forward to taking a little time to relax. It was really nice.

 

This tree is as old as the Rijksmuseum and is a national monument. Also it was really pretty.

    

We plopped down on that slanted hill and it was magical.

     

That night, we went to a brown bar, which are big in Amsterdam. They are called that because of their cozy, wood panelly interiors. We went to a small one with an old man as the bartender who was staunch about not mixing drinks. We sat upstairs by the fireplace and drank a honey beer  that he recommended. It was much better than Heineken.

   
 
The next morning we flew to Dublin!

Typical Amsterdam canal houses

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