Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amsterdam: Weekend in Holland

For who knows how long I've wanted to see Amsterdam.  Ryanair ticket, a little bit of research, and whallah- I'm there.  This is Amsterdam Central, the train station and main hub for all of the trams. 

Went high class this trip and stayed in a hotel: Best Western. Woot woot.

This is the hotel neighborhood, just on the outskirts of town.
Endless beautiful neighborhoods bordered by canals. "Comfy, cozy."

Something I loved about this city: its international-ness . . . Which means good food from all sorts of everywhere.  Enjoyed yummy Italian, Chinese, plenty of Dutch sweets, and Mexican as well.  I've been missing my guacamole fix.

Van Gogh Museum.  Lots of explanation for each painting.  Also showed many examples of Van Gogh's inspirations.  Poor guy, committing suicide and all.  If only he knew how many admirers he'd have one day . . .

I made a few friends at the museum.  We explored the city for a bit together.

Another reason to love Amsterdam: Bikes.


Seeing the Anne Frank House. Something that I never imagined I would have the opportunity to do.  This was amazing.  Saw the whole building from top to bottom including the secret annex, the movable bookshelf, and several of the Frank family's paraphernalia, including Anne's diary.  I loved how the tour ended with a message of hope and encouragement in ending discrimination. The experience was very moving and was one of my favorite things I saw in the city.
[Just realizing how strange/insensitive it was of me to smile in this photo.  Sorry, Anne.] 

Another Amsterdam note: it was fuhhhhreeezing!  So cold that the outdoors were only so tolerable.  Shopping is fun. Shopping is indoors.  And Amsterdam's  new H&M just opened, which is now Europe's largest H&M.
I took a visit.

Red light district.  One of my less favorite things about Amsterdam.  Legal prostitution and relentless
 amounts of marijuana. Had a few friends tell me that I had to at least walk around to check the
area out and see what the district was like.  My advice: the opposite.  FILTH.

Amsterdam at night. On the second day it snowed, and the whole town was completely decked in Christmas lights.
Thoroughly enjoyed this.

Dessert tour item number 319.  "Oliebollen."

Translated directly as "oil ball".  Basically scones, but better.  With raisins, apples, whatever,
 all deep friend and dipped in powdered sugar.  Mmmmm.

Thanks to the young lad from California, who risked losing his fingers to take this photo for me.

The floating flower market.  They love their flowers here, especially tulips.
These bulbs are MUCH larger than they look.  We're talking softball size.

In front of the Rijksmuseum.

And lucky me that Holland is famous for its cheese.  :)  Lots of cheese tasting. Snagged a block of gouda for mother.
And now it sits on my book shelf. Just waiting for consumption day . . . 

The architecture in Amsterdam- unique, beautiful, appropriate.

Absolutely loved this trip.  The people I met were incredibly friendly, could have definitely spent more time there,
and didn't want to leave. I am glad, however, to have feeling back in my fingers and toes. 


mal blair said...

i'm seriously so jealous of everywhere you go.

oh, & i LOVE your striped scarf! :]

erin noelle said...

You are so beautiful Brooke. Don't you make friends with any of those prostitutes from Amsterdam!

Laur said...

Eres la mujer mas bonita de todas! TQM, en serio, quiero estar contigo! REGRESA! Pronto, por fa?

Natalie said...

ummmm.. you are gorgeous. and i LOVE that scarf.
enjoy the last few weeks you have.

te extraño y te amo mucho!

no puedo esperar a verte!

Melanie said...

Shoko, I love you. I can't wait to see you. You are the most incredible person!!!!!