|We made it to Amsterdam after a short but interesting flight, full of rowdy brits waiting to blow off steam in the 'dam. I am sure that is like calling San Francisco 'Frisco, but I am a tourist after all. So anyway, We arrived and caught the train to the city, then a bus out to meet the guy we were couchsurfing with. Robb from SoCal. He is doing his post doc in Amsterdam and his apartment was a good distance from the city center, in the science student housing. No prob, we just decided to rent some bikes, which is by far the best way to explore Amsterdam. So Robb picked us up and we headed out to a nice dinner, had some bitterballen for the first time, I guess the best way to describe it is deep fried gravy. It was fantastic. Robb said that he loved it so much, that after the first time he visited he bought a deep frier when he went back to LA, and made them frequently. Then, after our dutch dinner, we went out on the town. Amsterdam is beautiful, a city built on water with all these houses that just sort of slump over into eachother. You walk down the street, and expect to see a regular old intersection, but instead, it intersects with these awesome canals. So you are just walking/biking along, over bridges. It is great. Amsterdam at night has such a unique feel. And I am not even talking about the insanity of the tourist area/red light district. Just Amsterdam, as the sun is setting. There is nothing quite like it. Robb described it as being Halloweeney, and that is the most accurate description probably. It is beautiful/spooky. So he took us to all these cool bars and shops, but mostly we just walked through the streets, taking it all in.
The next day, we rode all around on our bikes, seeing the sights by the light of day, and it is totally different. We bought tickets to the Cat Power show at Paradiso, and then explored some more. We had some bad Mexican food and then met Robb for our private boat trip through the canals at sunset. He bought a boat with some friends, and they basically timeshare it. It was my favorite part of the trip. Just drifting through the canals, people watching on the other boats and the streets. And it was a beautiful sunset. After that, we went to a bar for a couchsurfing meeting, which happens every Friday night, for the people that live there and the people that are surfing with them. It was quite an experience. We met some nice people, one girl from the states, and just chatted through the night. We stayed up a little too late that night...
The next day we were so wiped out, and we told Robb that all we had energy for was a boat ride through the canals, all day. He thought that sounded fine, so we spent the day lounging on the boat, napping, and soaking in the hot amsterdam sun. Paige and I attempted to go see a movie that evening, but had a hard time navigating. The next day, we were polite guests and checked into a hostel to give Robb some much needed rest. I'm not going to lie, the hostel was not my cup of tea, and it was disgusting but I should probably leave it at that. We spent two more days in Amsterdam, exploring. We went to the Anne Frank house which I sobbed through, a couple of museums that were really cool and perhaps will inspire Paige to paint a masterpiece, and the park, which was so nice and relaxing. We also hit up an amazing Cat Power show.
Amsterdam is unlike any place I have ever been. I guess it is like Burning Man, with a dash of Vegas, but waaaaay more beautiful.