I know I have taken a long hiatus from writing, and for this I apologize! I have been taking some time to take advantage all the activities I can do in Madrid and have tried to stay busy these past few weeks :) That being said here are the updates!
A few weekends ago, my roommate Megan and I went to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam and a friend of hers who lives in Rotterdam. We arrived to the train station and left our luggage in the lockers to pick up while we explored. As we dropped off our stuff, we noticed a huge sign saying “TOURISTS! Be cautious when buying cocaine off of people on the street. There has been a problem with tourists accidentally buying WHITE HEROIN and misusing it, causing several tourist deaths and hospitalizations.” Welcome to Amsterdam……
The first thing we did was eat some incredible Dutch pancakes which were huge, thick, crepes, that we chose to fill with savory items. Delicious. Next stop was the Anne Frank House. Everyone knows her story, and most of us have had to read her diary at school. It was extremely humbling to walk through her attic hide-away and try to imagine living in one space for 2 years. It was left empty by request of Otto Frank, who was the only survivor out of the 8 people who hid in the attic. If you get the chance to go to Amsterdam, I highly recommend going.
Afterwards we walked around a bit more, enjoyed a few Belgian beers, caught the train to Rotterdam, to stay with Marinte, a friend of Megan´s from college. The next day Marinte took us around Rotterdam on bikes (of course!) and we got to see a Holland flea market and sample lots, and lots. of cheese! The Netherlands have an interesting reputation, everyone knows about weed being legal and the Red Light district still being an active part of the city. But what people don´t always say is how beautiful the landscape is and how quaint the streets and buildings are. Or how much cheese there is! Megan is from Wisconsin, so she was in heavennnn and we checked a bag on the way back to make sure we had enough room for all HER cheese. They were delicious!
We spent one more day in Amsterdam before we caught our flight back home, and we just walked around the streets, enjoyed the beer and food. We walked to the Rijksmuseum, but didn´t have time to go through it, we just marvelled at the beautiful scenery and were tourists! We also did get a chance to check out the Red Light District...it was odd, because it was actually in a beautiful area of town. But of course filled with sex shops, scantily clad women in windows, and many groups of tourists walking through the streets, trying to look interested in the history behind district.
I enjoyed it more than I anticipated, and it was more beautiful than I expected as well. If I get the opportunity to go back, I definitely will!