Thanks for checking back in for the final recap post from my Vacances de la Toussaint trip to Paris—Brussels—Amsterdam—Rotterdam! If you missed the first recap post, you can find that here and the second one here.
Vendredi, 27 octobre 2017
After our debacle on the bus, we ended up arriving in Amsterdam just after 13h00 on Friday. Up until this point, Alli and I had been staying in hostels but because we booked the trip semi-last minute, there were no good and relatively inexpensive hostels left for us to stay at. Given that we were both balling on a budget, Alli did some research and same across yesudent, which is a website where students can register their apartments/extra beds for travelers to “rent” for their vacation. The rates are very similar to those of staying in a hostel, but you have the advantage of more privacy and potentially nicer facilities to use than you would have staying in a hostel. If you don’t enjoy staying in hostels and don’t have the money to book an Air BnB or a hotel, it is a nice alternative!
After we got situated at the apartment, we headed to a local pizza restaurant (SO good!) for a late lunch.
We both knew the first thing we wanted to do was take a canal tour, so we took the metro into the city to do just that. The tour gave me an excellent first impression of Amsterdam.
Of course, we had to visit the infamous Iamsterdam sign right afterward!
We spent a lot of time walking around and exploring on Friday night.
We decided to follow the crowd of people and (unknowingly) wandered into the Red Light District. Since it was only 19h00, it was relatively harmless and we didn’t see anything we weren’t already prepared for. We ended the evening with a healthy dinner of French fries 🙂
Samedi, 28 octobre 2017
On Saturday morning, we had our Sandman’s Free Walking Tour booked for 10h30. Our tour guide was funny and knowledgeable and overall, he gave a great tour!
During the tour, Alli and I made friends with a young woman from San Francisco, so we invited her to lunch with us at a place our “apartment host” recommended. I didn’t get anything fancy at the restaurant but our new friend got a warm goat cheese and honey toast concoction that looked and smelled incredible.
Right after lunch, we had booked our Reypenaer Cheese Tasting. For 16,50 euros, you get to taste six different types of cheeses, along with three different (generously poured) glasses of wine. It is such a fun and unique thing to do in Amsterdam!
While I may live in the land of endless cheese and baguette, it was interesting to learn about the different types of cheeses and how they are produced. My favorites were the young goat cheese and the oldest-aged Reypenaer cheese we tried, paired with a truffle mustard and port wine. When I told the server that the last cheese was my favorite, he told me that I must have expensive taste (my parents are probably laughing at that comment right about now).
With a stomach full of delicious wine and cheese, we headed to our next destination: the Museum of Prostitution located in the Red Light District. While it may not sound very educational, I promise it was!
The museum goes into the history of prostitution in Amsterdam and in Europe, delves into the stories of past and present workers, and presents the facts and figures associated with prostitution in the Amsterdam and the Red Light District. Believe it or not, I left the museum more open-minded and accepting of the culture than I did when I walked in so I would say the museum did its job!
Of course, we couldn’t go to Amsterdam without eating a fresh stroopwaffle!
We spent the rest of the evening exploring the city!
Dimanche, 29 octobre 2017
If I were to put Sunday into a sentence, it would be that it was a day filled with being wonderfully nourished (in more ways than one) and running late.
On Sunday morning, Alli and I went to church at Hillsong: Amsterdam. It was an awesome sermon and after not going to an English-speaking church service for well over two months, my soul was rejuvenated. God did some remarkable things to my thoughts, body, and soul during this time, and you can find that story here.
We had been running late for the church service and we didn’t have time to grab breakfast beforehand, so we were both starving by the time it finished. It had been recommended to us to try Dutch pancakes while in Amsterdam, so that’s exactly what we did.
It was amazingly delicious—this one is a ham and cheese pancake.
On our way back towards Centraal Station, we came across a Tulip Museum and a Cheese Museum. The first one had an entrance fee but the Cheese Museum was free (plus, there were TONS of free samples to try). You best believe we took full advantage of the endless samples.
And now begins our second story of running late. Alli and I have decided to take the 17h10 FlixBus, but had earlier debated taking a 16h20 bus. Due to a mix-up in communication and understanding, we ended up running behind schedule and ultimately ended up missing our 17h10 bus. Thankfully, Alli was able to cancel our reservation while we were on the metro, less than 10 minutes before our departure time, and we still got a reimbursement. We quickly booked a 18h30 bus and spent an hour hanging out at the train station. We boarded the bus in no time and were on our way to our final destination: Rotterdam!
As I ended up spending less than 12 hours in Rotterdam (and at least 7 of those were spent sleeping), I didn’t do enough while I was there to give it its own blog post. From the little I did see, Rotterdam is a noteworthy place that I would love to go back and visit!
After checking into our hostel, we had an awesome dinner (seriously, it looks as good as it tasted!), went back to the hostel, and turned in for the night.
Lundi, 30 octobre 2017
Monday was a long day of travel for me—I spent seven hours on a Flixbus, four hours hanging out at Bercy station in Paris, and then another two and a half hours on the train back to Clamecy. I loved my trip but there is nothing quite like returning to the place you call home.
If you stuck around for all these recap posts, you’re a trooper—there are nearly 5,000 words in the three recaps and the Hillsong post alone! Thanks for reading and check back next week for more.
Until next time,