|things got a little emotional|
|coffeehouse from the outside|
|on the inside...random sailor statue?|
After curiously observing the place for just a few minutes, we headed back to our hotel (aka paradise) to get ready for a night out in Amsterdam. Oh wait, first we went to a candy shop because we all have ADD and subconsciously gravitated towards the bright colors and sugar, without really realizing what was happening. Okay, so we did realize, but maybe after being in such a...corrupt? dirty? mature? (whatever) environment as the coffeeshop, I think we needed some place innocent. And we just wanted candy.
|caffeine and sugar...healthy habits!|
|kids in a candyshop|
So then we went back to the beloved hotel, got all glammed-up, had a spontaneous girl-power pregame accompanied by the sweet sounds of Hilary Duff, circa 2003, and met up with the rest of our crew at a pub crawl (supposedly, "Europe's biggest pub crawl"). Twas spectacular. And foggy?
|note the hand-holding|
Sooo the next morning, or rather afternoon since we didn't actually make it out of our enticingly comfortable hotel room until almost 3pm, we ventured out to do some more Amsterdam exploring. We saw the Van Gogh museum (awesome) and then headed over to the Heineken Brewery. Well, we didn't actually go on the tour or really see any of the inside of the brewery, but we DID go to the gift shop to get matching jackets and hats because we wanted to be 100% sure that every person we passed on the streets knew with absolute certainty that we were American tourists. Based on the amount of gawks that we received, I'd say we were successful. We were quite popular with a group of Spanish men who were on a gay bachelor weekend. Not kidding. They insisted on taking the following photo with us:
|Heineken Drinking Team-suited up|
Prof pic? Duh. Soooooo then we hustled back to our hotel to pretty ourselves up for another raucous night in Amsterdam. We started with a (party) boat tour through the Amsterdam Canal, which was a magical experience. In all seriousness, it was a fantastic way to see the city. A microphoned tour guide told us about all the places we were passing, which was a great way to absorb a little Amsterdam history and culture along with our bottles of wine. See, this was an educational trip. I promise. We saw Anne Frank's house, which was surreal. Just a small, simple, inconspicuous house, but so rich with history. We passed through the infamous Red Light District, which was...bizarre. Rows and rows of windows with scantily clad (haha) women just standing there, posing and pointing at passersby, hoping for a "customer." It was fascinating, in an eerie and disturbing way.
|"can i please have a glass of white wine"|
"can i please have a bottle of white wine"
|cant escape the rain|
|friends on a boat|
|the crew+our beloved bartender, ryan|
"you guys drink too much"
All in all, the boat tour was possibly my favorite amster-tivity (Amsterdam+activity? Did that work?). So, after the boat tour, we hit the town for another night out in Amsterdam. As per usual, fun times were had all around.
|outdoor urinals...not normal|
|more usc friends!|
Soooo...then I sort of insisted that the crew check out this place called "Paradiso" that our hotel concierge urged us to go to because it was the "hottest club in Amsterdam." I swear he said that. Either he had a skewed idea of what our definition of the "hottest club" was or he was just messing with us because this place was a full-blown gay club. We literally walked in the door and were greeted by a charming bunch who insisted on dressing us up in ostentatious garb for photographs. We weren't allowed to smile either.
|tyra would be proud|
Don't get me wrong, I thought it was fabulous and hilarious, but we were with a big group of guys who were not so down to party in such a...flamboyant atmosphere. Sorry, boys.
Afterwards, we wandered the streets of Amsterdam for a while, which I'm sure was a really safe activity, and then headed back to our hotel, excited to crash for one last night in our oasis of a hotel room with its cloud of a bed.
The next day was a travel day, involving more modes of public transportation in one day than I think I've ever taken in my life (cab to train station, train to bus station, bus to airport, plane to dublin airport, cab to HOME!). The weekend was absolutely incredible, but I was thrilled to get back to Dublin. We all agreed that though Amsterdam was one of the most exciting and unique cities we've ever experienced, Dublin is still our favorite thus far. Like I said in my last post, the Irish are the friendliest people I have ever met, and Dublin is just a much more comfortable, homey place, while still being wildly exciting. I've only been here for three weeks, but it already feels like home, and I know that I am going to be kicking and screaming when I have to leave. This upcoming weekend, we are headed to London, which shall be extraordinary, but I am also really looking forward to spending some more time exploring Dublin and Ireland. Stay tuned for more!
In the meantime, I'll leave y'all with this super-Irish photo I snapped while riding the double-decker (party) bus on the way into the City Centre after a rainstorm:
|just add a leprechaun and a pot of gold|
A rainbow in Ireland? Get a little more cliche, Dublin. Geez.