05 November 2008

Ahhh life is good here

I'm sorry I don't post enough. It is difficult to make time. There is so much to do.

So... what to tell you?

I went to Amsterdam last week during the week break. It was lots of fun. I went with a group of 8 other people, by bus. It was only 100 euro for the bus rides, and 3 nights in the hostel. And we saw lots of the red light district, and a bit of historical stuff, but really not enough. It was ridiculously cold. And it got dark so early that we didn't get much daylight time to wander.
We went to an art museum, which as far as art museums go, was pretty cool. They had this old 'doll' houses, which were actually ridiculously expensive reproductions of the rich ladies' houses. And cool tulip vases, and lots of famous paintings.
I was lots of street performers. The magician was the best- straight jacket and chains. I missed the end though, which sucked. He was (i think) australian, and was quite humorous. If you go and want to see them, definitely keep some 5's on hand, it's very insulting to watch and not give some money. (this is how they make their living).
It was SO weird to talk english to store workers, etc. We constantly found ourselves contemplating how to ask things in french before remembering that we couldn't use it here. Lots of wierd looks when english speakers would walk up to the register and say 'bonjour' 'merci' 'au revoir' lol.
I recommend going in a smaller group though. One of our biggest problems was that with 8 people and one shower, we just couldn't get out of the hostel very early. And noone wanted to split up the group, but we also wanted to see different things. Difficult indeed.
Oh, and don't take pictures anywhere near the prostitutes, they don't appreciate it AT ALL.
And really, I swear, we didn't do any drugs... nope, none at all. heh
We didn't do as much as I hoped, but it was definitely worth the trip, and I would like to go again someday. It is really pretty, and an interesting mix of old gorgeous architecture, and modern city. And the trams are so cool.
And definitely take the bus up, it is about half the price of the train, and doesn't take much longer (assuming it is on time)
Oh, and amsterdam bikes... TERRIFYING. They are everywhere, and those people fly on their bikes. All of the big roads have bike lanes right next to the sidewalk, made of the same material. Tourists are always walking in them without realizing it. The worst part is you can't hear them coming like you can cars. So, everyone in the group almost got run over by a bike at least once. I feel bad for the bikers, that has to be terrifying.

A couple weeks before that, I went to Paris for a day. THAT was a great trip. Stupid me, I stayed up ALL night the night before. I met a few people at Coming Out, my favorite (gay) bar thus far. Great atmosphere, and cool people. And everytime I was ready to leave, they would decide to go to another cool place. Such as pop paradise, a (gay) dance club, which I had been wanting to check out, and which was awesome. And after that, the Golden Wave, which is a after 3am kind of place. Not quite a dance club, but with more dancing than a bar. (i'll make another post just for bars, lol). So, when all was said and done, it was 5 am. So I ended up going home, showering, and then leaving for the train station.

I almost had a panic attack while I waited for the train though. I was supposed to meet 3 other people at the station, to head to paris. And I kept waiting, and looking, and waiting. And they didn't show up. I finally got on the train, and continued calling them over and over. The worst part was I hadn't done any planning for the day, and thus had NO idea what I would do for the day if I ended up going by myself. And I wasn't at all confident with public transportation, and don't particularly care for big cities. It could have been a bad day. But, 5 minutes after the train was supposed to leave, they ran up and just barely made it. I will never let Kendall live THAT down. Of all days to over sleep!
So we made it to Paris, and it was quite pretty. All though I thought the Eiffel Tower is not very pretty at all. We saw the cemetery Pere Lachaise, which was astounding! It is huge, and has the oldest and biggest and most ornate tombs. I loved it! We could've spent the whole day there and not seen all of it. After that, Victor Hugo's house, which I found less than exciting. If you really really like him, it might be cool, but I got tired of the many copies of original manuscripts and journal entries and letters...
And the best part, Invalides. It was amazing. The courtyard is so pretty, and I quite enjoyed playing on the cannons. And we saw Napoleon's tomb, which was pretty sweet. And the museum of ancient weapons, they had everything from medieval european to asian weapons and armor and old guns and... yea. It was cool.
At last, we went to Parc Monceau. It was very pretty, with varied components (a lil pyramid, roman esque monuments, statues... etc). We even saw a train of pony ride ponies. It was a nice, relaxing way to end the day.
When we finally went home, I went out (again), but went home around 1 because I just couldn't stay awake any longer.
It was a long and exhausting day. But I took 500 pictures and saw so much cool stuff. All the gold plating in that city amazes me. And the metro isn't that hard at all, it was worth going just to learn about them (i'm a country girl, and hadn't used public transport before.) I can't wait to go again in December before J gets here, and see even more. I want to see a couple cathedrals, and the older districts, and ... lol. The list goes on forever.

More to come...

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