Wow!  If I get back to Amsterdam next week it will have been too long.  I know what everyone thinks of when they think of Amsterdam and yes, that is one side of the city, but the richness of the culture and the beauty of the city cannot be easily put into words.  

Amsterdam is one of the few cities where you can walk from a crowded town square with bars and restaurants to a quiet waterfront cafe in 2 minutes.  It is also the only city where you can walk for an entire day without seeing one stop sign or traffic light.  Somehow the bikes, mopeds, cars and pedestrians find a way to coexist without the need for regulation and laws.  

Here is a brief rundown of what we did in Amsterdam (the PG version of course!)

Saturday Night Arrival:

After arriving at about 6pm after about 14 hours of travel the only thing I wanted to do was go out.  I met up with Chris and Jackie and we went to New Market which is a beautiful square.  We enjoyed several beers before walking around and visiting a few cafes.  We then decided that our goal was to find the Yankee game (2:30 local start).  We stopped into several bars which looked promising but after several beers realized Jackie was the only female in the entire bar.  Finally at our 6th choice we found a place with the game and an incredible burger spot next door.  5 minutes before gametime we realized we were exhausted and headed back!

Sunday:

Sunday was a promising day from the very beginning.  We met around 10am and went to a cafe and an incredible pancake spot.  The Nutella pancake was probably the greatest breakfast in the entire world.  We then went on a 2 hour walking tour (self guided) of the city featuring many canals and points of interest.  As we approached the van Gogh museum we spotted a quiet park where I took about a 30 minute nap since there is nothing quite as good as park sleeping.  From there we went to a cafe for some lunch and some beers.  Our waitress, while friendly was probably the only person in the world (in the food business at least) that has never heard of Jameson…

We then strolled to the van Gogh museum only to find a 2 hour line.  Clearly not in the mood for waiting we decided to come back to the museum tomorrow and to go to the Heineken brewery instead…  The brewery tour was awesome.  It combined old world artifacts with new world technology to bring the brewery alive.  At the end of the tour is the Heineken experience bar where you get two complimentary drinks.  Following the tips from FourSquare we stood near the exit and everyone that was leaving that didn’t drink gave us their free drink vouchers.  Needless to say this greatly enhanced the experience.

Upon our walk back we encountered a beautiful corner cafe and decided to sit outside at sunset for a couple of beers.  I set up my camera on the tripod to take time lapse photos which I plan on turning into a video.  The amount of people we got to talk to simply due to a camera flash was incredible.  We had the time of our lives simply watching peoples reactions as they walked by.  The ones that came over for conversation were even more interesting!  Unfortunately for me that is where my nose bleeds picked up.  Either from blowing my nose too much (dam cold) or the weather, I was getting uncontrollable nose bleeds.  After returning to the hotel it was obvious I would be unable to go out that night as I lay in bed bleeding every 20-30 minutes.

Monday

Monday was perfect.  We went for a canal ride around the city which not only taught us a lot but allowed us to just relax in the beauty that is Amsterdam.  We arrived at the van Gogh museum and was blown away by the paintings.  I’ll admit I’m not a huge art fan, but this guy was pretty dam good.  The highlight, however, was my astute observation at one photo.  Setting: In the middle of the museum there is one of 3 known photographs of van Gogh.  It is him and a friend sitting at a table along the water, and a man standing in the street.  Everyone is admiring van Gogh when I comment (much louder than I thought…) about the ridiculously huge pile of horse shit in the middle of the street that a man is just staring at.  Everyone turns around and tries to identify the source of such observation only to be shocked (I’m sure) when they find it was me…

After the museum we went to an ‘Irish pub’ right on the waterway.  The weather was uncharacteristically gorgeous we were told.  We walked around the square a little bit and then jumped on another canal cruise back to the hotel.  Since this cold is still bogging me down I took some medicine and went to sleep while Chris and Jackie went out.

Tuesday

We woke up early to head to Central Station for the train to the airport.  Upon our arrival it was pointed out to me that my flight is delayed 45 minutes.  Security was a breeze and we went to a cafe/bar in the airport.  After having a few drinks we went our separate ways to our planes.  My flight is delayed 45 minutes but still hasn’t arrived so we will see how long the delay really is.

I will update again from Copenhagen.  Thanks for reading!!

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