Sunday, January 10, 2010

A whole new...continent or something Day 2

Sleep came to me that night like a good idea, even though the Ikea beds were something dreadful. Amsterdam becomes light at around 9:30, and by then I had already managed an egregious error in calculations. I wasn't quite satisfied with the heat level of my curling iron, and having conveniently forgotten that the voltage is quite different, I managed to finally realize the inconsistency when I smelled something burning quite close to my face. Something that smelled quite like hair. I'd heard stories of hair appliances being finicky etc with travel, but it was never an issue for me. (Then again, I never really brought my own with me). So it was a tragically hilarious start to the day. Even more hilarious was the fact that there is no way to open a window at the Holiday Inn Schiphol. Hm. Well. At least I was leaving for the whole day! (And, at least I started curling my hair with a section low and close to the nape of my neck, such that it wasn't quite visible, my misadventure).

I got to Centraal Station and was almost sorry to say goodbye to the gentle lull of the train, but was glad to get out and see the station itself. Pretty gorgeous. My first order of business was to buy a ticket to the canal tour, which was well worth 16 Euro. I dont think I could have seen the charm of the city any better than from the water, and alongside the swa
Architecture in Amsterdam is incredibly interesting, with so much personality afforded to each building. Each has facades and moldings such that before some certain year, they didn't even have numbers for addresses-- you knew where you were going just by identifying the decorations on the brick, or wood, or whatnot, which gave indication to who lived there: their occupation, religious affiliation, etc. And each has a lovely little beam coming out from the highest point such that pulleys could be utilized in case elevators weren't working, or weren't quite existent. Very adorable. Very charming.

Frantic tourism is no fun, especially when one has to sprint through such marvels as the Van Gogh museum. I didn't even go into the Rijk due to lack of time. But the former was gorgeous. I had no idea that Van Gogh was such an avid reader and writer-- seeing his thoughts on Uncle Tom's Cabin and witnessing the wonder that were his letters to brother Theo (usually set with the most impressive pen and inks) was marvelous!
Afterward I traipsed to the Heineken Experience, where the original brewery was located on some Straat or another. :) (Much of Dutch is quite manageable, if you use your imagination.) I zipped through this one too but was not nearly as heartbroken about it as not being able to spend a whole day at the Rijk and Van Gogh. During the tour, I realized that I know more about beer than I thought I did, as I answered all the questions that the tour guides asked. Hm. Is now when I admit to having a problem of some sort? Nah. Just intellectual vitality and exceptional curiosity. (By the way-- the green bottles are termed "WOBO". Google that one. You can use the empty bottles as bricks for a wall-- as seen in the picture below)

As part of the tour, they give you 2 pints of beer. Delish. But seeing as how I was on a time crunch, I had time only to down those two pints, and make a run for the train station
. There's more to be reported, but it's stuff that I'll relay over the phone. Call and ask.

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