Thursday, February 16, 2012

Holla Holland!

Unlike Prague, I did know a few things about Amsterdam/Holland/Netherlands: weed is legal, wooden clogs, tulips, and wind mills. As you can guess that really doesn't appeal much to me, and Amsterdam was not on the top of my list of must see places. However, Amsterdam is such an adorable city. It's cobble stone everywhere, and EVERYONE rides their bike. By the central train station, there's a three story parking garage...for bikes!

The pond in the center of town is frozen, and everyone was ice skating. Dutch people are super nice, and thankfully all speak English. The breakfast place near where we were staying, Bagels and Beans, was great because we could grab a bagel before heading off for the day. They had fresh squeezed orange juice, and I thought I was in heaven because I had a cold. I don't even like orange juice, but the Vitamin C in Amsterdam is delicious:) We went to the Heineken Factory, Van Gogh Museum, and walked around the city taking it all in.

Heineken Factory was so much fun! It was super touristy, and I loved many photo ops. We got 2.5 glasses with the tour...but I opted out of one of one of my glasses to get my dragughtmaster certificate haha :) I failed the first attempt with too much foam...I guess bar tending isn't in my future.

I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the Van Gogh museum, but it was neat to see some more of his artwork. We saw a few of pieces in the Museum de Orsay in Paris. I think it's kind of ironic that Van Gogh's most famous painting (arguably), Starry Night, isn't in the Van Gogh Museum, but is in New York.

I got my picture with the Amsterdam letters! Dreams do come true! I think it's so ridiculous that they put this monument in the city...but I love it.

I hope to visit Amsterdam before I leave again, it's only 45 min. from London. I would love to go back and see Anne Frank's house, and maybe take a ride out to a tulip field or wind mills, I think that would be fun!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

from paris to PRAGUE

I honestly had no idea what was in Prague, and really only went to celebrate a friend'

s birthday. Nonetheless, I loved this city, it was really beautiful. I feel that it's impressive that I can say this when it was only 15 degrees out at its warmest while I was there. It was REALLY cold. I had two things on my agenda while I was there: visit Prague Castle, and see the John Lennon wall. Unfortunately, I did neither. Fail.

I did go on a three hour walking tour, and almost thought I was going to die from the cold though! I survived...or as I like to think, I'm adapting. Thank goodness the tour guide was awesome...but I don't think there's enough layers in the world to stay warm when the temperatures drop to below 10 degrees.

Note: I was in Prague for a shorter amount of time than the other girls because I didn't want to miss the Superbowl. So, they did Prague Castle the second day...and I watched the Giants win another Superbowl!! (They did have a six hour flight delay, and didn't get home until 7 a.m., and one of them was a Giants fan...All's well that ends well.)

Learning about the history of Prague was really funny. As they haven't really had control of their own country until recently (or I think they do at least). The tour guide said his grandfather has lived in 7 "different countries" without ever moving. He also said that his two siblings and himself were all born in different territories, and they were all born in the same hospital.

The cold severely messed with my memory, or ability to listen, but some of my favorite things I did take away from the tour was...

The picture of the Astronomical Clock (the clock and astrology sign wheel on the tower) is supposedly "the most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe". This really upset the city, so they decided to jazz it up by having a trumpet player, and windows with little characters that come out ringing a bell every hour. (However, for some reason I don't remember, it wasn't working while I was there). The tour guide didn't understand how this could possibly have ranked worse than Stonehenge. I thought that was pretty Stonehenge is just rocks that nobody knows how they got there...and they're in London.

Also, the really scary statue with the hood, and no face, I don't remember what it's significance was. But two people have tried to climb into it, and both were unsuccessful and had to be removed with medical assistance.

We also stayed in the best hostel/hotel? I don't know what it was, it was more like a hotel than a hostel, but we found it on, and it was quite inexpensive. It was so nice and cute though! They had the BEST breakfast. We were obsessed! :)

Everyone's pretty friendly, and the city is gorgeous, I'd love to go back when the weather's warmer some day :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm a Tourist, and I couldn't care less!

Yes those are the words Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire sang out as they ran around Paris to the Eiffel Tower. It was so surreal standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. You see it in pictures your whole life, and then in person you feel so small next to it. It's completely mesmerizing, I couldn't take my eyes off the beautiful structure. Although you can go on it, it's REALLY tall, and I was perfectly content just looking at it. The people looked awfully small all the way up there...

If you're in Paris and don't feel up to going to the Louvre, then go to Museum De Orsay, it's awesome! I saw Monet and Van Gogh paintings that I've only seen from the glossy pages of my text book, or draining slides of a powerpoint. In person it's so much more grand!

Images above include the famous shopping street, Champs-Elysees, with the original Louis Vuitton. At the end of the street, there was the Arc de Triomphe. Natalia Vodianova was on the back of every bus! She is after all a supermodel in the world of fashion, so I thought that was pretty cool.

The Notre Dame was cool, but I'm not too keen on gothic style architecture. So, naturally I thought the  Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Monmarte was more beautiful. We went on Sunday and got to walk through the church during a ceremony. I couldn't take pictures inside of course, but the inside was beautiful too!

When I go back to Paris, I'm dying to see the Palace of Versailles, as I have an obsession with Marie Antoinnete.