Friday, August 12, 2016

i am amsterdam

I start every trip like "I'm going to write everything down as I go. I'm going to take notes on my life and my food and quirky happenings." But lol, I never actually do. Even when I bring along my tiny purse sized notebook (well actually, I did a pretty okay job documenting Greek food last summer).

But solo traveling allows ample time for that. No I get ample time for sitting and reflecting (and wifi) between the walking - so much walking. Maybe not promptly, but at least before the memories get hazy and the timeline gets jumbled. Also thank goodness for cameras and my business card compulsion.

Anyways. Amsterdam.
I'm not sure why I was super set on going. Partly because it wasn't expensive from Copenhagen. Partly because it's just arbitrarily been on my list for awhile. And I thought I wanted to combine it with Brussels until the thought of going to Belgium was unsettling. But if you know me, you'd know it's kind of a strange choice of all my choices. I don't smoke or seek out prostitutes, and it's not exactly the first place you think of when you think good eating. But if you know me, you'd know I don't make a lot of sense.

I don't regret it.

The canals alone. I could wander through those things all weekend long. And I really wanted to step into one of those floating trailer-like houses.

The weirdest adjustment was the hostel, where I felt like I was heading to my first day of college all over again. The place was even a converted school.
Hostel mates:

  • art students, one of whom got her first tattoo there which made me kind of envious and nostalgic, the other who's been traveling since May which just made me envious
  • German girls, who I didn't talk to as much and did their own thing
  • British girls on a WWII trip
  • Brazilian from Houston, who was going semi solo 
Got unexpectedly, intensely emotional at the Anne Frank House. But you would too if you spent an hour wandering through the dark rooms alone and dizzy with a headache from lack of breakfast, slight jet lag, and period hormones. I promptly went back to eat fries and take a nap.

And then I walked 10 miles a day around the city.

Through Jordaan (where I just missed Electric Ladyland and went back the next day), and part of Vondelpark in the drizzly rain (definitely a bike activity), Museumplein for the iconic letters (definitely wanted to climb the letters but then I was alone), and Albert Cuyp Market (where I resisted the fries but had to go for the stroopwafel). Most of my time there was drizzly. The bikes were less of a problem than I anticipated... but maybe because I anticipated them. Stumbled onto the edge of the Red Light District by the Old Church and was totally taken aback by the women in broad daylight (and then giggled to myself at the group of guys who were also taken aback).

Got my dose of history at the Royal Palace (still zoned in and out of the free audio guide though) and my dose of art at the Moco (for Banksy and the shorter line). And my dose of disappointment at the blah-est Sex Museum (that was neither novelty nor history, just super tacky, come on Amsterdam). 


It was here that I decided in order to feel most local.. walk the streets with your headphones in and your music on.

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