Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 5, 6, & 7!

Welcome to Amsterdam!!!

Now welcome to Amsterdam!

The beautiful building in the center of this photo is the Amsterdam Central Station.

Monday morning we headed to the train station to leave Paris! It was absolutely pouring rain outside so Logan and I decided to take a taxi to the station. Thinking that it was only just down the street, it would cost us basically nothing! Little did we know, taxis have a minimum you have to pay even if they drive you across the street! To make our taxi ride extra special, we discovered that the handle on my suitcase would not go down. Logan basically had to beat it with his hand to get it to fit in the taxi! This was only the start of my suitcase problems! Anyway, we finally get to the station, quite early, or maybe it was late, I really can't remember. It was late I'm pretty sure! Either way, we missed our train and had to go wait in line for like TEN HOURS to make a reservation for a new ride to Amsterdam (Okay, 10 hours is an exaggeration, it was 2, but it really felt like an eternity). So while waiting in line, we met this extremely friendly gentleman who gave us some wonderful advice about Amsterdam.... "Do not go to the Bull Dog Cafe!" He persisted! "Their pot is cheap quality and no good!" Logan and I graciously nodded our heads and thanked him for the advice, while making subtle eye contact with each other, hoping neither of us would crack up laughing! And people say the French are rude...psh!
Anyway....we finally got on our train and let me tell ya, it was WELL worth the wait! This was the most ballin' mode of transportation I have ever used in my life! Free wi-fi, reclining chairs, power outlets, constant food service; it was amazing! Too bad the ride was only an hour and a half! We made a stop in Brussels, Belgium, which was hard to enjoy because it was also raining!

We met some friendly college students who were also headed to Amsterdam just for the day! We knew right away just exatly why they were headed there! I figured I would share some useful advice that was given to me in Paris and let the boys know NOT TO GO TO THE BULL DOG CAFE! They seemed very appreciative!
Following our little layover in Belgium, we hopped on another train, which DID NOT have wi-fi, and was not even close to as nice as our first Thalys' train! What can you do? Once to Amsterdam, which by the way, our trained stoppped like 6000 times on the way there so it felt like we were never going to get there, we were dropped off at the airport, Schipol, and somehow found our way to the metro, and finally to the central metro station in Amsterdam! Lucky for us, the station was just down the street from our hotel! We got some directions and walked on down, in the rain of course!
We got to our hotel and let me tell ya, Dwight K. Shrute was working, or his long lost twin! These guys looked so much alike! Their likeness in looks couldn't be more contrasted with their personalities though! This dude was one of the most hyper people I have ever met! He must have smoked too much pot, which by the way, there was a big sign that said "no marijuana allowed in this facility!" What a relief!
We got to our room and it was nice! Bigger than our one in Paris and with a few more ammenities. The only downfall...the bathroom door was glass and made it extremely awkward when you had to do your business, especially when you are sharing a room with your little brother! I actually hated that bathroom! The shower was totally retarded and I even slipped and fell in it and whacked my head on the wall! Stupid shower!

View from our hotel, the Amsterdam Hotel de Roode Leeuw

The next day was a super exciting one! Nathan arrived! Of course though, with no internet or phone service, it was extremely hard to coordinate our plans! I ended up all the way back at the airport, just missing Nathan, who was now at the hotel with Logan! Anyway, we finally all met up and proceeded to make our way to the station once again, so that Logan could get to the airport and fly out! I'm pretty sure Logan snuck on that train because our pass was expired! Anyway, we said our goodbyes as Logan prepared for pretty much the LONGEST flight ever )Amsterdam to SEATTLE, and then to Salt Lake). Nathan and I left the station, in the rain of course, surprise? We ate at some weird turkish place, well Nathan ate there (I ordered some french fries, which looked delicious, until they plopped a cup of mayo on top of it. It just wansn't the same after) and then boarded this super ghetto canal "bus" to begin our tour of Amsterdam!

Here is a picture of one of the more famous parts of the canal; it's called the 7 bridges or something like that! As part of the tour, you get off, if you feel like it, at various sites throughout the town! Our first stop took us to the house of Anne Frank. We waited in line for an eternity, in the cold and rain, and finally made it inside. Pictures were not allowed unfortunately but it was really an amazing place! It was narrow and TALL! I mean, it was like 4 or 5 stories high! One of the staircases was nearly straight up and down! That was absolutely my favorite part of the trip!

This was a beautiful building we passed during our canal bus ride!

Although Amsterdam smelled like pot and you were pretty sure someone was going to solicite sex to you around every corner, it was BEAUTIFUL!

The fauna and flora were out of control in Amsterdam! All the flowers just thrived and flourished!

I LOVED all the old Protestant churches throughout the region! So beautiful.

Following Ann Frank's home, we went to the Rijksmuseum! This was a super neat museum that really focused on the colonial era of the Dutch. Think Pirates of the Caribbean!

After the museum, we decided to explore some of Amsterdam on our own! We found a place to eat; a Brazilian place at that! It was called Rodizio Grill, and well, it was very similar to the Rodizios in the states. The food was great, and as usual, we both ate WAY too much! We continued walking around and managed to find ourselves on the outter edge of the Red Light District! We ended up basically having to cross a street though it if we wanted to get back to our hotel sometime that night; I know, we are so daring! Let me tell ya though, just the 10 seconds we spent walking through was NASTY! Porn everywhere! I don't recommend it!

After an extremely long night, we headed back to the hotel, where we were finally able to Skype with my boys! It was so fun to see them!

The next mornin we packed up and headed out! We made it to the train station right after the train left. We had officially started a new trend of missing our trains, first Paris, now here! We figrued while we were waiting, we'd stop at the bank and get some cash. The line was short, in fact, only one person in front of us, and a few behind. So, after we had waited about 25 minutes, we were starting to get slightly perturbed. One of the older gentlemen that had been waiting also looked and asked us how long we had been waiting. We told him about 25 minutes. He was NOT okay with this. He started yelling at the teller and the customer. It was actually pretty hilarious. He kept whispering in shock and disbelief under his breath, "Five and Twenty! My gosh!" When he was done fighting, he looked at Nathan and I again and said he had filed a complaint for us! Ha ha! We all laughed a little!

Anyway, after the bank, we had to wait in line for ages to get a new train reservation. we met some American basketball player who had A LOT to say! It was a little annoying actually. Finally, we got our reservation, and just in the nick of time because our train pulled up within minutes. We hopped on the train and a whole new world of adventures began!

Next time....

Read about the man who rummaged through my garbage and stashed away our half eaten food for later.

Also, read about the crazy psycho on the autobahn that drove on the shoulder of the rode next to us, trying to get our attention!