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October 14th 2006
Published: October 14th 2006
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Hello again, Amsterdam!

It's sure nice to have a change of pace from what I'm used to. Amsterdam is full of tourists, people, cars, buses, dogs, boats, you name it. I took the train from Enschede yesterday afternoon. I caught the train right on time with 2 minutes to spare, after buying a discount train pass that gives me 40%!d(MISSING)iscount on any train ticket I buy in the Nederlands. It's good for a whole year, which is cool because I plan on coming back here in June after graduation.

Anyway, on the train, the ticket guy came around and I showed him my ticket - he told me that I'm actually on the part of the train that goes to Schipol Airport. He told me to get off the train in Deventer (about half way to Amsterdam) and walk to the front of the train. How weird! The guy who I was sitting across from told me that the train splits in Deventer. Anyhow, I made it to Amsterdam Centraal smoothly, AND took the metro instead of the tram. I arrived at the house around 3:00, chatted with Hagar (my aunt) and then walked to Agatha's work which
RijksmuseumRijksmuseumRijksmuseum

That building was spectacular! The detail was amazing and it looked better than the van gogh.
was about 5 minutes from the house. She gave me her keys for her bike and I rode to the Van Gogh museum. There's a place called the Museumplein and it has the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh (and some other smaller one) right next to eachother. There's a nice grassy park that sits in the middle of the museums.

The Gogh museum was fantastic - it was my first European museum and I spent 2 hours there. The museum had three grand floors filled with Gogh's artwork as well as other artists. There was a black and white photography section that wasn't too interesting, but I still appreciated it. One of Gogh's pieces was a picture of absinthe and a water flask/carafe. The carafe was not symmetrical and I immediately thought back to my art teacher and how whenever we painted still life he would always comment on our "symmetry problems" - I guess Van Gogh and I had the same "problem."

Overall, I wouldn't call myself a museum buff at all, but I enjoyed seeing the famous pieces in original form and see the actual size of the paintings - Gogh painted on pretty small canvases
RijksmuseumRijksmuseumRijksmuseum

One of the sides up close
actually. The coolest one is a self portrait of him where he actually painted himself on a canvas where he already painted a still life painting on the other side. The painting is hung away from a mirrored wall so you can see the back painting as well. I could go on and on about the museum, but none of it is all to interesting to describe. you'll just have to go someday =)

I returned home, ate a delicious dinner with the family and then Agatha and I hung out, talked, and then rode our bikes to the Ysbreakers bar (pronounced icebreakers). It was a small bar with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Amstel canal. I looked at the menu and on the front it had the bar name and then "1890" on it. Pretty neat to think about the people that visited this bar over a century ago. We had roze wine and did the whole girl talk thing.

---------------------------Saturday-----------------------------

I woke up, had some breakfast with Agatha, and then took her bike to the Waterlooplein - there's a large outdoor market there. She stayed because she has a Spanish test coming up on Tuesday,
RijksmuseumRijksmuseumRijksmuseum

Look at the little worker guys on the top, each doing something different. I also liked the little lace design at the top of the roof. The poster on the building is of Rembrandt for his 400th birthday
but I was just fine making it there on my own. I meandered around the market, bought a nice shawl/scarf for 3 euros and just enjoyed the sunny weather and sunny vibes around me. I wasn't ready to go back home so I just hopped on my bike and rode further into the city, not really caring where I was going. I saw some interesting shops, more and more coffee shops, tons of tourists who I almost hit with the bike...but didn't thank goodness. I then noticed a change in the buildings - the ones I started to see just looked older and were sort of leaning into the street. The cobblestones were baulby and not as smooth as the cobblestones throughout the rest of the city. (Question on my head: did I just make up the word baulby?? I think I might have...) Anyway, it was impossible to ride my bike, so I found myself walking through a very narrow street - I looked to my right at a door-sized window and saw a naked woman wearing heavy black makup sitting on a stool. I kept walking, turned to my left, and this time saw another naked woman with
Van Gogh museumVan Gogh museumVan Gogh museum

A neat use of space
bright carrot-colored hair wearing a turquoise lingerie piece. I think I found the red light district. Needless to say, I walked down an entire alley of windowed doors - some shutters were pulled down, and nobody had to explain to me what that meant.

The day so far has been great - before coming here I had planned on visiting the Rijksmuseum today, but I think for me one museum a week is plenty. But I must get some museum exercise before I visit The Louvre in Paris!

In other news:

I'm going to FLORENCE!!!!!!!

okay, catch my breath. Let me say it again: I'm going to Florence!!!!!!!! I really can't believe it. My friend Marissa from the UW is studying in Perugia, Italy for the year and I wanted to go visit her. Agatha and I were talking last night, we checked the prices of tickets flying into Rome and into Florence, and it's actually a LOT cheaper to fly into Florence. So I booked my ticket and I'll be going November 16-23. I still can't believe it. =)

I'll keep you updated on how things are going of course - and when I
Van Gogh museumVan Gogh museumVan Gogh museum

Here's the other side
come back to Enschede, I'll post pictures from my weekend here (I didn't bother bringing the cord).

Love to all


Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


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At the YsbreakerAt the Ysbreaker
At the Ysbreaker

Proost! Sipping on a glass of Roze wine on the terrace. Roze wine is considered "very Dutch"
At the YsbreakerAt the Ysbreaker
At the Ysbreaker

Agatha and I enjoying the mild evening.
Market!Market!
Market!

wooden clogs, bike parts, old shoes, new shoes, anything and everything coated in brass, leather, wool things, you name it!
Hey Jude...Hey Jude...
Hey Jude...

This was so neat! Yay for the Beatles. However, I do find it offensive that Britney Spears is on the same shelf as the other REAL musicians there.
Idiots, crazies, and a monkey wearing a cowboy hatIdiots, crazies, and a monkey wearing a cowboy hat
Idiots, crazies, and a monkey wearing a cowboy hat

They look just as stupid painted on a wooden egg as they do on t.v.
Rembrandt's actual houseRembrandt's actual house
Rembrandt's actual house

I didn't intend to find his house - it's just chilling on the corner of some street. Note my awesome photography skills - the house is not leaning that much...
Me on a canal bridgeMe on a canal bridge
Me on a canal bridge

I think it's the Amstel canal. The boats on the sides are actually houseboats!
A very skinny houseA very skinny house
A very skinny house

It's pretty slanted and looks like it was built in between an alley. It is only a bit wider than the length of the bicycle there.


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