Day 2: We began with Tom giving us a tour of the university buildings. For some reason, I cannot seem to get my barrings in this town – so for the duration of the tour, I was unfailingly lost. Even though Tom gave us a wonderful overview, I’ll probably never be able to find these buildings again!
Yes, I’m really here. Finally. The purpose of this blog has arrived. The waiting is over!
My dad and I flew out of Amsterdam the day before yesterday into Edinburgh. The view while we were landing was gorgeous! So much green. SO MUCH. We landed and got my luggage (which I didn’t lose!) and made our way to where I’ll be staying for the next week and a half – Pollock Halls.
On the taxi drive over, we had this nice Scottish guy. About 5 minutes into the taxi ride, his phone rang and he started talking to what was clearly a friend. All of sudden, I couldn’t understand a single word he was saying. After being in Amsterdam, I first had the thought that maybe he’s speaking Dutch! But realizing that was quite unlikely, I had to resign myself to the fact he was indeed speaking English. I just couldn’t understand a word he was saying. So the stories are true! I’m trying not to think about it…. My official plan when this happens again (and they’re talking to me) is to just nod along. Good, right?
Today was our last day in the Netherlands. We decided to take a trip out of city to a little town near the Hague called Delft, home of Delft china. It was an adorable little town! A lot like the canal belt of Amsterdam but smaller and less busy. But of course there were still bikes! So many bikes by the train tracks… and even some pretty run down ones! (not sure if that one was actually for riding or not haha)
I heard that in the Netherlands, when they buy pot they call it getting “coffee”. I found this hard to believe, since coffee seems like such a common thing to want to buy. But sure enough – it’s true! You’d see a coffee shop, but when you walked by and looked it, it wasn’t any normal coffee shop. Pretty funny. I got a pic of one with a sign that had what looked like joints in the name. Classic.
Miraculously, I woke up this morning to blue skies (apparently a rare sight here). This was a good omen for the day.
Since it was so nice, we rented bikes and pedaled off around the city. First stop: the Van Gogh museum. Of course, no pictures (meh), but it was amazing (you can take my word for it). They went through van Gogh’s life and his painting progression, which was actually kind of depressing.. Someone just needed to slap that guy around and tell him to snap out of it! Or maybe just give him a hug. Man.
We plunged into the all Dutch way of life: off to the windmills! After a short train ride from Centraal Station, we arrived in Zaanse Schans – an outdoor museum village. Basically, a town that has been preserved as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries. A tourist magnet, but SO ADORABLE.
After two gorgeous days, the rain began. As we walked downstairs for breakfast at the hotel, the started POURING. And I mean some serious rain. I was beginning to worry if we would ever make it outside! But, as Amsterdam weather is, it was sunny about 3 minutes later. Typical.
In restaurants, I often ask for water. I expect some glass of unknown origin, as you see in California. Probably from the tap, but who cares, it’s water!. Here, it comes in these curious glass bottles, almost all of them the Spa brand. And of course. they always ask: “sparking or still?” (so European). This I don’t understand. It just seems like a waste to have glass bottles every time you serve water. Do they have to recycle all of these bottles? Or are they reused? But I will say, it does taste pretty good.
Today was another beautiful one. A woman approached us at the Maritime Museum asking us to take an online survey for the museum. She eventually asked us where we were from, and when we replied “Santa Cruz, California”, she followed with a “Why Amsterdam? The weather….”, trailing off. They seem to think it’s so bad, but I really don’t mind getting sprinkled on during dinner or having to put my raincoat on at the zoo. If anything, the nights are warm enough to sit outside at 9pm, which is saying something when you look at California. But maybe I’m just convinced everyday here is like the last two 🙂
We decided to live the real Dutch life today and rented bicycles! Considering my last post mentioning how aggressive the bikers are, this probably wasn’t the most suited activity for me. But, I’ll have you know, I was only honked angrily at once today. Yes, I’m very proud of myself.
We first biked down to Centraal-Station for something called an iamsterdam city pass (classic tourist, I know). It’s one of those passes that gets you into millions of museums for free and gives you free stuff and discounts (yay!). After biking around for a while, getting lost, stumbling upon some HUGE cruise ships, and finding a rouge swing, we finally made it to the maritime museum.