Monday, March 10, 2008


After four hours of attempted sleep (aka sitting in bed doing crosswords) Maya and I grabbed a taxi at 4:30am on Friday morning (after an interesting interaction with un vecino and our hermano). We picked up Jess and Greta and made our way to Barajas, where Vera was waiting patiently. We sailed through security and found a table near our gate to settle down and wait for our 6:45 flight to Amsterdam. I somehow got through security without my boarding pass and despite some drama with the ticket ladies, they let me on with a new seat assignment: 30F. Last row. Last seat. Following some unnecessary tears I boarded the plane and was happy to find a bunch of empty seats and Jess and I were able to have our usual set up; me in the window, imaginary friend in the middle, and Jess on the aisle. I quickly curled up with my baby down pillow and my "Sleepy Plane" playlist and was able to catch a bit of sleep before we landed.

We had a bit of train confusion but eventually made it to Central Station where we then had a bit of street confusion but eventually made it to Aivengo Youth Hostel where we paid our bill, dropped our bags, and set out in search of a Coffee Shop. For lunch we went to a whole-foods-esque place which really hit the spot and left me full for 24 hours. Not even joking. Jess and I split off from the group for a bit to cuddle, nap, and explore. After lots of wandering around pretty canals lit with twinkle lights and dodging cars, trams, and bikes we grabbed a quick dinner and then headed to bed.

two gruesome twosomes = one awesome foursome!

being so _____
(Dutch, awk, pick.)

pretty canal at night

and again

Amsterdam Kitty #1 caught yawning and a red light district house
(please excuse the poor photo quality, I know it's not up to my usual standards)

Surprisingly, Maya was the one to drag everyone out of bed at 7:30 on Saturday morning. With droopy eyes and groggy noises Maya, Steffi, Greta, Jess and I got dressed, bundled up, and headed towards the Anne Frank House where we were meeting up with Vera, Jenny, and Sophie. We were first in what was soon to become a fast growing line and were soon out of the cold and touring the house where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II and where she wrote her diary. The museum was interesting and intense. Afterwards we warmed up with hot chocolate and coffee in the cafe next door before wandering around Noordermarkt where Jess feasted on free samples of cheese and fudge while I sifted through boxes of old postcards at an antique stand. At noon we all headed to one of the best pancake houses in Amsterdam for lunch. Afterwards Jess, Vera, Maya, Steffi and I walked along the Singel Canal towards Amsterdam's floating flower market. We walked along the length of the market, stopping occasionally to take in the smell of fresh flowers and snap some photos. Having lost Maya and Vera in the crowd (recurring theme, especially due to a lack of functioning cell phones), Jess, Steffi and I decided to head back to the hostel for the usual recharge nap. After our Spanish siesta we joined forces with Greta and Isabel to search for a cafe where we could get something small for dinner before reuniting with Maya, Vera, Sophie, and Jenny at Coco's; a bar-slash-club in Rembrandt square. The nine of us took over two couches and a table and made it our home base for the night. Maya chose to spend most of the night dancing and crawling on tables; Jess and I basically split our time between hacering "shady deals", laughing at Maya and the gangly rod-spined robo-waiter, and holding hands; and Vera did a little bit of everything. We had some interesting conversations about White Widows ("I'm not asking you. I'm telling you.") and between nine of us easily devoured Vera's fudge. Jess, Steffi, Greta, and I finally made it back to the hostel where I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.

self explanatory

a women selling tulips who looked like a tulip!

my amazing pancake and a horsie
(please please please click the horse to enlarge and notice that he's sticking his tongue out. Charlotte, for some reason I feel like you'll love this the most.)

birds flying around the canal

bikes everywhere!

amazing flowers at the flower market

little birds and another flower stand

one of my favorites!

apparently at some point this window in our hostel fell down...

Jess and I hacering "shady deals" at Coco's
(we're sneakily eating a Carrot Cake Cliff Bar...)

Sunday morning Jess, Steffi, Greta, and I left the hostel around 10 on a very rainy Sunday morning to meet up with Isabel at a cafe famous for its hot chocolate where I met Amsterdam Kitty #2. The hot chocolate was indeed very good (it was served as hot milk with chocolate chunks in the bottom and you stirred it yourself!), as was the homemade whipped cream that was served on the side and topped with chocolate chips! The rain didn't look like it was going to let up so we canceled our plans to rent bikes and instead walked along the Keizersgracht Canal towards FOAM: Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. We spent some time looking at the two exhibitions there and took advantage of our time inside to dry and warm up before making our way towards the Van Gogh Museum where we had plans to meet the rest of the girls. We spent a couple hours in the very crowded but very neat museum; I especially liked the collection of his sketches on envelopes and restaurant menus. Jess and I also were such creepers and drank the whole container of milk that was supposed to be for coffee in the cafe (but with the correct amount of confidence, nobody is going to question your beverage choice.) Some of us went to a cafe where they were playing live music to get some lunch before deciding to basically call it a day. I spent the evening in the hostel working on some schoolwork before venturing out with Steffi for some falafel which was amazing. Maybe better than Amir's. Maybe. After one last outing with Jess in our PJ's (literally) to Any Day Coffee Shop, we went to sleep.

Kitty #2 loves hot chocolate

extreme hot chocolate and whipped cream

rainy day

amsterdam sign

tulips in a cafe and tickling with grape vines

This morning we all made it to the airport for our 9:55 flight back to Madrid. Upon landing, we all hurried home to our Senora's to eat a quick lunch before going to class. I was especially nervous because I had to present a powerpoint with five other students in front of one of my classes at Autonoma. Although it was very scary to stand up in front of thirty Spanish speakers I tried my best to not struggle too much with the pronunciation of words such as "antropocentrismo" and "desmoronamiento" and upon finishing my part gave my best I'm-American-so-cut-me-some-slack smile and giggle before breathing a sigh of relief and stepping down from the front of the classroom and letting my Spanish partners take over. They said I did a fine job so there. Now I'm absolutely exhausted but must keep on trekking full speed ahead. After a full recovery from strep throat I'm going back to yoga tomorrow before my Autonoma class, meeting with two professors about tests that I have on Wednesday, and then getting cozy in Cafe Comercial for hours tomorrow night. I wish I could be studying for middies in Reffy with my Naisybear but McDreamy will have to do for now. Very much looking forward to my week in Paris with Stina and hopefully seeing my Lizzle on Friday then Mommy and Dana come so soon. Charmanda Charmanda I love Charlotte Hess. Night night!


Vera Golosker said...

wow, your level of detail is impressive (all the while being entertaining and not tedious!) I was about to write mine, but my planned "it was cool, crooked buildings, shady deals, rain" will just not do anymore! I might need more time. Did you get and GET my rock paper scissors bumper sticker?


Linnae said...

ahhh char got a shoutout.. i love the ends of your blogs when we all get shout outs! I LOVE THOSE KITTIES. espeeeeciallllly the one on the bar. HOUSING - let's a toyger kitten!

i love you baby. i'm in BIG ROOM 2 studying. GROSS.

Anil said...

"I wish I could be studying for middies in Reffy with my Naisybear [and no one else]."