¡Viva España!

a semester abroad

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time for an update (1/2)

My time here is Madrid is rapidly coming to an end… In exactly weeks I will be making the trip back to Southern California and as much as I miss my family, I am already starting to miss Spain! I didn’t realize it was possible to miss something before it’s gone.

I guess this is probably a great time to update you all on everything thats been going on since it’s been about a million years since my last post! About 3 weeks ago I went to Amsterdam to meet up with Ellen and Katherine (both studying in Cork, Ireland). Obviously, this meant another trip to the airport by myself which was fine because I’ve gotten comfortable with the one here in Madrid. I flew Royal Dutch and got fed! Super exciting because airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair literally just get you from point A to point B with a seat that doesn’t recline and the entirety of their flights are one huge advertisement… like, NO I actually do not want to buy smokeless cigs or your dumb scratchers, but thanks anyway!

I landed in Amsterdam and I still had to make my way to the hostel, still by myself… I had to take a train and then a tram and I made it all on my own!!! I only had to ask 2 questions, this is a big deal because 1. I get really nervous doing things on my own unless it’s shopping, duh. and 2. I HATE asking questions. So needless to say, I was really proud of myself!!! I arrived at our hostel which I was very skeptical about because we booked at 10-person mixed room and if you’ve been following my posts, you know how much I absolutely grossed out I am by the hostel concept. I was not a fan of the man at the front desk but other than that, the room was fine! I think there was all guys in there besides me and Ellen (Katherine got “upgraded” to another room) but it didn’t matter because it was literally just a place to rest our heads at night. I called Ellen to let her know I had arrived and her and Katherine showed up about 30 minutes later (during which I managed to electrocute myself… awkward). They had been there all day and had already partaken in the liberal culture that Amsterdam is famous for, hehe…. We grabbed dinner at this place called Asian Kitchen and it was sooooooooo goooooood! I’ve missed food with flavor!  We made our way to the Van Gogh Museum. It was interesting but nothing to go into detail about because to be honest I found it a little boring. Later we grabbed some hot chocolate because it was really chilly out

Hot Chocolate and Cookies! a little blurry but you get the idea…

We made our way back to the hostel and called it an early night. Ellen and I got up early to go to the Anne Frank house. On our way we stopped at Starbucks and I was so happy to see that they had their holiday drinks! (At that point, Spain still hadn’t gotten them) We got there and only had to wait about 10 minutes which was great because everyone we knew who had planned on going had purchased their tickets beforehand online. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures inside but it was really interesting. I think was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was crazy that I was in the same rooms that Anne and her family hid in for 2 years! I never read her diary (in 8th grade, our teacher told us “Okay, I don’t think the boys want to read about some girl getting her period so we’re going to read Night by Elie Wiesel…” like um okay, cool lady. but whatever…) but after watching Freedom Writers I have a deep love and admiration for Miep Gies, the lady who helped hide them, her part in the movie makes me cry everytime! The families (Anne’s and one other family) had to keep shades drawn all day and keep as quiet as possible so that people on the bottom floor did not hear their footsteps. I would definitely recommend visiting if you ever stop by Amsterdam

Pictures from outside the Anne Frank House

After this lovely cultural experience we met up with Katherine to hopefully take a free walking tour of the city. When we got there the tour guides were very rude and straight up ignored Ellen when she tried to ask them a question. They told us people with reservations had priority which makes sense but we didn’t make reservations because Ellen was told (in another city that she took the a free tour through the same company) that making reservations was not ever necessary. Apparently in Amsterdam, a crowd of 30 people or more is considered a parade and therefore not allowed… We decided to get some bikes and explore the city while we waited for the second tour. This would have been a lot more fun for me if my legs were just an inch longer. I couldn’t touch the ground! So embarrassing and very uncomfortable. Other than that, it was really cute biking through the city! The people there use bikes as a legitimate form of transportation and they have these little carts that they put their kids in, its soo adorable! Amsterdam is such a gorgeous place, I really can’t get over it! It’s a very typical European city, like when I close my eyes and picture Europe this is what I picture: a city with canals running through, lovely architecture, sweet people, sun and crisp air. I really hope I can make it back here again! 

Of course, the second time slot for the tour was full as well so we decided to take advantage of the light hours (it got dark around 5p) and have a quick photoshoot at the I AMsterdam sign and later take part in some cultural activities. We took a quick spin around the Red Light District. It was still pretty early so it wasn’t poppin’ yet. It was really strange just seeing girls in full-length windows. If you want one, you literally just walk up and go in, close the curtain and do yo’ thang… barf. I kind of felt bad for some of the girls because they looked drugged out and it reminded me of Taken. We stopped at another delicious asian place for dinner called Wok to Walk (get it?) that Ellen’s big had visited last year and highly recommended. We didn’t stay out too late because we all had early flights the next day…

Very proud of this panoramic shot

What they cart their children around in 

Wok to Walk! They give it to you in a container so you can take it to-go

Filed under amsterdam the netherlands holland travel abroad spain anne frank bikes