A taste of Amsterdam

26 June 2010

Day 17: Amsterdam - Friday, June 18th
We strolled through the factory, and learned about the history of the business. The beginning of the tour was outside were we were introduced to the coveted "cheese-makers." Aren't they cute?

They showed us how they made their wooden shoes, which were originally designed for the comfort of farmers. We tried on a few pairs, but stuck with our tennies.

On our way back to Amsterdam, our bike tour stopped at a man-made forest. Apparently back in the '60s and '70s, people had to plant trees and help build a forest in order to insure they would be given their welfare and retirement savings later in life. So a bunch of people would plant trees for someone, like their future child.

Anyway, we also got a chance to cycle through Vondelpark. It's a huge park with original Picasso works all over the place. It's pretty neat, if you get a chance to see Amsterdam I'd recommend checking it out. They have free concerts every night in the summer, but it rained on our final night so we decided not to get soaked. And, it's the only park in all of Amsterdam where absolutely anything is legal. (That's right. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities.)

It was a lovely day. We really enjoyed it!

Day 18: Amsterdam - Saturday, June 19th
Heather and Britta got in this afternoon and we immediately caught a free canal cruise through the St. Niccolas boat club at Boom Chicago. The tour was fantastic! We saw so much around Amsterdam! Our guide was friendly and shared quite a bit of information about the Dutch way of living. The boats were long and shallow, and we had to duck to make it under the bridges. It was a fun adventure that allowed us to see a lot of Amsterdam that we could not have seen by foot or bike. And since their boats are technically illegal, their donations go toward potential citations and boat maintenance.

We checked out a few shops and enjoyed a nice funnel full of frites (fries)! The others got mayo smothered all over their frites, but I was just not having that. The Dutch seem to eat mayo with everything. I'm not lying.

For the rest of the night, we took a walk through the red light district and took in the chaos of Amsterdam nightlife. It was entertaining to say the least.

Our hostel was actually a Christian hostel, located in the center of the red light district. We stepped out of the hostel around 10 a.m. every morning and directly to our left was a window displaying the brunch-hour prostitutes. Ha. Anyway, there were bars and "coffee shops" all over the place, so we enjoyed some wine and a few beers at a bar nearby for the remainder of the evening. We met a group of backpackers and shared some laughs before getting minimal sleep for the train to Berlin.

Our final morning was spent in a quaint Pancake Cafe! I LOVE pancakes, and these ones hit the spot that morning. Heather and Britta shared a giant apple and cheese pancake, while Holly and I devoured a desert-like mocha, caramelized pancake with vanilla bean ice cream and powdered sugar. Don't tell me you're not jealous.

We'll be back to Amsterdam, no doubt!

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