Not sure if it’s because I did nothing but tourist-y things and relax for 3 days or I got to spend time with friends or it was relieving to speak English but Amsterdam has been one of my favorite places to visit so far! I spent Tuesday-Friday exploring the city and checking of the top sites in Amsterdam.
On Tuesday night I met up with one of my friends Winnie who is traveling Europe after graduating with her masters in Chemical Engineering (yeah, she is pretty awesome) and we walked around to find some dinner. We found a great Italian restaurant but had a little trouble with the menu…Though the majority of locals in Amsterdam speak English and the waiter could have easily translated, we decided to take it into our own hands and spent about 15 minutes on Google Translate with sub-par cell data. Luckily, we could decipher a few words (tomaat=tomato) but dinner turned into a mini-Dutch lesson. Lunch the next day was pretty similar except this time there was an English and a Dutch menu so we used the opportunity to learn even more random food words! As for the pronunciation…get back to me
- cucumber=komkommer (our favorite word)
- cheese= kaas
- chicken= kip
- bacon= spek
I still don’t know how to say “Do you speak English” or “Where is the bathroom?” or “Where the heck am I?” but as long as I know how to say cucumber I should be okay, right? Survival Dutch.
Later that day, Winnie’s friend (and now my new friend :)) Gina arrived to Amsterdam and we stood in line 2 hours at the Anne Frank house. Though it was cloudy and a little chilly, the long wait was more than worth it. Anne Frank’s story is undoubtedly one of the most powerful to come out of the Holocaust. 8 people hid for over 2 years in a tiny tiny annex in the back of her father’s business. One of the most striking things to me was that during the day time hours, they could not move around or go to the bathroom so those downstairs wouldn’t hear them. I remember learning all about Anne Frank and the Holocaust in school but visiting it was far different.
After the Anne Frank House, we were definitely in need of some laughs. We went to a comedy show with a tour group called Boom Chicago. It was hilarious! I mean, there was a table of super annoying guys at the table next to us shouting stupid suggestions for the improv acts but it was fun nonetheless 🙂
Thursday we went to Rijksmuseum and a huge outdoor market (Albery Cuyp Markt). We had homemade Stroopwafel (YUM) and some chicken sate. Then we took a 1-hour canal cruise through Amsterdam and ended the night with going to an Ice Bar! It was 14 degrees and I was wearing flats–my toes thawed about 30 minutes later.
On Friday we went to the Van Gogh museum and then went to our long-anticipated attraction. A 75 minute canal cruise with all you can eat Dutch pancakes on De Pannenkoeken Boot (Pancake Boat). Though we tried hard to learn how to pronounce that, I think I’m still falling short. I ate more fully loaded pancakes than I am proud to admit and kinda hated myself after but they were real good and I can kinda use the vacation excuse 🙂
I started my surveys in the park on Saturday and Sunday. It felt really strange to do the surveys in English. I found myself stumbling over a lot of words and accidentally saying “Si” instead of “Yes” but I think I’m back into English-mode for now. Unfortunately, this week is pretty rainy so I will have to find another indoor alternative to completing them. I have scheduled all of my interviews with pharmacists, though so that should go smoothly. At the end of the trip, I plan on going to a museum called Micropia which is dedicated completely to microorganisms and their role in disease but also their essential functions in our bodies (aka my heaven).
Amsterdam is such a unique and incredible city and I’ll definitely be sad when I have to leave. Love you all!!