The day after my last final in Madrid (cue tears), I had an early flight to Amsterdam to meet my mother at the start of our European adventure! We were going to be spending the next couple days in Amsterdam to begin our experience. I was extremely excited because 1) haven’t seen my momma in over 4 months and 2) Amsterdam was one of the #1 places on my bucket list to visit and wanted to none other visit with my mom!
After I landed, I took a cab to meet my mom at our hotel and immediately settled into my first housing on a travel trip that wasn’t a hostel (THANK THA LORD). We also had a walking tour scheduled so after I freshened up, we walked over to the meeting spot.
Our walking tour consisted of walking through the Red Light District, a bit of the Jewish Quarter, talked a lot about the canals and architecture of the houses in the city, and sampled some Dutch cheese and took a shot of gin. The Red Light District is interesting, but interesting because prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, the girls pay taxes! It’s a legitimate job, maybe not everyone’s first choice of a career, but definitely legit. During the time we walked through, most of the girls were on a lunch break because they were eating some to-go meals in their rooms, still in their outfits and up for business. There was also a church right in the middle of the area which I found ironic, apparently, back in the olden days, sailors would make a visit in the RLD and then go to church to make up to God for their sins.
Halfway through our tour we sampled some Dutch cheeses which were DELICIOUS #YUMX9750839420. I was also starving and the only meal I had throughout the day was a croissant at the airport so the cheese was necessary. We also took a shot of gin at the cheese shop because why not. When there was probably 10 minutes left of the tour, my mom and I ditched the group because we were a tad bored and found a place to sit for awhile since we hadn’t took a break to sit in over two hours (life is hard).
We later both took naps at the hotel, freshened up for dinner and found a nice restaurant to fill our hungry bellies. We ate at a fondue restaurant called Cafe Bern, which was absolutely delicious! We enjoyed cheese and meat fondue (with some wine of course, this was my first time having a drink LEGALLY with mommy dearest). After dinner, we called it a night and went to bed after we got back to the hotel.
The next morning we got up super early because we had tickets to the Anne Frank House at 9:30am. I was very excited for this portion of our Amsterdam trip because I have always been fascinated and interested in Holocaust history, especially the story of Anne Frank. It was a self-guided tour so we watched clips and read the interesting facts and story about Anne’s life before she went into hiding-that was the museum part. Once we walked through the bookcase, that’s when everything felt surreal because we were actually walking through the rooms where the 8 members of the Secret Annexe lived for two years. To this day, no one knows who the actual person(s) were who told the Nazis that the families were in hiding at that location. After we finished going through the rooms, the tour ended with showing THE real diary of Anne Frank (enclosed in a glass case of course to preserve it) and her notebooks continuing her story. After she completed the original diary, she had then wrote short stories and had also rewritten parts of her diary entries because she had always wanted her diary to be published into a book. Little did she know then that her diary is one of the most read pieces of literature in the whole world and was translated into 60 different languages. I bought a copy.
Once we left the Anne Frank House, it was raining. JOY. We also had no umbrellas so we quickly found a nearby cafe for breakfast. We also schmyed around some boutiques and took a rest at our hotel room to wait for the rain to stop. We later headed back outside and made our way to the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam. The museum had a temporary exhibit about Amy Winehouse so we obviously took a spin around that learning about her life. Prior to this, I didn’t know that she was Jewish, but had always loved her music so it was interesting to learn about her jewish roots. This traveling exhibit was put on by her brother and he included many pieces of the Winehouse family history, clips of Amy’s early singing career, some famous outfits she wore, one of her Grammys, and her audition essay to get into the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. The exhibit also ended with a live performance video of her singing “Back to Black” in concert. Such amazing talent, she is surely still missed. After the exhibit, mom and I walked around the museum learning about Dutch Jewish history from the 1600s to the early 19th century, during and after the Holocaust, and modern day Jewish life in the Netherlands.
After the museum, my mom and I had tickets to the Amsterdam Ice Bar, sounds cool! We entered into the pirate themed bar, put on coats and gloves they gave us and were served nuetella vodka shots in glasses made of ice. To be completely honest, we are didn’t spend more than 6 minutes in the actual “ICE” bar and instead scadaddled and spent some time in the room temperature bar*
ANYWHOSIES, after we left our cold butts at the Ice Bar, we headed back to the hotel, changed, and then made our way to a cute Dutch restaurant for dinner. We enjoyed some nice Dutch food and later made our way to a bakery and got some sweets to go. Again called it night after our pastry run because we had a long day. I guess it’s acceptable to go to bed before midnight when you travel with mom.
We slept in the next morning and checked out of the hotel since it was going to be our last day in Amsterdam. We grabbed some breakfast at this cute organic restaurant, after two attempts at other places being full when we looked up places to eat on Yelp. After our meal, we decided to try out the public transportation in Amsterdam. If trying out means that we jumped onto tram, not knowing at first where to pay for a ride, and stayed on until we got off, then yes we did that. Our last stop was at the Heineken Experience! The whole time spent at the brewery was super fun and really was an “experience”. A big recommendation for anyone in Amsterdam because you learn all about the history of Heineken beer and how they brew it. At the end, we also learned how to pour our own glass (plus receiving a new certificate to place on the Rodriguez Wall of Fame for being an “official pourer”) and learned to properly drink a beer (did you know there was a proper way?).
After our few hours spent at the Heineken brewery, we hopped back onto the tram (illegally like last time…maybe…) and headed back to the hotel. Since we still had some time to kill before we could make our way to the train station, we stopped at a genuine coffee shop a few doors down from the hotel.
After enjoying our last Amsterdam experience, we arrived at the train station and got on the train for our next European destination: Paris! Stay tuned for more posts continuing the Adventures of Nikki and Susie in Europe 2k16.
*Susie now wishes she had snuck some ice from the bar into her purse and saved for future visits to restaurants on the duration of our trip. Anyone who knows my mother, Susie Rodriguez, she cannot have a cup of water (or anything really) without AN EXTRA glass filled entirely with ice. In Europe, ice simply isn’t a thing and everything is lukewarm. We look like absolute tourists x1000 when she asks for water ~*WITH ICE*~ and the servers gives her weird looks. We once had a server bring one ice cube. Simply not to my mother’s satisfaction and she asked three more times for ice. Oh Momma Rod…