Going to change up the style here and make the journal entry in italics. Hope that doesn't confuse y'all.
Overslept and missed breakfast :-( Got up and walked over to the Rijksmuseum - passed a fashion week display. Tons of paintings, sculptures, Van Gogh, Hague students, etc. Bit overwhelming! Then to the supermarket for bread, turkey, cheese, and stroopwaffels - caramel waffle cookies. Back to the hostel where we cooked the bread and toasted sandwiches with soda and Doritos. Quick break in the room then off past Rembrandtplein (street artists!) and to a market. Bought a pin, but they were all closing up shop at 5pm. Wandered back to R.plein and bought some postcards on the way. Now off to buy a some street art (I decided that my souvenirs for myself this trip, other than pins, would be art created by locals if at all possible.) Went to Amstel dam square for our red light district tour - chose to go with the rated R tour guide "Lee" with bright red dyed hair. Pretty entertaining and more info about the district - project 1012 making it more family friendly, different streets have different types of women, tried men in windows but it worked too well, etc. Stopped for a 2 euro peep show (on the tour!) Followed the guide to Durty Nelly's Irish Pub. Sat and made friends there for awhile. Nathan had some tasty Somersby cider. Met some nice Canadians and a few Irish as well. Then they went to Casa Rosso sex show and we walked home - stopping for Frozz frozen yogurt and fries with cheese and forks and a brief chat/eating on a bench. We are going to try to go to the beach tomorrow! Public transit is tricky though...
Had a rough nights sleep - woken by roommates' lights and snoring, ugh. Up around 9, ate breakfast and packed up for the beach! Walked to Centraal station, bought tickets from a person after a machine demanded a PIN. After a little confusion we jumped on the train to Zandvoort an Zee. Nathan took a nap on the train - I enjoyed the scenery. Got here and followed the long train of people headed to the beach. Convinced Nathan to come down onto the sand and found an orange rock for Vicki. Now to relax, eat our picnic lunch, and maybe go out in the water. Went for a walk up and down the beach. Saw quite a few topless ladies (young and old). Headed back and slept on the train ride home. Kept looking for a free toilet but no luck, eventually paid 0.50 euro at KFC. Back to hostel around 4pm. Ate stroopwaffels - YUM! We must buy more... went to Albert Heijn supermarket and they were out! Went to Anne Frank house - no pics allowed but very interesting/depressing. Headed toward the Dam square and stopped at another AH supermarket and looked for stroopwaffels - too many options and none looked right! Sent Nathan in to look while I sat out front and updated my journal. Mailed a couple postcards. Next to find a Febo (vending machine fast food place) and another delicious hot dog from that street vendor near the HRC. We did except hot dog man was gone :-( so we got more fries instead. Walked back, packed, showered, and then my phone was knocked down and the screen completely broke! Hope to repair in London...
Overall I really enjoyed this city. Weather was nice, all walkable, traffic with bikes, transit, cars, and peds was terrifying. Everyone was pretty nice and it was easy to get by with no Dutch. Our hostel was a bit far from the main part of town - next time stay more downtown. Red light district seemed tame - saw more flesh at the beach! Paying to use toilets was a pain, soda was pricey in restaurants, and paying for ketchup sucked. The meat I'm burgers and hot dogs seemed tastier - more spices? Probably spent too much $ but will try to keep a better eye on it. Tours (Sandemanns) were great, boat cruise was meh. Museum was way too big and overwhelming. Anne Frank house was depressing and moving but I don't think it would have been worth a 2 hour wait in line - unless you'd recently read the book. The airport is huge and well signed. Public transit probably wasn't as confusing as we thought but we just rarely used it. Zandvoort was a great beach but not much else around, other than restaurants. Overall, a great town with lots to see and do!
Four stars out of five
Okay so that wraps up Amsterdam, right on the day I leave Florence. Not sure how much I'll be able to do in my future travels but one city out of 10 is a good start! I'm three weeks into my trip today and about to go to my 6th city out of ten. Halfway done! Mom and Megan leave from Venice on Saturday, then I meet up with Amanda in Vienna.