mercredi 13 février 2008

day 4: Anne Frank, old LPs, and the best ice cream in Amsterdam

Day 4
(NOTE: Sorry, I just added stuff that I didn't want to forget. Start at the pic of Lucia and Keisha looking at records.)
Our last day. Checked out and went back to Centraal Station to put our luggage in lockers. Found a hidden treasure of a restaurant that served the yummiest English breakfast: eggs, beans, ham, sausage, and toast. And tea. Absolutely delicious, and it only cost 7.95. I've had coffees in Paris that cost half of what I paid for this meal. The guy working was laidback, seemed like a guy that'd work at Bang and Olfusen or whatever or design furniture for Ikea. Tall, lanky, pale, glasses, shaved head (or balding?).In between taking orders or serving, he'd go to the booth by the window and pet his cat. I was going to take a picture of Keisha and Lucia with their food, and he came over and offered to take our picture for us. Score one for the Dutch people. They're amazing in my book.From there, we walked to the Anne Frank House and Museum. Loads of people, but a good, humbling experience. Walked up a tiny staircase, through her room, and saw her home the way she saw it through photos and written accounts. We could hear the bell tower down the street strike the hour, and it felt really sad to think she'd hear it too but never be able to go out and play in the sun or ride a bike.

I've only read excerpts of her book, but I vowed to put it on my reading list. I got a book on the museum with loads of pictures (photos not allowed in museum) and the history of Anne Frank's family.

Walked back in the direction of the train station and wandered through an open market. Kind of like a swampmeet, these people were selling their old stuffs. Keisha, Lucia, and I spent time looking through old LPs that cost 1 euro each. I couldn't help myself and got the soundtrack for The Sting (awesome old ragtime) and West Side Story (one of my favorite musicals). It sucked to carry them around, but anything for that awesome sound. I don't have a record player here, but my parents have one at home.

Still had more time to kill before our train, so we went looking for ice cream/souvenirs. No luck finding ice cream, until we saw a man licking a cone of vanilla, so we asked him where he got it. He happened to be Dutch and not a tourist, and he pointed down the street. "The best ice cream in all of Amsterdam," he said. We were intrigued.

Went in line for the ice cream place. It was a hole in the wall, and the line was out the door. One by one, people came out with cups or cones of this one kind of ice cream. Turns out they only serve one flavor: AMAZING. Really, it was like vanilla whipped cream tasting, and the consistency was between frozen yogurt and whipped cream. Really thick and rich. You know how ice cream gets liquidy when it melts? When this melts it gets foamy, not liquidy or drippy. I can't explain it. It was delicious. Spent more time in an H&M and got a beanie for 1 euro. I wanted something that I could put all my hair in and look like one of the Olsen twins. Keisha got sunglasses, and Lucia got a tank top.

Went back to the train station, and boarded the train. We were exhausted. But the trip was perfect. We did a lot of things that we wanted to do and had fun. Not too much unnecessary stress or worry that comes with most travel, and the stress and worry that did come was short-lived and a learning experience. I was sad to leave the city, but to go home, towards Paris and my own bed...sounded nice.

I don't think I could live in an urban city for a long time, I'd go crazy. But Amsterdam would be a lovely place to live. Not just for the bikes, or the soft drugs baked into a tasty muffin. It's the perfect mix of urban and small town. The people are warm and friendly. They have dedicated bike lanes. The pancakes are delicious...I'd definitely go back again.