15 October, 2013

Amsterdam + Zaanse Schans: 5 to 6 October, 2013

CICE Voyages (a travel organisation for students in the North of France) had a trip to Amsterdam for only 45 Euros, so I invited my German friend Laura to come with me. She brought along Beatrix for more fun! The CICE bus left Lille at 7am, so I had to get up at like 5am since the meeting place is an hour away from my place. I had just come back from Brussels the night before, and I was dead tired, so I was like a zombie the next morning.

The CICE bus we were on had two floors, with a bathroom on the lower floor. Apparently, it smelled really bad…I didn’t really realize since I was asleep the whole entire time on the bus (to and from Holland).

The first stop of the trip was at Zaanse Schans, a windmill village, which is just outside Amsterdam.

Zaanse Schans has cute little musuems that have free entrance (but all have exits that can only be accessed through the gift shop ;) ). There were also workshops for clogs and cheese making.

Since we were in Holland, we had a stroopwafel! Us three shared a giant one dipped in chocolate!! Yummmmy!!

Beatrix <3 stroopwafels

Laura, Beatrix, et moi

We then made sure to get to the bus on time, or else we would have had to find a way to Amsterdam on our own!!

When we got to Amsterdam, the CICE “tour guide” led us to an Amsterdam tourist office. She gave us this booklet that had discounts on museum entrances and stuff. So at that office we got ourselves discounted boat cruise tickets and Van Gogh Museum tickets (that were mysteriously not discounted…hmmm).

We hopped on a tram to get to the VG Museum since it closes early on Saturdays. A little comment on Amsterdam trams: they are scary!!!!! They're so fast and jerky!! If you don’t hold on, you might die. Haha!

We were able to arrive at the Museum in one piece, however, thank God. 


One of my favorite Van Gogh paintings of all time
The museum had four floors, with hundreds of Van Gogh's paintings and sketches. We were so tired by the third floor. :P

We then went back to the center of Amsterdam to catch the boat cruise!

One of the coolest boat houses in the canals of Amsterdam

It was starting to get dark after the boat cruise, and we were getting hungry, so I consulted the TripAdvisor Amsterdam app, which directed us to a Dutch restaurant near Centraal station...so we walked...and walked...and walked...but the restaurant was not there!! So we just went back to the center and went in the first restaurant we could find. We agreed on this Indian restaurant, which turned out to be one of the greatest finds of the day! Best Indian food evaaar!

According to our maps, our restaurant was in the vicinity of the Red Light District, so after dinner, we were determined to go there on our own without consulting the maps. The walk was much needed, as we ate so much.

After passing by people determined to get high and bizarre shops such as the one above, we finally stumbled upon the Red Light District. The experience was very...different. Not so very attractive women dressed in their underwear chilling behind their window, hoards of men staring intently at them, me giggling.

After that, we bought some souvenirs *wink* which we ate and used the same night. Then we went in a karaoke bar, and us three girls sang My Humps! Hahaha!

One of the MANY "coffee shops" in Amsterdam

How to weed
 Our bus was set to leave at 3am, so we finished what was left of our souvenirs, and waited.

It was a great weekend!

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