Saturday, May 31, 2014

Travel Day

Travel day really is travel dayS especially once the airline starts delaying flights. Heaven forbid the airline do the delaying ahead of time instead of waiting until I've just sat down at the gate. It's rude. 

She was my good luck charm at the counter. 

I won't even get into the flight. Let's just say a baby and an isle seat ensured I would get little sleep. Also my seat mate was watching videos of math solutions. It was strange. 

Luckily, I got on a flight to Amsterdam instead of flying into Paris and taking a train to Utrect. Since I was arriving in AMS way earlier than expected, I decided to pop on the train to Amsterdam Centraal and enjoy the city. After translating the directions for the locker and stuffing my bag inside, I set out. 

Walking out of the train station was uplifting. I felt home again. Well, kind of. It felt familiar at least and that was comforting. 

My first destination, the Red Light District. No, I didn't go to a coffeehouse, but enjoyed plenty of secondhand smoke as well as the girls in the windows advertising their wares. As I pass more windows it becomes obvious that the daytime is discount hour... Let's just say their 'wares' we're a little more used up lol

Heading slightly to the west, all the while patting myself on the back for remembering my way around, I end up at the Dam. 

I quick snap a touristy photo before heading to Rembrandtplein via the shopping street Damstraat. Okay here I gotta little turned around but it was fine because I walked through the Bloemenmarkt on Singel. 

The market is in the little greenhouses over the water. 

Detour aside I made it! By now I'm starving and really want a pannekoeken. Mmmm with apples and cinnamon. Or ham and cheese. Can't decide. I meander the square and don't see anyplace that serves them. 

I do find Paige's bar of choice back during her study abroad. 

Begrudgingly I settle for a café with an empty chair in a shaded corner. It's hot and so sunny I can't see my iPhone screen. #firstworldproblems. I glance at the menu and realize I've sat at the Haagen Dazs café which means my options for food are ice cream.... Or ice cream. I settle for a Heineken ;) naturally. 

Obligatory FaceTime to mom assures her than I'm alive. My beer on a (nearly) empty stomach makes her worried and she encourages me to get food ASAP. I know she's right but I don't wanna get uuuuuup -_- I remember that Paige mentioned her favorite place to get croquet was off a small street nearby so we FaceTime and she gives me directions. I tear myself away from my lifeline, aka wifi, and walk to VanDobbens, known for its croquet. The place is jammed packed with old guys who look like they've spent. Post afternoons on that red stool sidled up to the counter. 

For Lunch, Croquette on bun with mustard. It hit the spot. 

From here I walk up back towards Centraal but this time I want to go on the west side. The canals and architecture are beautiful and usually less crowded with tourists. It was still busy because it was such a beautiful day but nothing too ridiculous. I have time, so I sit on the canal wall and watch the boats go by, envious because they're lounging on their boat with a beer through the canals of Amsterdam. It seemed very glamorous. 

I think I'm going to have to take an unfortunate amout of selfies on this trip #solotravelersproblems

I know the Anne Frank House is very near my 'seat' by the parking spaces, as you can see above, which means I must get my picture taken by the statue of Anne Frank. I have every year that I've been to Amsterdam. 

Then I am entertained by a solid 30 minutes watching what I can only assume is the filming of a children's show? 

It's hard to see but there is a small boat to the left with camera people and a director shouting instructions. It kept almost getting squashed by big boats filled with tourists who, like me, loved this guy. 

Tiny crooked house. 

Back at Centraal, I collect my bag and get on the train to Utrect. 

Side view of Amsterdam Centraal. 

My cousin, Gerben, picks me up at the Utrect station and takes me to his house is Elst which is about 30 minutes away. The whole car ride 17 month old Matteo is looking at me very suspiciously from behind his car seat like "who is this and What. Is. She. Saying". I won him over with tickles and peek-a-boo. 

We arrive at the farm and he and his wife, Petra, make me dinner and turn me into the babysitter. 

Elora doesn't care that I speak English as long as I continue feeding her carrots and stop taking selfies.

I hadn't been too tired all day but after a shower I feel human again and am ready to collapse into bed.