Tuesday, July 9, 2013


What a place...and what an adventure we had getting there!

We took a Eurolines bus from Paris to Amsterdam, about 7-8 hours total because we stopped in Brussels, Belgium and several places throughout the Netherlands/Holland. Being as sleep-deprived as I was, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to sleep for a few solid hours. I passed out at the back of the bus since the front of the bus was where most of the passengers were sitting and dreamed about what awaited us in Amsterdam. I woke up in Belgium at a rest stop and ended up spilling chocolate milk ALL over myself and the seats next to me because I guess I was still half asleep and shook an open bottle of chocolate milk. So, next time you are about to shake some chocolate milk, double check that it is closed first! Anyways, we ended up in Brussels about an hour later and we stopped for 45 minutes. I didn't get out of the bus but I just stared at everything around me. After driving through Brussels, I decided that I want to travel there by the end of this year or early next year. It reminded sort of reminded me of a few areas at home in America.

We rode into the sunset and anticipated our arrival in Amsterdam. A little while later, we arrived in a city and everyone got off the bus. So, we got off too. The bus driver was saying something to me in French and all I could muster out was "No, no, je ne parler pas francias" and a weak smile. He looked confused but my friend and I just grabbed our suitcases and headed towards the metro station so we could figure out how to get to our hostel. We got to the electronic ticket booth and tried typing in the area of our hostel but all the screen read was "no results found". Hmm...we decided to walk back down and around the area to find some help. We ended up going into a hotel asking for directions when we found out that we weren't in Amsterdam.

We were in a city about 30 minutes from Amsterdam. Panic set in and we ran back to the parking lot in hopes that the bus was still there but it was gone, the parking lot was empty actually. The situation was funny but scary at the same time. Two girls in a city where English was obviously not well known and no idea how to get to Amsterdam. We went back to the metro/train station and figured out the next train left for Amsterdam within 2 minutes. We ran around and down the stairs pounding our suitcases against each step when the doors shut on us and rolled away. We missed the train. Tired, exhausted and defeated we sat down in a WiFi area, waiting for the next and last train of the night to Amsterdam.

An hour or so later, we made it to Amsterdam and we were on a tram with our new Australian friend, headed to the hostel. Amsterdam was illuminated, beautiful and filled with people either eating at outdoor restaurants or roaming the streets. We got off at our stop and checked in our hostel, Amsterdam Hostel Annemarie. A cute little place across from the Van Gogh Museum and I am Amsterdam letters. Despite the extremely steep stairs, the hostel was a great stay at a great price. We shared a room with some loud Brazilian tourists but they were quite funny when they stumbled in drunker than sailors. The beds were comfortable and the rooms are decorated as different cities around the room. Breakfast was better than the breakfasts in most hostels and we were allowed to store our suitcases there for a little while after checkout. We only stayed one night in the hostel because we had a flight at 6am the day after checkout (so, one full day and majority of a night). We could've stayed in the hostel two nights but in order to save money we decided to just do Amsterdam in one day and go to the airport at midnight and sleep there until our flight. We didn't want to walk around Amsterdam with our suitcases so we were directed by the receptionist at the hostel to the main train station where there are lockers especially for suitcases. Pure genius. Whoever thought of this needs a pat on the back and every other train/metro station in the world should install these lockers for travelers. Granted, it wasn't free, you had to pay about 7 euros for 24 hours but that's a hell of alot better than carrying your suitcases and bags around the city and getting back/neck pain for the days to come.

After dropping off our luggage at the locker room in the main train station, we set out for a day full of shenanigans in the beautiful, sunny Amsterdam. We first stopped and bought some tourist items (postcards, small wooden shoes, etc.,) and then we went to a "coffee shop". When in Amsterdam, right?! After some time in the coffee shop, we were at it again, just wandering the streets of this mysterious city. We walked pretty much all around the main part of the city over the next few hours, stopping in little shops here and there, sitting along the canal and taking pictures, stopping in coffee shops every once in awhile and eating at Bagels and Beans. If you are ever in Amsterdam, make sure to stop by this cute cafe, they have amazing drinks and bagel concoctions. I myself got a green tea latte while my friend got a bagel with the works inside of it. We passed by Anne Frank's House, the Rijksmuseum and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. We also briefly wandered through the Jordaan district and ended our stay in the area of Oude Kerk and then Beurs van Berlage. We window shopped a bit in the Beurs van Berlage area then ate a late dinner at a sushi restaurant. I don't usually eat sushi in Prague because it's not exactly clear where that fish comes from or how fresh it is...so, I wait till I am home in America or somewhere by an ocean/body of freshwater.

The original plan was to go to the airport at around 2am but we got pretty bored and ran out of things to do so we ended up taking a train to the airport at about midnight. When we got into the airport, we found a quiet place to sleep and passed out until the cold airs of the airport woke us up a few hours later..

P.S. I have a new show obsession: Teen Wolf...laugh all you want but it helps fill the gap between Sundays for new True Blood episodes and until Homeland comes back on in the fall. I have to admit that the main reason I watch it is for Tyler Posey. 

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