Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Amsterdam

Welcome to my first post in the A-Z blog challenge. I hope you don't mind enjoy this trip down memory lane!  We're going to start this off with a bang.

As as a sort of present for my 19th birthday, back in 2007,  my dad let me and a friend tag along on a business trip to Amsterdam. While my dad was in meetings during the day the two of us would explore this completely beautiful but totally eccentric city and then reconnect with my dad afterwards. That they were comfortable with this arrangement I think makes my parents pretty cool.
Amsterdam was very nearly exactly how I'd always pictured it. Cobbled streets, broken up by canals, crisscrossed with bridges. Everyone is on bikes.  (A lot of people are smoking you know what...) We had great weather and spent a lot of the time just sitting on a bench in the sun, taking in the scenes, and enjoying my favorite pastime- people watching.
One of the most surreal moments of this trip was visiting Anne Frank's house. 
I've read her diary. The intimate words she wrote while in hiding.  Behind a bookshelf that covers a secret door to a tiny secret attic apartment. The place where her family was ripped apart by fear and hate. To visit that place, to stand where she trembled, is humbling. Imagining the past lives of this city is overwhelming.
Today Amsterdam has quite the reputation, as I'm sure you all know.  The truth is a lot of tourists go there to escape. Along the way they may see Anne Frank's house, the van Gogh museum, the tulip markets,  or take a bike ride along the canals. But admit it, probably the one of the first things you think of when you hear Amsterdam is the infamous red light district.
Casually walking down one of those picturesque cobbled streets with my dad and happening upon this scene definitely encourages you to keep you head down, avoid eye contact and pick up the pace. It's really something you need to see to believe and the busy crowds are rather shocking (for me, no one else seemed to be that phased). It's another world I tell you.

On our last day there my friend and I checked out of our hotel room and my dad reminded me maybe 6 times not to forget my passport in the room safe (you can see where this is going). He had another meeting so we left our bags with the concierge and went to kill some time before we had to leave for the airport. We decided to take a boat cruise. It was hop-on-hop-off sort of deal  which is a great way to see a lot of the city.

As we were leisurely enjoying our last few hours in Amsterdam, remarking on the tulip vendors and greenhouses that line the river, I felt my heart drop to the floor of my stomach and realized that I had indeed left my passport in the safe. I then had to call my dad, get the number for the hotel, call the hotel and then high-tail it back there. Short story long I recovered my passport. Rookie mistake I tell you. It also almost got taken at passport control on the way back into the UK, apparently I looked like a threat.

But that's another story.

19 comments :

  1. That was a great trip. I'm glad you came along with me. Wish we still lived in England so we could take those quick trips.

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  2. So you do have a big birthday coming up, and a trip might be in order : ) Great pictures!

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  3. Oh wow! I would LOVE to go to Amsterdam. Thanks for sharing! And happy day one of the challenge!

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  4. I've never even thought about going to Amsterdam. I've only gone through international security twice, and both times I've had an "incident". Yep, your parents are pretty cool! :)

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    1. Woah- That's unfortunate luck at border control! Hope it doesn't' turn you off international travel. Thanks for your comment!

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  5. Ive never been to amsterdam but my husband goes all the time! Hope to get there sometime! Thanks for checking out my blog! :)

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  6. Beautiful pictures. Looking forward to traveling down memory lane with you! I always love your mom's travel posts, I think she needs to be a travel reporter or guide! And yes I agree your parents are cool! And I love their dog! :)
    until next time...nel

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes- our pup is the sweetest. It was hard not to take her with me when I left. Happy Monday!

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  7. I can't wait to go to Amsterdam this summer! It'll be a mother/daughter trip to Europe, so it seems I'll have almost the opposite experience than you did - instead of separating from my parent, the whole point of the trip is to spend time with my mom and learn more about her and her perspective on life!

    I'm also participating in the A to Z challenge, though I'm featuring post cards from my post card collection. I'll be looking forward to seeing what other exciting destinations you've visited!

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    1. I'd love to go back there with my mom- you will have so much fun there with her.

      Glad you found my blog! Featuring post cards is such a great idea and I'll be sure to stop by.

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  8. I found your blog through the A to Z Challenge, and I'm so glad I did! I also wrote about Amsterdam this morning, and this post is a perfect answer to mine--my post was full of questions! I'll be sure to stop back by.

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  9. Amsterdam is on my bucket list - was supposed to visit in 2010 but the Iceland volcano changed my plans! Looking forward to following along during A to Z.

    Jennifer @ www.solotravelgirl.com

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  10. Love Amsterdam! Such a great place to visit we were there three years ago this week and l fell in love with it there. You are so brave to do the AtoZ I wish I could get it together and do also!

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  11. smoking you know what" made me laugh out loud!

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  12. Amsterdam looks interesting. Good post. And loved the pictures!

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    1. Hi Cheryl- Thanks for your sweet comment! "Interesting" is the perfect word. The pictures make me want to go back.

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  13. What great pictures and inspiration to visit Amsterdam!

    Enjoy the challenge,
    Pati @ www.theinfoscouter.com

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    1. It will definitely be a "challenge", thanks for the encouragement! Hope you get to travel there someday.

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  14. Great photos and a great start :)
    Popping in from AtoZ

    auntyamo
    http://ficticiousamo.wordpress.com/

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