Arriving in Amsterdam

It turned out I knew someone who lived in amsterdam after all. An old friend who lived in Fuerteventura at the same time as me was from the city and now living back there. When I asked for her suggestions of what I should do there, she responded that she didn't really know- as is always the case, when you live somewhere you don't really appreciate it in the way a visitor does.

I was a bit anxious about being alone in the city at night time, and thankfully Bo agreed to go out with me each night. On the first night she picked me up announcing, "You are in Amsterdam, so I will take you to a coffee shop and then the red light district because that is what this city is all about". We spent a fabulous hour wandering around the red light district giggling, going in and out of sex shops & admiring one particular prostitutes incredibly glittery shoes (I have a penchant for glittery shoes). We later moved onto a rock bar with a live band in leidseplein where we caught up on the last three years.

After an incredibly long sleep I decided to spend the following day walking around the city, particularly vondelpark which was two streets behind where I stayed. It is a huge park and I spent a couple of hours walking through discovering different bits and pieces. The lakes, and ponds, the openluchttheater, 't blauwe theehuis.

My next stop for the day was the anne frank huis it costs 9€ to get in. Talking to mark, my previous mentioned walking guide, he told me that he wouldn't recommend the anne frank huis, it's a series of empty rooms, and in one respect he is absolutely right. The Anne Frank house has been left unfurnished as per Otto Frank's request, but let's not forget the eight people who hid here during the second world war hiding for their life just because one man wanted everyone to be the same and not to be Jewish, or gay, or a Jehovah's witness or any of the other people that were captured and put into forced labour & gassed in concentration camps. I found the experience slightly heartbreaking. I walked around Anne's bedroom with my hands on the walls and touching the blacked out curtain. The pictures she pasted to the wall have been preserved, as have the lines drawn on the wall to measure her's and her sisters growth. I feel Anne Frank's story is a big part of who everyone is in Europe and I think everyone should visit the Anne frank house.

The end of my day was spent watching the Netherlands play football against Germany, with Bo! We went to leidseplein and watched it in the Bulldog sports bar (if you wish you can also smoke there). It was cram packed and I was easily the smallest person there- did you know Dutch people are some of the tallest in Europe? Everyone was supporting the Netherlands, and the whole city had changed from being the usual hussle and bussle of the usual people getting on with their business to the flash of orange in the afternoon and by evening you really looked out of place without wearing orange! Luckily Bo had warned me and I bought a t-shirt in the afternoon. unfortunately, the Netherlands lost! But I had some fun supporting them that evening!

I also visited the Van Gogh museum.... This is something that I felt was a waste of time and money, for me personally. I am not an art enthusiast, though I did learn a lot about Van Gogh and his life from this museum, and I just felt it didn't benefit me very much. It was really cool to say I've seen some of Van Gogh's sunflowers for real, in the flesh, but apart from that it wasn't for me. I didn't visit the Rijksmuseum, it was 14€ entrance fee and part of the museum was being refurbished and I didn't feel that I could warrant spending that sort of money, if i wasn't going to enjoy it. Obviously, if you are interested in art, then you absolutely should do these things but I would rather, and did, sit in cofee @ company in Dam square and watch the world go by...

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