Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Amsterdam, Part 1

Day 8, Amsterdam

Our last day in America came and went. This was the day we were going to fly overseas to run around Europe with nothing, but a song in our hearts and a twinkle in our eyes... it's a bummer I can't sing and my eye twinkle was a little crusty, but Shana was looking as beautiful as ever. As we said goodbye to Jace and thanked him for everything, we also wished him good luck on his quest to find a decent burrito on the east coast. It's the small things you really miss about where you're from.
We got to the airport two and a half hours early. Turns out international flights are easier to get on than Southwest flights and we got through security in about 8 minutes. Figures. As we were herded in like cattle to our flight row by row it hit me, "We're finally on our way to a place where nobody knows our name. Where nobody gives a damn if we came." As plane number one took off I could see the excitement in Shana's eyes. It was mainly masked behind sheer terror (Shana isn't a fan of taking off, or landing, or turbulence, or airplane bathrooms, or breathing in the same recycled air for hours, but other than those things she doesn't mind flying), but it's there. We were getting close to landing but the sun had not yet set, even though its was close to eleven o'clock at night. 
After departing the plane we had 8 hours to kill in the Iceland airport before we hopped on plane number two. It was strange to us that most of the shops were still open even though it was midnight local time. We quickly grabbed some high quality human fuel ('Cool American' flavor Doritos, and a bag of french fries) and decided what we were to do with ourselves for the next seven and a half hours. Sleeping wasn't an option due to us not being tired. We took turns playing candy bean game (the real name of the game has been left out due to copyright purposes and I don't think anymore people need to be playing this highly addictive game), editing photos and we both finished our books. As we looked around we noticed we were the only ones in the airport. It had a horror (harr-rah) esk feel to it. The silence of it all was powerful and terrifying. I couldn't tell you how we spent the last couple of hours in the airport, but I do remember making it on the second plane. When we boarded, our plan was to sleep on the flight to regain some energy so we could be semi-productive our first day in Amsterdam. Shana took the window seat and I, the middle. Sleeping on a plane is hard enough, but sleeping in the middle seat is more of a game than actual sleep. You have to think about not falling over on the person next to you, relaxing enough to actually sleep, all while making sure your body is in the upright & fully-locked position. After what seemed to be forever we arrived in Amsterdam. 
We arrived at the airport and a short journey later we arrived at our bus. We checked to make sure what stop to get off on. After our bus trip we ran around trying to find the hotel. Ten minutes later, and a helpful hotel concierge (not our own of course), we had made it. 
After dumping our stuff off at the room we were ready to search for food. We wanted to get some local fare, but as we walked down the streets it seemed like every restaurant was either Tex Mex, pizza, Italian, Greek, Argentinean, or even McDonald's. We spotted a Febo. Shana had heard about this place somehow. It was essentially a hot food vending machine. Shana had purchased the equivalent of a breaded deep friend mash potato log. It was tasty as it sounds. We were in need of coffee. We only had two hours of sleep in the last thirty or so hours. The closest shop we could find was a local mom and pop place called "Stahrbuucks". The caffeine had set in and we were able to use their wifi to find a grocery store. We planned to have bread and cheese in Vondelpark. Bread and cheese will be a reoccurring theme in this blog, you've been warned. We picked up a fresh baked baguette and freshly sliced goat cheese and managed to stumble upon Vondelpark. The park reminded us of Deloris Park in San Francisco. After people watching and our marvelous cheese and bread, we trudged back to the hotel with full bellies in much need of a good nights rest. 

Day 9, Van Gogh & Heineken

Oh sleep, how we missed you so. Breakfast was on the leaner side due our purging of money. We needed to get back on our travel budget and by 'back on' I mean actually start. The day started off at the Van Gogh Museum. 
As we arrived there was already a line forming to get in. The museum was amazing. There were a lot of pieces I've only seen in books. Our favorite by far was the smoking skeleton. As we exited the museum we took a gander at the gift shop and found a bin of mutilated ears to be a rip off at 6 euros each. If it were a silicone based ear sure, but styrofoam?
After using all the carbs we'd been storing by looking at paintings, it was time to recharge. We walked across the park and found a place that made fresh stroopwaffles. I'm glad we don't know the recipe to this amazing treat because it would be our new main source of no-trients (faux-trients if you will). This was also to coat our stomachs with something because we were on our way to the Heineken Experience. 
Overall the self guided tour was pretty good. We learned some stuff about beer and how Dave Heineken traded his cows for some beans to grow yeast, but the wizard stole his water and he had to fight a giant. Did I mention you get free beer on this tour? Our favorite true (for reals) fact we learned is that the Heineken delivery horses get to go on vacation once a year. 
Due to all the  streets being the same fourteen consonants and eight vowels we got a little lost on our way back. It was cool though, Shana kept it together and only lost it twice in the three minutes we didn't know where we were. 
We headed back to Vondelpark to eat picnic style once again and people watched until we couldn't fit anymore bread and/or cheese in our faces. 
After packing up and getting ready for our two week farm expedition, we turned on the TV to find only 3-4 channels that were in english. That was about 3-4 more than expected. The "best" of them was unfortunately MTV. They had two shows on that were borderline unwatchable. I never knew human beings could be so awful. The names of these shows were "The Valleys" and "Geordie Shore". They made Jersey Shore look like Fraggle rock.
Next up on our adventure is traveling to Veenhuizen to work on a farm for two weeks.  Hopefully it will be like farming hair, because I'm really good at that OR hopefully we'll be on a puppy and video game farm with free booze. We'll let you know.

Alone in the airport

Jerrad's everywhere

Fun texture

I wanted to touch it

More textures

Stroopwaffle yum

For Dr. brother

Some Heineken photo ops

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