It is so embarrassing that my last blog post was a month ago. I didn't realize how stressful studying abroad was. Or maybe its not supposed to be and I'm just crazy. Probably the latter.
Anyway, this new post comes at a good time because last weekend I went to Amsterdam!! Traveling there was a bit hectic. My friend, Katie, and I took 2 trains, one from London to Brussels and then one from Brussels to Amsterdam. The problem was that our train to Brussels was delayed and we missed our train to Amsterdam. Luckily, the good people at Eurostar were very helpful and put us on the next train to Amsterdam. So we made it...only an hour late. But nevertheless, we got there.
This was my first time out of the UK and it was both of our first times staying in a hostel. We stayed at the Flying Pig Hostel in Noordwijk, NL. Since it was Valentine's Weekend and also a huge weekend for traveling for students in Europe apparently, a ton of the hostels in the city were sold out or too expensive. Noordwijk was about a 45 minute drive, so it wasn't an ideal location for where we wanted to go BUT it was the cutest little beach town!
On our first night we were exhausted from traveling and didn't feel like taking the hostel-provided shuttled service into Amsterdam. We wanted to have a chance to settle in, meet our roommates, and have a nice meal. We decided that a walk was a good idea for exploring and seeing what Noordwijk had to offer. The houses were so cute and quaint. We even found a little horse stable with real horses and everything!!!!
And then around 5pm we found this:
After dinner at a restaurant over looking the water, we called it a night. I was ex-haust-ed.
The next day was exploring day! We woke up to eat our *free* breakfast at the hostel (anything free I'm a fan of) and catch the earliest shuttle to Amsterdam. In the car we met a new friend named Hansa who is from the Czech Republic but has been traveling for a while now. He is 26 and is moving to Australia in a few weeks but wanted to check out Amsterdam and "get high" (all his words). That day we walked around the city a lot, saw some prostitutes (who by the way stand in like cabanas with windows open for business, they were really interesting), took a tour down the canals, and ate a ton of food. We also found a cool warping pub on one of the canals that was almost falling over but was the cutest little thing inside, I had tea and Katie had a nice lager.
The next day it poured. And by poured, I mean wintery-mix of snow, sleet, and rain. It was lovely. So, naturally, it was museum day. We started at the Anne Frank House. After standing in the cold, rain, and snow we made it in. I was overwhelmed with emotion, more than I expected. It was something that just hits you right in the gut and makes your mind wander with thoughts and feelings. Really major feels.
Afterwards, we needed something to lighten the mood and take us down from the emotions. SO we went to the Sex Museum. It was a Sunday. And Valentines Day. So this place was packed and its not the biggest establishment in the world. I'd say it was worth the 4 euros but I wouldn't go back. That's all I am going to say about the matter.
We also had a lovely Valentine's Day snack of strawberries and brie and crackers. It was romantic ;)
In addition to eating and museuming, we found really cool outdoor markets all throughout the city. They all had different themes. One was right on a canal and was very vintage with old clothes, furniture, and random ass stuff. Another was just all food, very farmers market-esque if you will. This was on display on February 14th:
Back at the hostel, we met some really interesting people throughout the weekend. People from all over the world really. Our favorite was Al. Al was from Ireland and was a boxer (I believe that is what he said). He was visiting Amsterdam after a match and when he got there, the cab driver stole all of his belongings, including his passport, money, clothes, everything. We really felt for the guy. Others were not so great, but they were very interesting to meet and I definitely do not regret meeting them. People from all over the world stayed here; I have probably met a more nationality diverse group of people here than I have any other time of my life. The hostel also had its own bar/club atmosphere going on with a DJ and really cheap drinks. We enjoyed some nice Heinekens, music, and conversations.
Overall it was a great weekend, full of adventures, trying new things, and moments I never want to forget. At the same time, it was so exhausting. Next week is Spring Break (!) so there will be plenty of new stories to come!!!