Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hanging out in the police station is awesome!

This past weekend we went to Amsterdam and Brussels!! Originally we were planning on spending Friday & Saturday night in Amsterdam and Sunday & Monday in Brussels (yes, we were going to miss school!) But after we bought the tickets we found out that we had to be in class on Monday...so we ended up only being in Brussels for the day, but it was still fun!

Our train left early Friday morning from Angers. We had to take the 6:03am bus to get to the train station and one of the girls missed the bus. Long story short-she had to take a later train to Paris and a different one to Amsterdam, but she ended up making it to Amsterdam 45 minutes after the rest of the group. Kim and I got Starbucks at the train station in Amsterdam! It was the first time I've had it since I've been here and it was delicious!! :)

Kim and I decided to get IAmsterdam cards because we wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum and do a couple things the other girls didn't want to do. For the price of the card you get free transportation, free entrance to a ton of museums, a free canal cruise, and discounts on a lot of places. We checked into our hostel which was a very cozy suite with three bunkbeds! lol We were lucky enough to walk past some "red lights." The hostel wasn't in the redlight district, but that night we realized there were about 6 buildings on our street with red lights in the windows haha. After checking into the hotel we went to the Heineken Factory. (Kim & I got 25% off our tickets!) I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it ended up being a lot of fun (and beer was included!) On the way there we found the infamous IAmsterdam sign so of course we had to take some pics...

After the Heineken tour we grabbed a bite to eat for dinner and then went on a canal cruise. It was so pretty going at night and seeing all of the buildings lit up! I loved it!
Saturday we all got up early and headed to the Anne Frank House. It was surreal being there...I just couldn't believe I was actually there. I'm so glad I went though, it was really neat. Kim & I separated from the group and went to the Van Gogh museum. The line was really long to buy tickets, but we had our IAmsterdam cards so we got to pass the line! The museum was awesome, it was fun seeing so many of his paintings in one building! We grabbed lunch at this cute place called Bagel & Beans. There are no bagels in France, so it was exciting having a bagel lol...but it was this cute little coffee shop (not the "coffee shops" where you can smoke) that was really tasty! I got a fresh juice smoothie and a bagel with cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, tampenade, pesto, and pine nuts..delicous! After lunch we went to the Rijksmuseum. It's a collection of Dutch artwork, dollhouses, silverware, statues, etc...it was actually really cool! Of course I don't have any pics from it though since camera's aren't allowed in the museum. Kim and I then went on a search for some type of birthday cake for Katie. Her 22nd birthday was on Sunday, but we celebrated Saturday night. We ended up getting what looked like a huge twinkie from this candy shop..it was the best we could find! It actually was pretty good though! We sang happy birthday to her in the hostel room and made a toast with some champagne...but since we are SO classy we drank the champagne out of plastic water bottles. haha it's all we had, and it worked out just fine!
We went to dinner at this pancake house. We heard about these pancakes that we had to try while we were there. They had sweet and savory options and it was about a foot in diameter. Kim and I shared the Italian pancake and the Tropical pancake (they were both savory). The food was great, but the service was horrible..the woman running the place was so rude! We headed back to the hostel after dinner, before heading out to the redlight district for Katie's birthday.

These are the red lights that inform you of the street you're about to walk on...and to let you know that you can't take any pictures past it! lol
Sunday (after a couple hours of sleep) we headed to Brussels! We were all exhausted when we got on the train and fell asleep immediately. When I woke up I looked up at the luggage rack above us and noticed my backpack was missing. I did a double-take and then didn't really know what to do. I told Kim that my backpack was gone and once the other girls realized what had happened they immediately took their luggage off the racks and put it on their seats. lol Luckily I was holding my purse while I was sleeping which had everything that I needed (passport, credit cards, id's, money, camera, flip camera, and ipod) I was just in shock that someone took my bag, but luckily Kim was there! A woman who worked on the train walked by and once Kim told her what happened she directed us to the front of the train to talk to someone else. He told me to file a police report when we got to Brussels. He also said that that would be the only time I got my stuff stolen..."it only happens once." I believe him! I went from shocked-->upset-->mad-->oh well! shit happens! I could have easily let it ruin my day, but I was in Brussels! I wanted to have fun! Kim came with me to the train station to file a report. I know I won't get it back, but at least I did something about it. I joked about it a couple times during the day. The girls were complaining that their backs hurt from carrying their backpacks and I said "you must be so jealous of me!" haha :)

Brussels was fun :) We had waffles, bought way too much chocolate, and enjoyed the beautiful city for several short hours.
Grand' Place

Manneken-Pis: naked little boy peeing (the statue is literally 1 ft tall)
It's supposed to be very symbolic to Brussels.
There were many tourists there taking pictures!

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