Amsterdam: The finale
While I am excited to go to Amsterdam, it also makes me sad because it means my trip is ending. Everyone said I would be ready to come home after 5 weeks, but it is not the case at all. Anyway, I left Köln and took a train to Amsterdam, where I would spend my final four days.
I had planned on finishing my book on the train ride, but it turned out I was surrounded my Indians (which was strange in Köln). There were two guys from Chennai sitting across the aisle, who were in town for the conference in Dusseldorf, and then sitting next to me was Arun. Arun lived in Köln, so it was great to chat with him and get some perspective on living in Germany.
Upon arrival at Amsterdam Central, I met up with Hima and Smitha. They escorted me to my hostel, and then we went to the Rijksmuseum to see the Rembrandts. Following the musuem, we had lunch, went on a canal boat trip, walked through the red light district, and had dinner. It was a nice, relaxed first day, and really great to see them.
Day two was on my own. I started the day with a walking tour of the city. It was nice to see all the major sites this way, although I was hoping I would meet some cool people to hang out with. Not the case at all.
So after the tour, I visited the Anne Frank House.
Following the visit, I stopped in a liquor store – the tour pointed out a liquor store and since I knew nothing about Absynthe, I thought I would walk in and inquire – Perhaps this would be a good gift to carry back?
Stephan, the guy working in the store, was kind enough to give me an education about the liquor as well as how to drink it. I decided not to buy it, but we ended up sitting down, chatting, and drinking some cider.
During our conversation, he mentioned that he had a spare bicycle and offered it to me to use while in Amsterdam. While I had not ridden a bike in at least 10 years, this was an offer I couldn’t resist (when in Rome…). Anyway, he went with me to a bike shop to get the seat lowered and then I was off.
I was a bit wobbly and nervous at first, but I managed. After all, this is a skill that you never forget. It was nice to go around and see the city this way. Amsterdam has more bikes than people or cars.
After a few hours, I met up with Andrie (see Meeting People post..we met in Prague) at the National Monument, where we went out for dinner and drinks.
Later in the night, I met Stephan for a drink. We ended up having espresso along the canal, ice cream, tea, and drinks, and we chatted until 4:30am!
The following day, he took me for a bike ride to another part of Amsterdam to see a completely different style of architecture. We also stopped at a cafe for some lunch.
At this point, I had made him late to go see his parents, so he was off and I went for a walk through the town and finished some last minute errands (exchange money, buy postcards, etc).
I managed to wander far enough that I walked back to Vondelpark. It was a nice walk, where I was able to window shop, see some pretty parks, and see the Heineken brewery.
Eventually, I made it back to Vondelpark where I met up with Samantha, an old collegue from Starbucks. She was with some other collegues from Starbucks (Ryan, who lived in Amsterdam and Jamie, who was in town on business). The four of us went out for drinks at a cafe along a canal. And following drinks, Ryan, Samantha and I went out for an Indonesian feast. It was fantastic and the perfect way to end my last full day in Amsterdam.