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Last updated : Nov 2009
Amsterdam Netherlands..
Rating: (3.5) (193 vote)

Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 21 2002

Pros: So much to look at
Cons: none

I really liked Berlin especially the fact that it wasnt raining. The sightseeing was quite tiring but the hostel was top notch. Everything, and I mean everything, was Ikea and they used cardkeys for the rooms. It was definitely the most modern hostel I have been in thus far. Not to mention the staff who were more than helpful. I ate the biggest pizza in the world with Greg from the US...it didnt even fit on the pan. I went and visited the new german political building with Sandra, a teacher from Canada. Have I mentioned how many teachers I have met along the way? I think that prolly 50 percent of the people I meet at teachers on summer break. Hum. No wonder I am learning so much. I also met some young Aussie guys who partied REALLY hard and thought they could get away with pretending to burn my toes with a lighter...nice try Jono and Charlie, I'll get you back when I am in Oz;) I also lost my wallet in a Berlin UBaun...I played a frantic game of charades with the train guard as Kelly and Christi who came with me to the concentration camp, tried to assist. I wouldnt let myself cry. I wouldnt give in to the thought that it wouldnt be found. And guess what? The train guard came back five minutes later and told me it was found and was waiting for me two stops up. I almost kissed him.

On the train out of Germany I found my my mood getting lighter. As enjoyable as it was, the history was quite heavy so it was nice to see cornfields and windmills...The countryside changed quite drastically in a short time...I was playing a very lucky game of Yahtzee (in which I got 4 yahtzees in 2 games! Michelle didnt want to play games any more with me after I had already kicked her butt in Gin) so I decided to study the scenery. There were fields of green and farmers tilling their land. The houses became tall and steep with very pointed roofs. It was all I had hope the Netherlands to be. I stepped off the train in Amsterdam into a train station FILLED with sweets, bakery, ice cream, pizza....oh you name it. It dawned on me that I would prolly put on a few pound in this stop. I walked out to find my hostel and the streets were very crowded. More than anywhere else I had been so far. Ahead of me was the Heiniken Brewery (mental note to remember location for tour later) and very tall historic looking buildings. There is so much to look at here...something for everyone I am sure. I found my hostel which is overlooking a nice canal in the heart of the red light district. At first I wasnt so sure but it appears to be quite safe. The streets are riddled with coffeeshops (where they dont sell coffee) and other shops (where they also dont sell coffee). I wasnt sure where the term red light was coined because as far as I could see there were not alot of neon red signs...Later on after I had settled in and had a bite to eat, I decided to venture out again. Now it all made sense. There are women for sale in windows surrounded by red lights. I felt sad about it. I wondered if they were happy. There are people here dressed up in costumes and lots of others that just act funny. One guy jumped in a canal and was happy about it for the first ten seconds until he realized it was cold and dirty and screamed to be fished out. My hostel shows movies so its nice on rainy days like yesterday when everyone gathers in the TV room and visits. Some people were commenting on how nice it was until yesterday and that I must have brought the rain...I thought, you have no idea pal. So I went to the Van Gogh museum which was really nice except that it was much smaller than I had originally thought it would be. Still it was a nice display and I learn quite alot about the man. Today I went to the Anne Frank house and experienced a taste of what it was like to live in hiding from the SS during the war. I was touched by the bravery and honesty of this beautiful child. The house has been preserved and it has excerpts from Annes diary throughout. They also have on display her actual diary. Near the end there is a plethora of educational materials, many multimedia. There is also a room where you can watch a short film supporting Freedom of Expression and then one supporting Anti-Dicrimination. Then at the end of both arguements, you push a red or green button corresponding which which you agree with. Then it shows the room how many votes each got. It was very enlightening and thought provoking. The examples were very interesting as well. I met Nicole from Calgary and tonight is her last night in Europe so she, Michelle and Alice who are my new Oz friends are going to out and celebrate. We have tickets to Boom Chicago which should be fun from what I hear. Its a comedy improv act. I hope all is well where you are. I will try and come back to write again tomorrow.

I am still in Amsterdam and I have been having a great time. Yesterday I sat in Dam Square and watched all the performers. There was a silver painted sax player who would play you a song if you put money in his silver paint can. A little boy of about 4 was intrigued by the man and tried everything to get him to move. He had a little plastic sword that he was jabbing at him....nothing. This guy is good at what he does. Then the little boy attempted the obvious next solution...He stuck his sword in the mans paint can and the noise that came out of the sax was very clearly " I dont think so Kid". It was great. There was a Jim Carry, a Medievil Warrior, and other clowns of sorts. It was very much a carnival atmosphere. I was amazed at how friendly the police were. They were just standing around helping tourists, giving directions and showing them how to feed the pigeons. I met a few locals living in Amsterdam and made sure to let them know how lucky they were to live in such a nice city. The canals are beautiful and there are so many kodak moment bridges. The buildings are so old but in such good condition. There was a great Brazilian dance band that was playing as I looked up to see the time and realized it was a sun clock. Cool I thought, until I realized that the time was two hours early. The sunclock is wrong in Dam Square and no one has bothered to fix it. Only in Amsterdam.