23 February, 2010


Had a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam, and of course took pictures. Obviously, knowing me, they have not been uploaded to my computer.  I have some midterms this week since Spring Break is next week, so I don't know how much time I'll have to get them uploaded.

Quick overview of Amsterdam: Beautiful city. There are canals that are sort of arched around the city and through it, so you must take little bridges constantly.  The streets are much wider than Florence and other Italian cities, so the cars are a little more modern. Trams, bikes, buses, and cars control the streets.  There are special pathways for the bikes, tracks for the trams, and roadways for the buses and cars.  I would NEVER EVER drive in that city.  I practically was getting run over just trying to follow the "walk" and "don't walk" signs. Within 15 minutes of arriving, we saw a man on the ground bleeding from the mouth and ear from getting hit while on his bike.  Needless to say, it's dangerous!!

As for the city, I blended in much better than I do in Firenze.  The city seems to be primarily tourists, which isn't always a bad thing.  My favorite part of the whole trip was the Anne Frank house. I'm sure most of you know her history - young teenage girl, Jewish, kept a diary during WW2, hid in the annex of a house with her family and 4 other people, eventually discovered, taken to a concentration camp, entire family except Dad dies.  There's her history in a nutshell.  Anyway, once the father returned to the hideout, he found Anne's diary and decided to publish it.  Throughout the house there are quotes from her diary on the wall, so you can really envision what it was like. I even am getting goose bumps now thinking about it and how emotional it was.  I would HIGHLY recommend a trip to Amsterdam just to see that, if anything at all.  Her father wanted to keep it unfurnished, so it just is empty rooms with descriptions of what was there.  The walls all have the original posters that the residents of the annex put up... as well as Anne's room with her pictures and magazine clippings.  Definitely an amazing experience.

I also went to the Van Gogh museum.  Not a huge art person, but since I was there I figured I should go.  There were a bunch of wings in the museum with countless artists (I didn't know any... except Claude Monet) and their works.  We were there quite a while, but no pictures are allowed, and can't say I can comment on much.  Saw a few works I recognized - Sunflowers was one. The Bedroom is another piece I know, but it was not there when we visited.

Red Light district was really disturbing for me. I couldn't imagine what life would be like for many of the women who make that their career.  Because of the mixed group reading this, I'll leave it at that.  Feel free to email me for more details on that part of the experience.

All in all, I really enjoyed my weekend.  We stayed at a hostel (my first one with other people!)  It had 12 beds to a room.. 6 bunk beds.  It was cool because everyone in there was between 18-22, which is exactly my age!  Nana, you'll love this... I MET TWO NORWEGIANS FROM OSLO!!  I told them every Norwegian word I knew, and they were laughing at my accent, but surprisingly knew every word I was attempting to say.  You all would be so proud.  There was another person from Virginia, two people from Great Britain, and then the 7 of us.  It was quite the experience!

I did not enjoy the plane ride there or back.  The way there was exceptionally tough... it was extremely windy so only one runway was open in Amsterdam.  We got to Amsterdam, and then had to turn around because of air traffic on the run way.  Our 1:50 flight turned into somewhere near 2:30 because of the traffic.  We were constantly dropping altitude because of the wind and weather.  I researched taking trains home from Amsterdam because I was so scared of getting back on!

Today will be a very busy day.  I have lezione di Italiano (lesson of Italian is how they describe it.. not Italian class), and then my Skype class immediately after.  Karli and Jeremy are cooking for Florka, so they've invited me to be one of their guests!  That will be a good dinner I hope.  Tomorrow, Laura just informed me that Patrizia and Guido are going out to dinner, so Laura is inviting friends over!! I'm excited to meet some Italians!!!

I better study and get ready for this Art History exam I have tomorrow morning.  I'm only an email away.


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