October 27, 2010

My Amsterdam Trip (Part 1)

It's crazy how fast my trip to Amsterdam came and went. And although the weather was cold and rainy, Amsterdam was truly a beautiful and exciting city to visit.

I had my notions on what it was going to be like, but Amsterdam was everything I DIDN'T expect it to be. The city is full of history, hospitable people and endless canals running through the streets.

I am going to make this blog post into a 3 part blog since I took so many pictures and want to share so many of them. Seriously, every two steps I took there was another breathtaking view. It was hard to keep my camera in my purse.

I'm also not going to write too much because the pictures speak for themselves and I'm still so jet lagged right now.

It took me a day and a half to pack everything and I only ended up using a third of my clothes and 3 of my ten pairs of shoes I brought with me. I don't care though because if I don't have different choices in wardrobe, I get really cranky.

We took a train to Amsterdam from the airport because taxis are absurdly expensive. I paid $70 for a 15 minute ride back to the airport. I think that the taxi companies should stop using only BMW's and Mercedes as their taxis and get their rates down ASAP.

Outside of the train station there was a sea of bikes. Bikes are Amsterdam's main source of transportation and they even have huge multi-story bike parking lots. What I found interesting was that a lot of the people don't lock their bikes down. And, instead of auto shops, there are bike shops at every corner.

When we first got to our hotel, our room wasn't ready so we walked around for a couple hours and explored the city streets.

Loved this charming little hookah seating area in a window sill. And YOU KNOW they aren't smoking tobacco in that thing.

I quickly learned that the city is full of canals. It's like a web of water throughout the city with its own transportation system. Quite beautiful really. Look closely and see the row of swans swimming around.

My eyes look super Asiany because of lack of sleep. Love my new Tahari trench that fit in perfectly with the city's style.

E.W. admiring the canals. I think he looks like a sexy model in this photo but he doesn't like it for some reason.

We stopped into a local pub to sample some real Dutch beer. I usually don't drink beer but it was pretty good. After drinking some good Dutch beer, watching some Rugby and chatting with the local bartender about how American football players are wimps for wearing all that padding, we started to get a sense of the city's atmosphere.

After a few refreshing beers we decided to check out the little shops around us. I bought a hat that they sell all over the city and many people wear them when its cold. I got a pink one that says Amsterdam on it. So touristy I know!

A bunch of Oldies intently gazing into a window of a psychedelic drug shop which we found very funny. We went in and almost bought Baby Hawaiian Wood Rose Seeds which are supposed to be a "natural LSD" but thank god we didn't. I later googled it and found out that the seeds make you violently ill followed by 6 hours of tripping and hallucinations similar to mushrooms and LSD. Surprisingly enough these seeds are legal to bring back to the US because they are all natural. They make you hallucinate by poisoning your body..thus the violent vomiting.

We passed by a Cannabis/Weed shop which didn't allow photos but I did snap a photo of the outside window. A few things you can see in this photo are Canna Biscuits, Cannabis club soda, joint cases, cannabis caramel candy, cannabis energizer drink, hemp lollies, hemp bud cookies, hemp chocolate, cannabis instant coffee and hemp bud tea.


Even the aliens get high in Amsterdam. But what's with the purse and turban dude?

Although bikes are the main transport in Amsterdam, Smart Cars are another popular option for cost effective travel. Is it just me or are these Smart Cars like half the size of ours? Looks like a clown car next to E.W.

After walking around for a couple hours we were starving having only ate airplane food in the past 15 hours. We stopped into our first pancake house (not IHOP folks). We ordered an English breakfast wich came with the works.

And we got a cheese pancake which is very different from the pancakes that we are used to. It's more like a thick crepe.

We ate and went back to our hotel room. E.W. had to go to work while I caught up on my much needed sleep.

For the next two days, E.W. had to work day and night so I had the opportunity to tour the city on my own. I was a little nervous at first but quickly learned that Amsterdam is a small city and very easy to navigate in.

My look for day 1. I'm wearing Roberto Cavalli sunglasses and a grey beret and scarf from Joyce Leslie.

And my look for day 2. Love the way my hair looks curled but so goddamn damaging.

During day 2 and 3 I cruised around the city visiting little mom and pop shops. Some of my favorites were the cheese shops. When you step in, the cheese aroma hits you in the face like a brick wall. It's so pungent yet comforting in a way.



Every two steps you take in Amsterdam, you are greeted by delicious displays of food for sale. It's a wonder how everyone in the city looks so thin with these displays taunting them daily. You can see the famous Dutch waffles on the bottom right. I now know that Dutch waffles are WAY better than Belgium waffles and miles better then our flimsy soggy US waffles.

One of the hundreds of coffee shops we passed by. More on my visit to a coffee shop in Part 2 of my blog!

Grabbed some quick lunch at a cafe. A bread loaf topped with baked cheese, onion, tomato, and something very very spicy! And a coffee to warm myself in the freezing weather.

I did some shopping in this mall that looks like a palace. Found a gorgeous sweater for E.W. but then looked at the price of 330 euros, which is equivalent to $462, and almost died. Found a much nicer sweater later for 70 euros ($98).

Adorable street near the hotel. I would love to live on a street like this. So quaint. And of course bikes everywhere and no cars.

A cannon pointing out into a canal. I wonder if it has ever been used?

There was a huge festival near the red light district that seemed to attract the most tourists. Even in 30/40 degree weather, people lined up to go onto the Ferris Wheel and other thrill rides.

A huge monument..not sure what it stands for exactly. But I got a Kodak moment when all of the pigeons flew above me as I snapped a photo.

They landed behind me and got uncomfortably close so I quickly snapped a photo and ran away.

Another beautiful street at night. Everything was just so picturesque!!

I have a 100 more photos to post which I will do in the next day or 2! In part 2 of my blog I will post my visit to Anne Frank's house, a coffeshop, and a sex museum.

Hope you are enjoying my little tour!

Bye :)

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John Suder said...

Great pics! What kind of camera did you use?
Hoping to get to Amsterdam soon.

Jewelz said...

Thanks John

A Sony Nex-3

David said...

Love and miss you Julie!!! I am glad you had a good time :) we need to hang out asap... stop slacking on me!

Jewelz said...

Call me Dave! You have my number :)