Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Re-Post: Amsterdam Update

Original posted on: June 9th, 2004

Here's the first in a series of quick summaries. I'm realizing I can't rely on having pictures with my post and should just do quick written logs to keep you up to date. However we've got good internet access for the next few days, so if I can find the time, I'll try to bring everybody up to speed while including pictures. By the way we're in Bielefeld now with Karl's relatives and having an absolutely amazing time here. yes, about Amsterdam.

Two in a shoe
Two in a shoe

This one is a random pic, but one that I like. Peter and Kyla in a shoe... I don't really have much to add. It's from our first day in Europe... not quite a full day, so I'll call it day zero.

Day 1:

Our first full day in Amsterdam, Kyla, Karl and myself took off to the Heineken brewery

Heineken Bar 1
Sampling the product line

Here we are in "Bar 1" having our first round of beers. The brewery tour is pure entertainment and marketing, but does it look like we're complaining?

Carriage Ride
The "virtual" carriage ride.

We hold on tight for one of the "rides". The video screen shows you trotting around Amsterdam from the perspective of a horse-drawn carriage and the carriage shakes and sways. There's another ride as well were you pretend you're a beer bottle (just to give you an overview of the type of educational material you receive on the tour).

Heineken Bar 2 Panorama
Bar 2 Panorama

This is picture of Bar 2, the final bar. Here you get "two" free drinks.

The Americans
America's Ambassadors

The US army guys we met there, however, proved the looseness of that rule. The guy with the camouflage backpack has a dromedary pack in it (one of those plastic sacks you use for having "water" handy to drink when hiking) which the bartender let him fill up with beer. This made him an obvious crowd favourite as he walked around filling up his buddies' glasses. The army guys were based out of Germany and had many funny stories to tell. My favourite is the series of stories from the guy pictured on the far left of how he was always getting kicked out of Spain. These stories compounded by his disbelief at not being able to sneak into the country, "Come on, it's like getting into Mexico!", provided much hilarity.

Karl at the Rijks museam
Karl not drinking

To prove we also indulge in more cultured activities, here is a picture of Karl in the Rjiks Museum.

The HI Hostel
Returning to our hostel

Our hostel was situated right in the middle of the city and right along a canal. Here Kyla and I hike up to the hostel after one of our outings. (The hostel is the building with the light blue flag that's not fully unfurled).

Drunk Dutch brothers
The brothers

We always seem to meet interesting people on our travels and here are two very drunk, but funny, Dutch brothers who came and began talking to us (for what ended up being very long time). We were chatting on the bench in front of our hostel that overlooks the canal, quite peacefully I might add, when they arrived. Highlights from their visit include, the singing of "Heidi from the hills" in German (upon discovering that Karl and I could speak German). Them mistaking us for French more than once during our conversation (even though Karl and I can't speak a full sentence of passable French). The brother, who ran away to find cigarettes, excitedly telling us how he had to barter with the store owner to sell him the pack because the store was just closing and then promptly losing the pack in the canal.

Day Two:

We dropped of Kyla at the train station in the morning and then wandered along the streets looking at shops.

Eating Maneken Pis Brand Fries

Here I enjoy some fries with a curry pineapple mayonnaise. The shop is called Manneken Pis. Clicking on image brings up a larger image, wherein you may take a closer look at the logo and try to suceed, where we failed, at understanding Dutch marketing strategy.

Upon returning to our hostel, we found that a true blue American had taken Kyla's bunk. We hung out for the rest of the day, and he entertained us by using interchangeably the words "chill", "sweet" and "sketch" in every single sentence.

A brief excerpt from our first meeting:

American to the Swiss travelers in our room, "So where are you guys from?"
The Swiss, "Switzerland"
The American in a stoned surfer voice, "Oh, sweeeet!"
The Swiss, thinking he said Swede instead of sweet, "No, Swiss."
"Yeah, that's sweeeeeeet."
A little more indignant now, "We are from Switzerland, so we are Swiss."
"I know I just think that's sweeeeet."
Reiterate a few more times, at which point I jumped in and attempted explain "Sweet" to the Swiss.

And there you have it, our quick tour of Amsterdam.

Ed: Despite its length, this was a fairly quick post and skims over much of the details we experienced in Amsterdam. Probably the neatest thing about Amsterdam was the atmosphere, people walking and biking everywhere. To give you an idea, the train station had a three story bike parking garage that was over full.

Also, as this still one of my earlier posts, it is still very much point form summary to match potential pictures. Once we realized we couldn't post pictures and we got more used to travelling, the posts started to have more of a story telling aspect.

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