Hello again. Right now I am on a train headed to Vienna. I left Amsterdam earlier today. Joey, Paige and I spent four full days in Holland—four days of nasty weather. It rained the entire time and even hailed one day. Due to the weather we spent our time catching up on sleep, often sleeping until 12:00. In the afternoons we would wander around the city. By the fourth day I began to feel as though I knew where each winding, canal-bordered path in the inner city would lead.
Some of the highlights of our time in Amsterdam include visits to museums and dinners with our host, Joep. He is a student at the University of Amsterdam majoring in European History. Joep lives in a dorm outside the city center and all four of us shared his small living space by sleeping on the floor or on the couch. One of my favorite meals we made involved introducing Joep to Mexican food. We ate burritos; Joey and I (successfully) made guacamole from scratch.
Since museum admission is free in London, we were a little disappointed to find out we had to pay in Amsterdam. Nevertheless we made our way to the van Gogh museum, which was definitely worth the price. We were actually quite lucky to visit the museum at this time because the exhibition titled “Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night” is currently on display. This meant that the museum was borrowing paintings from museums all over the world, particularly the MoMA in New York. Never before has there been so much van Gogh in one place! Because the museum had these paintings on loan we were able to see some of van Gogh’s most famous works including Starry Night and The Potato Eaters.
Our trip ended with a Scottish flair. Apparently Scotland and the Netherlands were playing a game of soccer against each other in Amsterdam today. The Scotsmen arrived in hoards complete with kilts and drunken abandonment. The streets were filled with drunkards and bagpipe music. The Dutch even set up temporary urinals throughout the city to accommodate the soccer enthusiasts. As I was heading back to Joep’s for some shuteye, I spoke to an older Scottish man who informed me that I would be missing the party of my lifetime. Schade!
I woke up at 4:00 am this morning to say goodbye to Amsterdam. I waved goodbye at a sleepy Paige (she would be leaving just a few hours later to catch a plane to Rome). Joey and I caught the night bus to the train station where we said our goodbyes. Joey caught a train to Tübingen, Germany where he will be studying this spring. I took the train to the airport where I jumped aboard a plane headed to Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck is located in the Austrian Alps and I think Dad would have loved to be on this flight. The airport is right in the middle of the mountains. When the pilot said over the loud speaker that we would be landing in 15 minutes, I saw snow-covered mountain peaks out the left and right windows and thought, “How is that possible?” Sure enough there was a small, flat valley between the mountains in which we landed. It was beautiful and scary at the same time. I have only an hour and a half until my train arrives in Vienna where I am meeting my friend Doris who worked as an Au Pair in America for a year. I’ll be staying at her house tonight. The sun is shining here and I am happy to have left the wet, cold Netherlands.