Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Well, this past weekend I went on what seems to be my last trip of the semester: Amsterdam, Holland. It was a nice 3 day escape, before coming back to a very hectic school week.
I went with my roommates Danielle and Chloe, and I really enjoyed the town. It was pretty much as I expected it to be. It was beautiful, and canals were everywhere. I felt like I was in Venice! (Actually I didn’t, they’re really different, but there is a canal connection there…haha)
Our weekend was relaxed and we didn’t have too much going on- we pretty much just enjoyed the sights and the city. It was a lot of fun… we rented bikes to ride around on one day, ate pannekoeken, bought wooden shoes, passed time at the famous Amsterdam coffee shops, walked around the town, saw the Red-Light district, went to a park, went to a wax museum and saw the Anne Frank House.
I really enjoyed the day we got bikes. #1) we didn’t have to walk as much and #2) I have never seen a town so equipped for bicycling. I guess it’s the thing to do there… there were sooo many bikers (mostly on haunted, 1950’s looking bikes) and the streets had specific biking lanes. And you know how traffic lights have the pedestrian lights, with the little guy who is green or red? Well, Amsterdam also has lights with little bikes that are green or red. It’s great; it’s a fast, cheap, environmentally friendly, and seemingly safe way to get around. I was very surprised that I did not see one single person riding with a helmet on. So, I would guess that accidents involving the riders do not occur often.
The Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum was kind of a random decision… we passed it a million times going everywhere, and every time I saw it, I was reminded of how much I love the one in NYC. Seriously… creepily, it’s probably one of my favorite things to do in the city, and every time I go (even if there are no new figures) it is just so fascinating to me. So on Sunday when we were looking for something to do, Danielle and I decided to hit it up (Chloe had school work). I’m so happy we went, but at first I was kind of skeptical… when you get off of the elevator into the very first room, it’s completely black and then this GIANT wax guy comes down out of the ceiling. Apparently he’s an important Dutchman… I couldn’t understand what the voiceover was saying (even though it was in English) but he was creepy. SERIOUSLY! He was probably 10X the normal statue, was decorated with all of these Dutch things, and had creepy animated eyes and mouth. Needless to say, it was traumatizing. Fiiiiinally we were able to move on. This room was pretty creepy too… it was about the “golden age” and was set up like a little town in those times. Different lights turned on in the various displays and we were supposed to direct our attention to those areas and listen to the creepy voice over… but we found the black curtain leading to the next part and ducked out early.
We walked into a dark creepy hallway and saw a sign that said, “do not touch the live actors, they will not touch you”… “take the yellow path if you have a heart condition”. We went in, and just as I was saying to Danielle, “I screamed all the way through this part of the New York one…” a guy jumped out, scared the crap out of us and we ran away trampling the middle aged couples behind us (literally) and probably deafening them with our screeching. Arms linked, and 1,000 screams later, we were finally out of there and onto the cool stuff. There were a lot of wax figures of American people, and it was really neat to get to see and learn about important people historically and culturally from Holland and the surrounding areas, too. One awesome feature of the Amsterdam Madame Tussauds, was that they had a whole section dedicated to artists... perfect timing with an art history test coming up tomorrow! haha
My favorite, favorite, favorite part of my weekend in Amsterdam was visiting the Anne Frank house. I remember reading her diary when I was in 8th grade and like everyone else who has ever read her story, I was moved by not only what she went through, but the deep and profound insights of this young girl. As you may know, I am possibly the most easily creeped out person in the world. I cannot describe to you the chills that spread through my body as I walked through the hidden bookshelf door, and stood in Anne’s room, looking at the pictures of movie stars that she pasted to the walls herself. It was all so eerie and moving. I could not imagine living in such tight quarters, and keeping quiet all day long. I mean, think of the fear and anxiety they all must have felt? Wow. It was definitely a surreal experience. I’m looking forward to reading her diary again, after having been there.
Even though I didn’t feel well (my Easter-time cold is still lingering…) it was a really nice weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to return someday!