As the long-time readers (haha) may already know, I absolutely love European cities with rivers going through them. In comes Amsterdam, the city with the most bridges in all of Europe and with canals all over the damn place. I was in river-through-the-city heaven. It is most definitely a beautiful place. This is especially impressive due to the fact that it straight poured throughout our visit without putting the slightest damper on our weekend events.
After some issues at the airport, my mum finally arrived Friday in the early AM. When I say early, I mean early, like 6 in the morning. We hit copious amounts of traffic on the way to Holland but finally arrived at the hotel and settled in. Trevor, T, and Marko went to their hotel, which was hilariously dirty, and my mom and I took a nap before venturing out into the city. For some strange reason, we were very motivated that Friday and saw both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum before dinner. It was intense to say the least. The Rijks was an art museum but also had alot of information on the history of the Netherlands as a whole which I was digging. As soon as we walked in, there was a serious replica of a Dutch East India Trading Company ship that was made a long time ago. Of course, my immediate thoughts went straight to Captain Jack Sparrow and the glorious crew of the Black Pearl.
Don't get me wrong, I love museums and history and such (wow, I am a nerd.. damn you Amherst!) but, I feel like there is no place in the world which induces daydreaming about weird ass stuff more than a museum. You walk through checking out famous paintings, punching in numbers so that you can listen to your audio tour, and immediatley upon seeing a large famous painting such as my favorite from the Rijksmuseum and their most famous piece, "The Night Watch," I wondered how the hell Rembrandt got all those people to pose for long enough to paint that ish. I imagined the little girl in the painting getting antsy and Rembrandt attempting a million different ways to make her stand still like when a 4 year old gets his/her photo taken for the family christmas card. Or, maybe he did it from memory and all my rambling daydreams were for nothing. Whatever the case may be, my daydreams can make any museum a little bit more interesting. I found myself secretly wishing my mom had made a scavenger hunt for the museum like she did when I was a youngster. A tactic I most definitely will use with my future fam, not only to keep the young ones interested, but because I am a large child inside a large man's body.
I definitely dug the Van Gogh museum too. It kind of went through his life like a biography which made it more interesting to me than just looking at his paintings. It also turned into a bar during our visit which never hurts the cause. That night, momma G hit the hay early and I ventured into the streets of Amsterdam to meet the other roomies. We went out, and it was great. We made friends with a Dutch bartender and drank some local brews and met some crazy Englishmen having a bachelor's party. In addition, many a prostitue tapped on their red-lit window and said, "Hey, big fella, you want a good time?" in broken, Russian-accented English. I tried to get a picture of some of the red lights, but every time I took one it would inexplicably go a bit blurry. It is like the prostitutes have power over the weather a la Storm from X-Men. Here is my best shot, however. Surprisingly, alot of them were quite good-looking (must have been because it was the Friday graveyard shift cuz I heard some horror stories about the old day shifters), but they scared me. Nevertheless, I am glad I have a beautiful girlfriend (shout-out one time!).
At the end of the evening, I walked back with the guys to their hotel before beginning the solo mission back to my own hotel. The walk from their hostel to my hotel was essentially a straight walk following a single canal. In my state, in the wee hours of the morning with a rainstorm coming down, I found it extremely difficult to follow my soggy hotel map and got severely lost. This journey reminded me of my famous walk towards UMass (I was not trying to walk towards UMass) in the early weeks of Sophomore year at Amherst, except, I could not call Andrew and ask him to pick me up on Lincoln Ave. I finally found a place I recognized and got home safe.
Saturday was a day of Touristy events. Me mum and I went on a bus tour of Amsterdam with a stop at a diamond factory followed by a lovely canal tour. It was a great way to see all of Amsterdam and I took maybe a million pictures. You can see all (most) of the pictures from the weekend here.
Saturday night was basically the same as Friday minus the whole getting lost thing. Sunday, I showed ma the Red Light District cuz she just had to see it. I quickly realized the difference between Friday / Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. After viewing a small sampling of the Sunday morning shift, I had a bad taste in my mouth that finally went away around Wednesday. In addition, my eyes stung for a couple days, but I have finally recovered from the horror that is Sunday morning in the Red Light District. I am now doing my best to black out those Sunday memories, but, alas, luck is not on my side and those visions have been seared into my memory until the end of time. So, now, I'm praying for the end of time (Meatloaf fo' life). Haha, no, Amsterdam was great and a visitor must take the good memories with the bad. In my opinion, this weekend's great memories far outweigh any of the nasty/ugly ones because all the nasty ones were absolutely hil-arious.