Tuesday, December 6, 2011

(REPOST) Amsterdam, The Netherlands. July 2008

I met this wonderful woman Vicky living in Amsterdam on MySpace several years ago. She and I became "cyber" pen pals. When I learned that I was going to be working in Rome in 2008, I decided to visit her in Amsterdam afterward.

I got in at 10pm and the sky wasn't completely dark yet.

The next day, I went out to explore and noticed the beautiful Westerkerk church. Dutch style is something completely new to me, and it's equally intriguing.

After walking around getting lost in charming little alleyways, I decided to have lunch at this Turkish place and have some Turkish food. I learned that Amsterdam is a very diverse city with (at the time) about 180 different ethnicity all living together. This food was delish!

I kept getting lost, but that was the fun part of being a tourist. While I was trying to find my way back to the city center, I came across this little bridge in the residential area. It was so serene and charming.

I went to Anne Frank Museum, which was the house where she and her family were hiding during the Nazi invasion of Holland. She wrote her diary in the attic. It was a very powerful and moving experience.

Then I went to the grand Dam Square.

The Heineken building for all the beer lovers out there.

Rembrandt sculptures on Rembrandtplein.

I kept wandering around and saw this beautiful bridge. I learned on a canal cruise that this is the most beautiful bridge in Amsterdam.

A cute, rustic restaurant converted from a barn.

And surprise! A Chinatown. We really are everywhere!

I met up with Vicky after she got off work. She took me to the Red Light District. :D

Here's the beautiful Vicky and I.

Vicky had me try some traditional Dutch food of sausages and cheese. They were very tasty. After we got this plate, a bee kept flying around it and wouldn't leave, even after we went inside! We joked that it must be an authentic Dutch bee.

We then had some desserts at Häagen-Dazs.

This was sinful!

Red Light District at night. The girls were standing in the windows so you can "shop" for them.

I went to the van Gogh Museum the next day and saw my third Sunflowers painting there.

Hey look, someone knew I was coming to Amsterdam!

Vicky took me to have some traditional Dutch pancakes. We got one with bacon and apple (OMG!!!) and little puffy sweet ones. So good!

We strolled along the famous flower market.

Then it's time for a snack. Vicky took me to this famous "Belgian Fries" place called Manneken Pis (the peeing boy). (Fries were not invented in France; it was actually Belgium.)

What makes these fries so tasty is they garnish them with mayonnaise and curry ketchup. Yes, MAYONNAISE. I didn't know mayo and fries would go so well together. I was blown away!

Vicky and I then went on a canal cruise. We saw some beautiful boat houses.

Red Light District during day time.

Doesn't this look like Venice, Italy?

Check out the leaning houses.

You can see five bridges in the row from here.

We were having a ball!

After the cruise, we went to Hard Rock Cafe to get a drink before we say goodbye. Luckily, I got to see Vicky again when we went to Prague in July 2010. That was another super fun trip!

This Hard Rock has Madonna's SAG card.

The famous Bulldog "Cafe." I could smell the pot from as far away as I was standing! I was walking around the city and people would sit at the cafe as early as 10am having a joint.

I visited the Rijksmuseum before I left. I learned quite a bit about Dutch history here. Most surprisingly, how Chinese arts influenced Dutch, especially their porcelains with the blue and white colors.

I took a train from Amsterdam to Brussels, my final stop on this trip.

View entire Europe trip album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157618396910556/

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