Amsterdam!

I had my second week of classes. On Tuesday, we had another Intercambio where we met up with other exchange and Spanish students to go to bars for Tapas. (In Spain, when you get any beverage besides water, you get a free appetizer type plate). The first place was fairly typical- potatoes and eggs. The second, however was amazing. For €2.50 (a little more than $2.50), we got a drink and basically a whole plate of rice and a chicken drumstick. It’s called La Peruana (The Peruvian) and not only was cheap but super tasty. Besides talking more with people in my program, I met a student from Germany who had studied in the US, along with a Spanish student. On Thursday, right after class, I got on a bus to Malaga to fly out to Amsterdam.

Another student from my program was on the same bus and flight and a nearby hotel. Unfortunately talking was like pulling teeth, but fortunately, by splitting the taxi, I saved about $25.

When I was almost at the hostel, I got a text from Mehra asking where I was. She came to surprise me (especially because it was Valentine’s Day) at the airport but I missed her.

Check-in took almost an hour because the group ahead of me had probably 20 people and they were paying one by one. Then, everyone was asleep in the 6-bunk room so I couldn’t find the pillow or comforter. I had my travel pillow and piled clothes on top of me but the next two nights were better once I found them in a bin under the beds.

We (Mehra and I) had gf Dutch pancakes for breakfast, gf avocado toast for lunch, salted chocolate gf cake, and gf pizza for dinner.

We walked over 11 miles (20,000+ steps) and saw the Fault in our stars bench, the outside of the Anne Frank House and Rijksmusem, the red light district (I guess good that we went but super weird and uncomfy. Also it’s only a street, not a “district” like I was expecting). We also saw the Eye (a modern building that shows movies), the ferry, Mehras apartment (single room with own bathroom, double bed), lots of canals and bikes, and other stuff. It was so cool to see these things, especially after my favorite movie and book, The Fault in Our Stars, and wanting to come here because of it for years.

We met a girl from Ireland who was celiac and told us about that best GF food.

In my hostel room that night I met a girl from Australia who was traveling around Europe (and the US) for a gap year. We had the (subpar) hostel breakfast together before I met up with Mehra to go to the Moco, the museum of modern art. Banksy was featured, although obviously without his permission.

Afterwards, we went to a giant flea market with over 500 venders in a warehouse. We took the ferry to get there (which is free) and met some Canadian abroad students, one located in Amsterdam and one visiting for the weekend (like me) but from France.

It was cold and we were tired and the day was getting late as we started towards a restaurant that the Irish girl had recommended when we stumbled on a café in the train station. I had hot, pumpkin-y soup, a GF sandwich with cheese and turkey, hot tea, and a GF merengue cake. So good, especially to warm us up. We continued onto the restaurant we were intending to go to (which was supposed to have good desserts but we were unimpressed by how they looked, so left for another bakery instead). There, I got an almond cupcake with buttercream frosting and chocolate loaf with Carmel drizzle. We ate cupcakes on the side of a canal, watching the boats and ducks and swans.

I took a nap at Mehras apartment before we went in search of dinner. The place we were trying to go because they had GF lasagne told us they “were out of food” which is weird because that’s literally their only job to provide sustenance, but oh well. It took us a while of walking to find a place, a sort of bar, where we had burgers. Next we met up with Mehras friends from the same program. All of them were sweet and charming and easy to talk to (take notes, tooth-pulling-conversationalist).

That night the people in my hostel room were from Brussels who all spoke French and English. One also spoke Spanish and Chinese. Another Hungarian and one more language. And I thought I was cool for speaking 2.

I met up with Mehra and her friends for breakfast the next day- scrambles eggs with Parmesan and truffle oil (yum) tea and hot cocoa (because we were outside and it probably wasn’t outside weather). Mehra took me to the airport so I wouldn’t get lost and we said goodbye 😦 . I slept the entire 3ish hours back, got my bus wrong but the other driver was going to where I was supposed to be so he thankfully drove me there.

To top off the trip, when I got home the hot water was broken (luckily fixed in the morning). But I was glad for my own bed, where I had no trouble finding blankets or sheets or sleep.

PHOTOS:

VAN GOGH MUSEUM

CANAL AT NIGHT

GF CUPCAKES OVERLOOKING THE CANAL

THE GIANT FLEA MARKET

THE RIJKSMUSEUM

THE MOCO MUSEUM

FAMOUS BANKSY PAINTING/GRAFFITI

BANKSY PAINTING

THE SLOTH MEHRA GOT FOR VALENTINES DAY

ME “BABYSITTING” aka CARRYING THE SLOTH IN MY JACKET

ANOTHER CANAL AT NIGHT

THE EYE

GF AVOCADO TOAST

AMSTERDAM BOAT IN A CANAL

PICS ON THE TFIOS (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) BENCH

THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE, after renovation

GF DUTCH PANCAKES

ANOTHER CANAL

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