Our morning started with a continental breakfast including bacon and eggs! Very exciting since most hotels and hostels have the traditional bread and cold cuts. Then we gathered for a tour of the Anne Frank House. That was the most heart wrenching experience of my life. But I learned a lot. And it was certainly a worthwhile experience.
Anyway, after being properly depressed by European history, we walked through a brownfield park. It was not quite as exciting as Landschaftspark but it was still quite lovely. There was more attention to the ecological restoration component which I appreciated.
Afterward, we were free to walk around Amsterdam. I didn’t realize until the trip that prostitution is also legal here and so we took a stroll through the Red Light District. It was weird and smelled of weed. A few women were on ‘display’ in the windows but since it was the middle of the day, I think most of them were on break. The clientele for this sort of thing probably comes by in the later hours.
Dinner was at this restaurant called Pesca that Ben’s mom told us about. They have fish out on display and you pick your fish and they cook it for you however they want. Unfortunately, our group was too large to do that so we just told them our budget and the prepared a whole meal for us based on that. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint! We had olive bread, Calamari (which I’m not a fan of) and prawns to start. Then they brought out mussels in butter lime sauce. The main course was sea bass with a side of salad and baked cauliflower. SO DELICIOUS! And not too expensive.
We got an early morning start, meeting Da Daktores (the roof doctors) to learn more about green roofs. The roof we shivered on had an ingenious system that captured rain water to water plants from beneath and reduced peak flow for runoff during large rain events.
We warmed up in a coffee shop for a bit, then visited a park that was actually a series of islands.
For lunch, our coordinator took us to a traditional Dutch herring stand. The sandwich I ordered had raw herring, pickles, and onions. Basically halitosis on a bun. Honestly, it tasted alright, but I couldn’t get past the slimy, raw herring texture. Logan ended up finishing my sandwich. Unsatisfied with the aftertaste, I bought some macaroons.
Our afternoon was spent on a very long tour of canal and water infrastructure in Amsterdam. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t remember much from the tour.
By the end of the tour, we were all hungry, tired, and sore from walking. Luckily, dinner was soon. It was a group dinner at a pancake place. They had savory and sweet pancakes. They weren’t fluffy like I expected but were more like a thicker crepe. Quite delicious.
Before leaving for Bonn, we went to the Vincent Van Gogh museum. And it was pretty much the best museum experience of my life! I wore my starry night socks. We couldn’t take pictures, unfortunately. But we got to see an evolution of his art and I learned so much about him (including the fact that he was born in the Netherlands, which I didn’t know). He didn’t actually start painting until I think 27 and he only sold one painting the whole time he was alive. I got to see a number of his famous paintings, including the sunflowers, the cherry blossoms, the yellow house, a few of his self portraits, and crows over wheat field (which was allegedly his final painting before his death. BUT the museum also had an unfinished painting that is speculated to be the actual last painting he was working on). The only bummer was that Starry Night did not make an appearance. It’s currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Here are some pics
Check out this insane bike parking garage. Biking here is intense.