Catching up on Season 11 of America’s Next Top Model (where they go to Amsterdam!) has inspired me to catch up my blog on my trip to that wonderful city. The words of one of the contestants on that show describes my opinion of it perfectly–she said she expected the city to be really dirty, and all about drugs and sex but she discovered it’s actually a very beautiful city and you don’t even see that stuff if you don’t go looking for it. I had the same reaction–totally expected it to be dirty and full of things I have no interest in–but in the end it’s probably the prettiest* city I’ve visited in Europe all semester.
(*Strasbourg, France was the cutest and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg was the cleanest).
Anyway, on to the Amsterdam part of my Netherlands trip. I didn’t bother to find out which Amsterdam train station was closest to my hotel, so ultimately I came into Amsterdam Centraal and took a cab to the hotel which was about 30 euros. Woops! (I later learned from Adam & Krissi that it was only about a 10 minute walk from the correct train station).
When I got to my hotel room I found out what I thought was free Wifi actually cost 20 euros per day (UGG!). I paid the fee, checked my email, and it turned out about 15 minutes after I left Den Haag/The Hague, the judge had emailed me and asked me to respond right away and suggested doing a video conference. I commenced with freaking out because (1) 3 hours had passed already; (2) it was about closing time in Atlanta; (3) there was no way for me to do a video conference from my hotel room; and (4) I forgot a suit jacket on the trip, so there was no way I could look professional even if I did find a way to do video. Adam, Krissi, and Alexander sat around while I freaked out and called Dean Gash back in London to figure out a plan and emailed the judge back. I waited for awhile to hear something back, but there was no news. So, since it was a Friday night and we were in a new city (and it was coincidentally Halloween), we all got ready and went out to explore the city a little bit. Ultimately we ended up walking around a lot, getting some “famous” french fries (they’re all about the fries in Amsterdam), and then getting coffee and going home. I was in this very weird mood due to not knowing what was going to happen with the judge thing and whether I should be in the room researching the judge rather than out walking around the city. So after coffee I just wanted to go back to the hotel.
The next morning I woke up pretty early and hopped on my computer to start researching opinions by the judge, using live chat with a Lexis representative to figure out how to find the opinions. There were a few hundred published opinions–yikes. But also at that time, (sorry for the TMI but it explains the story), I started having really bad cramps. There was nothing to eat in the room but some weird nuts in the mini bar and orange juice, so I consumed those to try to get food in my stomach before taking medicine. The only other option was room service breakfast which cost… I can’t even remember now but it was over 20 euros. Long story short, the nuts were not enough for my stomach and I started getting extremely sick from taking the medicine without real food, I had to call for room service breakfast and scarf down some bread to try to sooth my stomach, and then I ended up laying in bed for about 2 hours watching crazy Dutch tv until my stomach calmed down and the medicine kicked in. If I had just not been a cheapo and went with the room service breakfast from the beginning, I could have saved myself the extra 7 euros I spent on the nuts and juice, and could have saved myself a few hours of my morning 😉
Anyway, once I started feeling better we all decided to go out and explore the city (Adam, Krissi, Alexander and I). We took a train to a shopping area to get lunch, and while we were walking to a lunch spot, Krissi found a 50 euro note on the ground!! (that’s over 60 USD!) So she paid for everyone’s lunch! We went to a wok place where you pick all of your ingredients and then they stir-fry it up for you. Almost like a mongolian-grill type thing except it wasn’t self-service. It was, however, delicious.
After that we kept walking. Although it was extremely cold (and to deal with the cold Alexander bought me a crazy “amsterdam” hat) I couldn’t get over how pretty the city was. There are canals everywhere and the buildings are all so pretty. I just really wasn’t expecting beauty in Amsterdam, so I was incredibly taken aback. Soon we found ourselves in the flower district and I was in LOVE because I LOVE tulips! I would really love to come back to the Netherlands in the spring when flowers are in full bloom everywhere 🙂 While shopping around the flower district, it started raining so we had to find somewhere to duck in for awhile.
The rest of this day (saturday) is a little blurry because it mainly consisted of walking around shops and ducking out of the rain, although we did take a long break at a Cafe to sit and eat and relax, and I of course turned it into a photo opportunity, and came up with the future album cover for our Dutch Hip Hop Album:
The rain (combined with the cold) made it really difficult to try to stay out. This was the first time it had rained on my European adventures, so I consider myself very lucky! We eventually all agreed that we should give up, go back to the hotel, and get dinner at the hotel restaurant. Somewhere on the way back though, Krissi and I found a giant clog to pose in:
I kind of wanted to buy wooden clogs, and they actually had them in my size… but I already have HUGE feet, and clogs make anyone’s feet look huge, which means mine would look really, really huge! Not to mention, how on earth would I get giant clogs back home in my luggage? I already have this random giraffe bowl that I bought on an impulse in Strasbourg that I’m going to have to find a way to get home. So anyway, that picture of Krissi and I IN a clog will have to suffice.
Dinner at the hotel restaurant was mediocre, and then we watched some TV and ate some Leonidas chocolates we bought while out and about and I think ultimately went to bed. I am really not much of a night person. It takes something really exciting to keep me up at night, and lets just face it: cold, dark, and raining is not the least bit exciting to Michelle 😉
So that’s the end of Saturday. Sunday (our final day) turned out to be pretty amazing so I will make a post about that later!
For the pictures from (a little bit of the Hague and) Friday/Saturday in Amsterdam, click here.