Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amsterdam in my heart - Part 2

I cannot tell how my phone is able to tell I am roaming as when I log into Tmobile's website they have no activity for my phone since I've left the US. I should be getting a bill tomorrow and it will show roaming charges if there are any but I would think that this data should be available online. When I roamed with Verizon's phone it would appear on the phone usage.

I've been monitoring this closely because I've had to turn on data roaming quite a bit when I've used the GPS feature or to look up certain word translations. Yesterday it was baking soda for the cookies I made. Everyone here has been so grateful and complimented me on my baking. Many were surprised that I made them as it seems like not many people know how to bake... For myself I am happy because I love to share cooking and baking with friends and I don't particularly want to eat 50 cookies myself. I made butterscotch oatmeal and they turned out really amazing. My trouble was converting everything to grams so much of the recipe was adding things by remembrance and thankfully it worked okay. I added a bit more oats and flour than usual but I think it is because I used too much butter. These cookies were my ticket into getting a 12 euro/night room here in Berlin. A steal! (And great for someone on a budget like me)

Paula, my host, is really accommodating and sweet. There are a few Japanese girls here and one of them made some homemade sushi last night and I was invited for sushi and champagne at the table. The two girls in my room, Ayako and Anna are both from Japan and are dancers. Ayako is here for 2 months and Anna is here for about 2 weeks. Sharing a room with them has been really great as it's nice and quiet. Last night I slept so well, I even slept in until 9am.

So back to my days in Amsterdam!

The first day I walked around all on foot and got a bit lost. I tried to find the Van Gogh museum but after 4 hours of walking around in a skirt and knee high socks I was hungry and a bit tired. It is quite chilly in Amsterdam! I bought a pair of white leggings for 2,50 euros to put on because my legs were cold but the pair had a hole in it which the world could see when I walked. I was too embarrassed to try and return them so I just wandered back home to the hostel. During my walk I went pretty much everywhere in the downtown area. I visited the Red Light District but it was at 11 am so there was not much happening. I took a picture of this one club though for a livejournal friend who likes elephants although I found it a bit disturbing :)

Red light district

Red light district

Walking through Dam Square was emotional as I already mentioned the memorial for remembrance of WWII. However the day of remembrance was followed by a day of celebration so there was a ton of street music and people partying even at early hours.

This is where all the flowers were laid:

The weather was cold but it reminded me a bit of Portland as there would be periods of light rain and then bright sunshine afterwards. The sky was a beautiful blue and I loved seeing all of the clock towers.

The second day I decided to rent a bike and see the city as the rest of the people do. I felt so free biking around and this time I found the Van Gogh museum and went inside to enjoy the artwork. A friend recommended getting the audio tour, which I did and it was really interesting to hear more in depth about Van Gogh's life and watch as his artwork went from light strokes with blossoming trees and colorful Japanese wood prints to thick brush strokes of heavy paint and lonely scenes. Of course we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside but this makes the experience more special.

After the museum I biked around some more and then found a comfy little bench to rest on and had someone snap my photo.

A great place to sit

A funny story though was when some guy tried to pick me up on my bike! I think because my bike was a rental he knew I wasn't from there so he asked where I was from. We were waiting at a red light. He was friendly so I asked for help to find the museum and he pointed me in the wrong (which I found out later) direction. I took off and he proceeded to follow me and try to show me the way which I thought was a little creepy but I suppose maybe he was being friendly until he asked me if I had time for coffee. I could have said yes because I did have time but when he tacked on that he had a house to the request I decided against going. I still can't tell if he was telling me he had a house to show he was responsible or to try and get me to come back there. My faith in men kind of favors the latter. Does that actually work? I've had a handful of men tell me this since I've been here and I cannot figure out why any woman would fall for this.

Anyways - here are a few more photos that I thought were interesting!

Flowers and vines traveling up windows were quite common

An old weigh station - Waag:


Some really cool mosaic tile benches and tables:

Neat street "art" - tables and benches

People seem to paint everything to make it prettier:

lovely street art

For the whole set of my pictures from Amsterdam, which includes a lot more pictures of the architecture and canals Click here to go to my set on flickr.

Last night I did not go to the club as there was a strict door policy and I did not want to travel across town in a dress and get turned away. I plan to go on an anti pub crawl which includes a lot of alternative places and underground clubs. This happens every night at 9:30 so I'll check it out when I have plenty of opportunity to go!

Today I am going to walk around downtown and just breathe the city in. I've found that I tend to enjoy walking around for a day or two then maybe visiting a museum or going on some walking tours. I like to familiarize myself with my home base first then work outwards from there. Yesterday I found a few wonderful markets and I've been able to eat vegetables to my hearts content!

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