03.06.2015 - 06.06.2015
Noor and I got to Amsterdam pretty late on June 3rd, so we didn't have time to do much other than check in to the hostel and grab dinner. We decided that after our late night last night giving Colby a pretty good send off in Brussels we would hit the hay early. The next morning I found the Starbucks that I had eyed the night before, while Noor slept a little longer to get over her jet lag. On this day, we just wandered around the beautiful city, got lost (in a good way), and attempted to go to some attractions. We tried to go to the Anne Frank house and the Heinekin Experience, but the lines were HUGE so we passed. We got some good Indonesian food for dinner, and then went to a couple of bars with a French girl that we had met earlier in the day. We then took a good walk around the Red Light district, which was very creepy and offputting, but definitely an interesting experience.
The next morning we took the free walking tour around the city. It took us to the Oude Kerk (the Old Church), Amsterdam’s oldest building - it is over 800 years old. It was a Catholic church for 300 years but it has been a Calvinist church since the reformation. Even though it is no longer Catholic, each year Catholics arrive at the church on a certain date to celebrate the "Miracle of Amsterdam" that occurred in 1345. The story is that a dying man vomited after receiving communion and when his vomit was thrown into a fire, the host did not burn at all. This was proclaimed a miracle, and for 200 years the host was on display in a chest, but the chest disappeared during the reformation. We were also told that this is the church where all the sailors would go for confession after their "experience" with the ladies of the night. The tour brought us back to the red light district, where we learned about the origins and specifications of the legalization of prostitution. It also took us to the Jewish quarter, which consisted of much newer buildings than the rest of the city due to the need to rebuild after Nazi occupation. We saw the narrowest house in Amsterdam that seemed like it would barely fit a person lying down horizontally. The tour ended at the Anne Frank house, where the tour guide told us the story of Anne and her family, which was great because I needed a refresher. After the tour, Noor went back to the hostel and I went for lunch with a mish-mash of Canadians that had been on the tour. It was funny how a couple of guys from Kingston (who didn't know each other), a girl from Quebec, and me from Vancouver ended up flocking together. Noor felt like staying in that night, so I met up with the guys from Kingston and we went to a couple of pubs and tried some Dutch beers (other than Heineken!).
The next day, we met up with the French girl from the first night and headed to the museum district. While there, we found a park with the giant letters of " I AMSTERDAM," with the "AM" being a different colour than the rest so it's meant to be interpreted as “I Am Amsterdam”. We went and checked out the museums from the outside, but didn't end up going in, as they were ALL art museums, and expensive and I guess I'm just not cultural enough to spend money on that! We tried the Heineken museum again but the queue was still huge, so we did some souvenir shopping before getting dinner. After dinner, we headed to a pub with one of the guys from Kingston. We had gone there a couple of nights before, but felt the need to go back because the waitress was crazy and hilarious. We then wandered over to the bar district where we found a jazz club and a piano bar. It was a great live music night!
On the Saturday, I said goodbye to Noor and caught a flight to Edinburgh, Scotland!