Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Amsterdam

The first day in Amsterdam was fairly brutal, thanks to our tight travel schedule and poor planning skills. My college roommate Matt and I flew from Berlin to Amsterdam, having woken up at 5 am to catch the bus to the airport, running on 2 hours of sleep and hangovers from the previous night's pub crawl. While I wanted to sleep, Matt and our college friend Ruby, who met us at the train station, understandably wanted to pound pavement. So pound we did, first visiting a diamond-cutting warehouse with a little tour that Matt enjoyed the last time he was in Amsterdam.

Then we went to EnergeticA, which turned out to be Machines`R´Us, and Matt the mechanical engineer was gleefully led around by a middle-aged dutch man who loved machines just as much as Matt did, explaining their use in charmlingly-accented english.

It was already starting to sizzle when we headed out the next morning, so we hightailed it to an air-conditioned location: namely, the Van Gogh Museum.

From there, we bought tickets for an improv dinner show by Boom Chicago, whose Edinburgh troupe I had seen years ago and loved. In the interim, we headed to the Heineken Experience, where for €11 each, we learned a little about brewing beer, but mostly drank (3 free 0,5 L beers with entry) and played games (there were various mindless games one could play that seemed fun at the time).

The next morning, we took a day trip to Zaanse Schans, and toured around for a while before heading back (I bought a hunk of cheese!). Matt and I scrounged up one last set of "must see" activities for our final day, hitting the Anne Frank House in the morning and a children's science center called Nemo (shaped like a boat!) in the afternoon. Nemo had an entire floor devoted to teens about hormones, drugs and sexuality. My favorite part: a small 16-and-over section on condoms, birth control and favorite positions! Oh, those Europeans.

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