Amsterdam was awesome. It was not like any city I had ever been to. I honestly had no idea what to expect when getting there.
Nick got to my house on Thursday morning around 8:30AM. Our train ticket wasn't until 12:30PM so he decided just to sleep off some of his jet lag. I was supposed to go to class, but I didn't... Oh well. I've learned that while yes, it is very important to go to class here, it does me no good to feel super stressed out about it. So I stayed home so I could meet Nick when he got here. I also hadn't packed yet so I took some time while Nick was asleep to get my suitcase/backpack all in order. Then we were off to Gare de Nord for out high speed train to Amsterdam.
We took a Thalys (it is the company that operates one of the high speed trains in Europe) and got into Amsterdam about three and a half hours later. From Amsterdam Central Station, we took a tram to our hotel. I was in charge of getting the tickets to get to Amsterdam and Nick was in charge of getting the hotel. In true Nick fashion, he waited until Monday to get it, but I can't complain because it was an awesome hotel. It was a best western, but it was located right next to Vondelpark close to both the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. It was just beyond the outer most concentric canal of Amsterdam.
One of the first things we did was buy a DK tourist guide to Amsterdam. It had Amsterdam's top ten things to do, so we read through it and kind of planned out our days there. We had virtually three and a half days there, because our train didn't leave until late Sunday night. We were able to do eight of the top ten. We went to the Rijksmusuem and the Van Gogh museum, the Histroich Museum, the Anne Frank Huis, walked around the red light district (I saw my first prostitute!), as well as some cool old churches.
I have to say, I'm really glad I got to cross Amsterdam off of my list and I had a great time, but I don't think I'm going to go back anytime soon. It was a great trip, and I'm really glad that I got to hang out with my brother. The fact that Paige and Bailey (two friends from Y&G) came to visit on Saturday was incredible too.
I should note that there didn't seem to be any major Dutch cuisine. I had some waffles (with cherry pie filling and whip cream) which were INCREDIBLE, but I felt like that was a Belgian thing, not a Dutch thing.
All in all though, I would recommend Amsterdam for people who want to relax. It isn't a very fast past town. There was a lot of stuff to do, but most of that involved smoking pot... Nick compared it to Vegas, and I think he made a good point. The most fun part about Vegas is gambling. That doesn't mean you can't have fun in Vegas without gambling, but its why most of the people go there. Just replace gambling with pot smoking and you have Amsterdam. Since neither Nick nor I wanted to do that, we still had a good time, but our options of things to do was a bit more limited.
It did make me look forward to my trips next semester though!