And So It Continues…

30 Mar

My friends and I decided to finish off our Spring break in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The moment we settled in and explored the city, we noticed that Amsterdam is actually more expensive than we thought. Plus, we were already low on finances, considering we had been spending more than we accounted for the past week. Regardless, we made sure to visit the Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh Museum, the Heineken Brewery, and try some Netherland Pancakes. We did have other activities, including watching people play an extremely large game of street chess, but those were my favorite.

Before we began our first day, we had ourselves some Netherland Pancakes. Their “pancakes” look like crepes, but are still delicious. Since Anne Frank’s house was near, that is where we continued the day. Now, I have never read the Diary of Anne Frank. Being in her house was all a new and moving experience for me. One miniscule detail almost brought a tear. Seeing the pencilled growth marks of Anne and her sister on the wall really had me imagining their childhood. They were fairly tall. I pictured little girls when I heard anything about them, but they were my height (roughly 5’6-5’7)… and that surprised me. It’s one thing to hear or read about her and her family, but to actually stand where they once stood and see what they saw makes all the difference. They had glass walls protecting the original walls of their household, but you could still see every mark of age and deterioration. I felt like her diary was an appropriate souvenir to purchase from her house.

On a brighter note, visiting the Van Gogh Museum was worth the 14 euros. First of all, if anyone’s planning to visit this museum, don’t expect to finish all the exhibitions quickly, this place is huge! I loved seeing Van Gogh’s works from the start. Seeing the change and improvement in his art was inspiring. Although I have focused on drawing and charcoal media in the past, I love all types of art. With the inspiration of Van Gogh’s pieces and my current oil painting class, I will definitely add oil painting as a favorite.

Our Spring break carried on pretty smoothly, especially for being spontaneous most of the time. One of my housemates made a comment on our way home that she was surprised everything turned out so well. Within that moment, the rest of us were hoping that she did not just jinx the rest of the way home. Guess she did speak too soon, because long story short, in the next 28 hours from that comment, we took another sleeper car, 2 buses, a subway/tram, and 9 (yes…9) train transfers to get back to our apartment in Florence. The original plan only included 2 transfers. However, when we arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, we were notified of a landslide that would delay our travels. Because we were amongst a rather large group of travelers also in the same position, we basically followed the crowd to figure our way to the border. We did meet some interesting people on the way, including my bus buddy in Switzerland. He was in the Vatican’s Swiss Guard but from San Francisco. We were comparing the school systems of Switzerland and the US when he commented that he didn’t think it was right how Americans have to pay for their school loans for what seems like the rest of their life when Switzerland education is free. Our conversation definitely had me comparing America with Europe on another level. By the time we finally crossed the border into Milan, we still had troubles awaiting us. The woman at the information desk could barely understand us as we explained how we missed our original train because of the landslide. Eventually, we got it all worked out without having to pay an extra fee. She saw how stressed we were and gave us chocolate ladybugs. It was such an unexpected and cute little gesture that it actually made my day. A tiny chocolate ladybug made my day…talk about little things making all the difference.

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In the end, we had one heck of an experience. We were spontaneous and adventurous. Although there were times of frustration, we got back on our feet and felt back at home in the Florence train station. I arrived back in the apartment prepared for any trip to come, knowing that probably no other trip could end up as crazy as this past spring break. I have never been so happy to be back in Florence. We were home sweet home.


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