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You know... when I think about it I think that out of 11 days that I was in The Netherlands, I only got to sleep in about 3 of those days. This wasn't one of those days. I had to catch a morning train to Amsterdam, to meet my new friend Clarissa and explore Amsterdam with her and her friend Sonia for 2 days. Oh! Excited. :)
This shot almost cost me my life. No joke. Stupid bikes!
The train ride was pretty uneventful, but I think it is important to note two major improvements in me becoming more comfortable in The Netherlands: 1) I actually made it all the way to Amsterdam by myself. 2) I wasn't even nervous about traveling on my own to Amsterdam. I actually was so relaxed (and sleep deprived) that I took a nice little nap on the train ride up there.
Clarissa, Sonia, and I met up and started out on our adventure in Amsterdam. The first thing that comes to mind is that the weather wasn't at it's greatest that day (is it ever?!) and it started pouring rain almost as soon as we got there. It was pretty windy too, so we figured that buying an umbrella wouldn't really work. I really didn't want to get my gear all rained on all day... so... Sonia and I walked into a tourist store and bought some ponchos. Yes, I said ponchos.
"May The Ponchos Be With You!"
It's important to know that it took us several minutes to be able to put the ponchos on, just because it was crazy windy. Also, as soon as we got them on it stopped raining. The weather was pretty inconsistent all day. First it was sunny, then it rains for 10 minutes. Then the sun comes out again, and suddenly it HAILS for 2 minutes. As the guy at the tourist store (where we went in to hide from the hail) said: Welcome to The Netherlands!
Aren't those (unedited) dark clouds just, oh-so-inviting?
We walked around for a couple hours and did some typical sightseeing, getting lost, and eventually found our way to the Reichs museum. The museum was quite nice. My favorite was all the Rembrandt art in there, and seeing how "Rembrandt lighting" applies to photography. Preeeeetty nice.
After going to the Reichs museum we were pretty much starving, so we decided to find shelter in a local McDonalds. Awful, I know. The weather outside was so bad, and we were so tired from walking/freezing, that we pretty much spent a long time in there. Did I mention that during part of the walk up to the museum it started hailing on us? Yup, McDonalds was looking all kids of cozy that day.
Happy to be indoors
By the time we managed to get our act together... the city was closed. What? It's like everything closes at 6pm. Really? 6pm. We really wanted to go to the Anne Frank House, (and when I say "we" I mean Sonia REALLY wanted to go to the Anne Frank House) and we figured we would have to try and get to it the next day, so we tried to find our way back home.
Rain&Walking All Day. So Glamourous.
Interesting bit about where home was: Apparently Clarissa and Sonia had some couch surfing request or something like that... so they were staying with people they didn't previously know. Sketchy, I know. By the time I got up there though, they'd already been there for a couple days and were doing OK, so I joined in on the crazy fun.
Train ride home.
When we got to the house... nobody was there. Did I mention it had been raining on us all day? We were soaked, I had some 15lbs on my back, and it was cold outside. We found shelter in a nearby bar (no McDonalds around) and just hung out there for a bit... after walking in front of the giant window 4 times without being able to find the door. By the time we found it and got in, everyone at the bar was staring at us in silence. Kid you not. We know how to make an entrance.
We hung out for about an hour and then the girls got back home. Then got some dry clothes, dinner, and some much needed rest before getting up (early again!) for our NEXT Adventure in the Netherlands!! :D