Europe + Africa (All) Travel

Amsterdam y Cádiz

*Very overdue blogpost*

Amsterdam

This was my most highly anticipated trip. A trip to the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam… hell yeah! I safely got to Amsterdam after my time in Brussels and arrived at Bob’s Youth Hostel. What a time…… I stayed in a room with Jackie and Kelsey accompanied by 13 other girls and guys that I didn’t know. Were they German, English, American?? Who knows, no one wanted to talk in the poorly lit room with only lockers and beds lining the not-so-white white walls. Bob supplies you with a towel and locker if you’d like, for 6 euro total. He kindly has clean sheets ready on your bunk bed. If you want to stay at this hostel BRING FLIP FLOPS. I never want to see that bathroom ever again. I think I’ll start cleaning more when I get home after seeing that disaster, yuck!! On a positive note, the hostel is in a great location, it’s cheap, they give you free tea and coffee, and the lounge area is a good place to meet new friends.

I tried to google “city with the most museums”, but couldn’t find anything. However, I believe Amsterdam is the winner. We visited the Rijksmuseum, The Cheese Museum, The Sex Museum, and Tulip Museum. We tried to get into the Anne Frank House, but the line was hours and hours long (buy tickets far in advance, they sell out quick!).

The Rijksmuseum is Dutch national museum. It’s a huge museum, so it takes some time, but I highly advise taking the time to check it out. It’s interesting with many different styles of art such as a giant sculpture/painting creation of meat.  https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en

The Cheese Museum located across the street from the Anne Frank House. This is a tiny place where you walk around with free entrance and sample FREE cheese! And it’s delicious.

The Sex Museum was very strange, but at the same time interesting with an abundance of history on sex. It’s only 4 euro to get in and it only takes about 30-45 to go through the whole thing. I fell down the windy stairs in there and cut up my arm pretty bad, so be careful!

The Tulip Museum: I didn’t go to this one, I went to explore instead, but my friends dad and said it was awesome with lots of history about the tulip. Check it out, it’s right next to the Cheese Museum. Address:  Prinsengracht 116, 1015 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands

We wandered the streets at night looking for food like Wok food or anything sweet. The well-known Red Light District was a popular area to grab a bite to eat. The Red Light District is home to 300 rooms rented by prostitutes and it is always open for anyone to walk through. It is located in The Wallen and is the oldest part of Amsterdam. All of the buildings are literally lined with red lights. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. There are plenty of sex shops, shows, and a specific condom shop all over Amsterdam as well.

Some Background Info

“A major trading harbour since the Middle Ages made Amsterdam a magnet for the ‘world’s oldest profession’. As early as the 1300s, women carrying red lanterns (due to their flattering light) met sailors near the port, and bars, clubs and risqué entertainment venues flooded into the area. But prostitution wasn’t legal until 1810, and brothels weren’t legalised until 2000.

Changes continue: since 2007, city officials have taken measures to clean up the district by reducing the number of red-light windows in an effort to eliminate pimps, human traffickers and money launderers (all of which are illegal). Project 1012, named for the area’s postal code, encourages fashion studios, art galleries, cafes and other creative enterprises to set up here. In 2013, the council raised the minimum age for prostitutes from 18 to 21 and introduced mandatory red-light window closing hours between 6am and 8am.” -lonelyplanet.com 

The Lowdown on Marijuana in Amsterdam

  • Weed isn’t technically legal in the Netherlands, but it is highly tolerated. You can purchase and smoke cannabis in coffeeshops
  • There is a high concentration of marijuana in the Red Light District
  • It is illegal to sell/have weed and alcohol in coffeeshops
  • Never ask for hard drugs

Must Try: Stroopwafel aka the greatest, sweetest, teeth rotting creation I’ve ever had. Be careful, they’re addicting.

We got on a 1-2 hour boat cruise and the guide told us about some of the history of Amsterdam such as why the buildings are all leaning. They are all leaning and look like they may fall over soon because the soil underneath is very “weak” and it throws off the foundation of the buildings. There is a set of 6 blue buildings that have been reconstructed and morphed together and will fall if one is removed! I absolutely love the architecture in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is best known for the architecture along the 17th century canals and famous boat homes. It’s so beautiful on the canals, I was in love with it all- the colors, the shapes, the movement against the gray, cloudy sky.

What I do in Amsterdam: write random thoughts that don’t make sense

“I’m sitting on a box of pink tulips outside of the tulip museum watching people walk, motorbike, and bike by. Different languages, mostly English. Quiet. Tranquil. The silence is calming. To the right is a bell tower. The bells just went off, made me think of my dad. Then his grandmother. Content, but melancholy. Very cloudy and foggy about 48 degrees- very fitting and appropriate for how I feel right now. Barely any water movement in the river 5 feet across from me. Watched a man in a trench coat sit down and smoke a blunt. He didn’t sit for long. My eyes are stinging. Watching a kid around 6 years old try to take a selfie with the bell tower. He’s up to 7 attempts. (11:11, 3/24/2016)”

I really enjoyed Amsterdam and wish I had more time there to see and learn more. When you visit, watch out for bikers, they’re everywhere!



Cádiz (Round 2)

The first time in Cadiz for Carnaval was not the best 12 hours of my life… But I went back with César a couple weeks ago because he is from there and it was the greatest trip! Cádiz is about an hour train rain from Seville. César and I went for the weekend and I got to meet his mom and stepdad. OMG, his mom is the cutest thing ever. She’s trying to learn English, but César only wanted me to talk to her in Spanish because I clearly need practice. I didn’t have warm enough clothes one of the nights to go out and she brought me into her room and pulled out scarves, boots, and socks for me. Literally so sweet especially when that was the first time I ever met her.

We walked around Cádiz for hours as he showed me San Fernando, the beaches, restaurants, and other things that he likes such as the giant tree and the Cathedral. We tried to see the Castillo de San Sebastian,  but we got there right when it was closing 😦 This castle is at the end of La Caleta beach on an island separated from the main city of Cadiz. I’m for sure going back before I leave Spain to try to see it again (you should too!!). The Cathedral de Cadiz is stunning. It was on my list of top 5 cathedrals I’ve seen. After walking around inside for a bit, we climbed the twisty turny, steep stone stairs all the way to the top to overlook the city. What a view! 

I could even see cien montaditos from the roof….. not a place I wished to see a second time (It’s a joke, una broma– shoutout to my Sevilla friends)

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The morning before we left to head back to Seville, César took me to his cousin’s petstore that he owns. Of course I got nervous and struggled with speaking in Spanish… it’s a daily struggle with me! You should see me when César’s roommates girlfriends come over to their house. I freeze up like crazy! “Hola, que tal?! ahhh vale” is basically all that comes out of my mouth. Seriously addison (Insert serious emoji face here), c’mon. One of the girls is a really good cook, too. She was cooking tuna, shrimp, veggies, and some other tasty things, which intimated me even more because me and the kitchen aren’t exactly on the same page yet… oops!!! But, hey I was able to whip out some bombass tortellini that I successfully boiled correctly for 8 minutes.

Alright, alright lets get back to my weekend in Cádiz

We sat on the beach for awhile and watched the waves and I saw one person surfing. The water is still a little cold. César made fun of my apple watch for a minute by throwing his in the sand and claiming that it is indestructible. I grabbed a shell and wrote my favorite saying in the sand…

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Today, Ashbey headed to a new temporary home and this is another reminder that “you are more”. Keep that in mind even on bad days, sis. This is my constant, never changing message to you.

“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but to just let us feel that we are cared for and supported”

I am very lucky I got to go to a quaint and beautiful beach town for a weekend with a great guy! Next time you’re in Seville, I 10/10 recommend taking a day trip to Cádiz, España. Gracias, César 🙂

 

 

1 comment on “Amsterdam y Cádiz

  1. Becky Garner

    Terrific to hear from you again ! I also loved Amsterdam but wished I could spend a lot more time there. So glad you are finding your balance after the bad stuff has passed. Writing ,as you know, can be so cathartic, I’ m guessing you have been asked to avoid some obvious subjects. Keep up the good work .A physical therapist I know tells me we only learn balance
    by falling or nearly falling…, Grandma

    Like

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