Now originally, I had meant to write only two parts to my Amsterdam visit; however, since so many *exciting* things had happened during my three-night stay, it was fair enough that I added a third part, so that I wouldn’t inundate you with 2000-plus word posts. Even I would be overwhelmed reading them!
After the crazy space-cake trip from the previous afternoon, I woke up the next morning still feeling numb; the effects were still there, although less so. Had a big breakfast, in which I didn’t feel the contents pass into my stomach, nor did I feel full (the munchies at their finest, folks!). It was my last entire day in Amsterdam, and I planned to visit the Keukenhof Gardens that morning, as it was opened for the season. It was about an hour away from Amsterdam (located in the small town of Lisse) by buses, but I was looking forward to seeing the tulips in bloom that it didn’t matter. 🙂
I took two buses to get to Keukenhof- the first was to the airport, where I then transferred to the shuttle that goes specifically to the gardens. About an hour one-way, and arrived around 10h30. Unfortunately, it was raining that morning, and so it wasn’t very fun tramping through the puddles. Still, the flowers were really lovely, really colorful, and a sight to see. Not only were there tulips, but there were also other types of flora (of which I don’t know the names. I’m no botanist, but I know a pretty flower when I see one!).
I wandered around the gardens (divided into six or so “areas,” as I would call them), each with small conservatories that house flower art- of statues, paintings, even dresses! Really creative ways of putting together colorful plants!
Stayed in the gardens for about two hours, then took the buses back to Amsterdam. Arrived back around 14h00, and since it was Monday, the herring stands were opened, and I ordered a herring sandwich (they were closed on Sunday). Granted, herring is more of a Scandinavian thing, but the Netherlands are also known for having it in its cuisine. Unfortunately, it’s not herring season yet (more towards the summer), and so the one that I got was frozen and not very flavorful- the vendor had to add a ton of onions and pickles to bring out any sort of flavor of the fish. I heard, though, that herring in the summer is actually sweet-tasting, and doesn’t need a lot of onions and pickles on the side. Worth the try, though!
In the afternoon, I took a canal ride along the river. Although I had taken one while in Bruges back in October, a canal ride in Amsterdam was highly recommended by many tourists- might as well. The boat wasn’t an open-air one like that in Bruges, but rather covered, with tons of glass panes surrounding the interior. Thirteen euros for an hour’s ride, and while the tour guide was informative and funny, I kind of dozed off during the tour. Not the guide’s fault, but rather the afternoon lull when you naturally start getting sleepy- at least for me. And it was super hot that day, especially inside the boat; I didn’t even need my jacket! Any case, I saw Amsterdam from the view of the canal, which was quite pleasant even if it wasn’t completely worth thirteen euros for an hour. 😛
Finished around 16h00, and had a couple of hours to kill before I was to meet up with another assistant (let’s call her “Nicole”) to hang out, as she also happened to be in Amsterdam, too. Went back to my hostel, and got a phone notification from another fellow assistant (whom I hadn’t yet personally met, but had corresponded with over Facebook for the last few months), who also happened to have arrived in Amsterdam; let’s call him “David.” I invited him to join us as well.
Went out around 17h15 to the Albert Cuyp Markt, an outdoor market to meet with Nicole and we then walked over to Vondelpark, our meeting point with David, stopping by a supermarket to buy some food for our picnic over there.
Arrived in Vondelpark around 18h20, and finally got to see David in-person. His cousin was also there, and it was his first time in Europe. Had a nice chat outside in the park, eating the food and drinking the small bottles of wine purchased. I had also brought the rest of my space cake, and offered some to them (but not all, of course!). They each took a little bit, which wasn’t enough to get them high, thankfully. Afterwards, we left Vondelpark, and wandered around the city in the evening, eventually arriving in the Red Light District, where David’s cousin (who was being rather “bold”) bought some mushrooms (the drug kind, of course) at one of the shops. The three of us watched him try it, but nothing really came out of it (at least, I didn’t see it later that night). He said that it tasted like “shit,” like “burnt charcoal” which, I have to admit, looked liked it (charcoal, that is, not shit). 😛
Although the Red Light District is notorious for its sex and prostitution atmosphere, it is quite lovely at night, with all of the red lights (of course) lit up and the numerous tourists strolling along the canals, looking to peep into the windows and hoping to see a girl in a bikini.
We ended up in Dam Square, where we sat down in a café-bar and chatted some more. It was approaching midnight, and Nicole needed to head to her hostel to check in. I was also feeling rather tired, and wanted to get some sleep as I would be checking out the following morning. Walked back with David and his cousin, saying goodbye and all. Really, it was a pleasure to have finally met David, and hopefully we can meet up sometime in the future- perhaps again in Europe!
I turned in past midnight, feeling tired but content with my stay in Amsterdam. While pricey, the city was enjoyable with its lovely canals at every turn, its de Grooyer windmill and tulips planted all over town (especially in April, when tulip season is just beginning), and non-stop exciting atmosphere for sex, drugs, prostitution, and everything in between. I admit, eating the space cake was the highlight of my trip (quite literally); while I would not choose to do it again, it is definitely a story that I can tell others in the months to come!
All right, that’s enough of Amsterdam! More of my April vacation to come soon- catch you later!
— The Finicky Cynic
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