Last night we got back from Amsterdam and needless to say it was a crazy good time! Friday we left Maastricht bright and early (which is much brighter here might I add) and headed towards Amsterdam. Once we got there we were scheduled for a canal tour, then Ann Frank tour, and lastly going in to the Van Gogh Museum. The canal tour was cool to be able to ride through the entire city and just see all of the buildings and history so easily. Plus we had a tour guide driving so we got the low down as we moved along. Most of my pictures came out blurry thanks to the movement, but Joe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jl4nd) had his very nice camera to make up for anything I missed. The Ann Frank house was eerie and sad, but also extremely interesting. I literally walked through the bookcase door and into the secrete home that Ann Frank and her sister Margot (along with the other 5 or so Jews) hid in from the Nazis. After walking through the tour we moved on to the Van Gogh Museum which was extremely cool. Like the Ann Frank house however, we weren’t allowed cameras so I cant help with images. It was very interesting, to me at least, all of the Van Gogh paintings that are done on top of other paintings that either didn’t sell or weren’t “good” for the artist. Sometimes he would simply scrape it off and start over, while others he would just paint on top.
After the Museum we were on our own in the city and things got exciting. We took the opportunity to walk through the city and see as much as we could on our way to checking into the hotel. Again my camera wasn’t grabbing the best pictures (but I will have some up soon) so I will suggest checking out Joe’s (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jl4nd). After missing the timing for the bar crawl, which turned out to be a blessing, we decided to simply make up our own. We knew where we wanted to be, because you’re only in Amsterdam once, so we bar hopped here to there throughout the downtown area on our own. The bartenders were actually very helpful with directions, shots, and generally good conversation so we were on our way to enjoying Amsterdam. Of course we ended our night with a walk through the iconic red lights, but only a walk THROUGH. No need to worry mother.
Saturday was basically all about Heineken. We made our way to the birth place of the beir and started to walk through. It was a self guided tour that was estimated to take around an hour and a half. I think we spent four hours there just wondering around from thing to thing. It was very interesting to learn more about how the beir was made and how it is still made in a very similar way. The free beir didn’t hurt either!
Traversing the trains to get home was a bit of a hassle as the Amsterdam ticket guy was clearly having a poor day and must not have been too excited for more American young people. Luckily the woman in the next station was far more helpful and friendly! We made it back correctly, and missed no trains (that we realize) and were safe and sound in our own beds last night.
Today is a special ceremony that only happens once in every seven year. The Heiligdomsvaart is a procession through the town of Maastricht with the golden relics of the Catholic Church. Being in the south of Holland we are experiencing the Catholic side while in Amsterdam we were seeing the Protestant side. This kind of thing is going to be awesome to see and I will be putting up photos and video as soon as I can tonight or tomorrow.
I can’t believe it’s already been a week in Europe, but also I keep reminding myself, “this was just the FIRST week!”