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1 posts from September 2011

09/06/2011

Grachten! Grachten! Grachten!

Name: Aaron
CIEE Amsterdam
Semester: Fall 2011
Homeschool: University of Pittsburg
--Adventures on the first day around town
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Well on the official full day in Amsterdam, I did a little walking.  To the left here, on the Museumplein was one of many museums, but this here is the Rijksmuseum, full of art and such and probably the best in the world.  But Amsterdam really has every museum possible, a Sex, Vodka, and Purse museum, luckily I get a free-museum pass!!  It was a sunny day, about 75F, and the city is so flat!! After a wonderful lunch of smoked salmon, wasabimayo, and and a fresh squeezed orange juice with my CIEE advisor, we had gelato atIJscupye (Got Hazelnut.......awesome).  After this, my advisor went off and I got down to walking business.

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I walked the 15 minute (if that) walk up Utrechtsestraat and intoRembrandtsplein.  It is a little park with a bunch of bars, restaurants, and one of the touristy parts of Grachtengordel Zoud.  It was really busy, but I did not feel like the only with a camera and map!  After that, I went west and saw the very edges of Vondelparka behemoth of grassy relaxation, and then I was a street away from going into downtown, tourist laden, and super packed Amsterdam.....but I'll save that for another day.  So instead, I walked along de bloemenmarkt, a street covered in garden, cheese, and clothing stores.  One cheese place was a basement of some apartment building that had tons of samples of cheese, to say the least I tried them all, and the smoked and aged gouda was "wonderlijk."

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(left is a bloemenmarkt stall).  So, I went southwest and around the"Gouden Bocht" or "Golden Bend" of absolutely huge houses.  Right on the water, right on the main stretch before tourist town.  Quite ideal if one has a few million dollars.  Whenever I sent up for a picture, the Dutch made it their job to get out of the way, duck, stop, hold up traffic, I couldn't spit out enough "Dank u wel"'s to aptly thank everyone.  My Dutch, in simple talk is passable, though they do seem to be able to smell foreigner on you.  The fact that at the restaurant the waitress talked to my advisor first in Dutch then, after I said "Hi" she immediately changed over to English was astonishing.  Oh US education system..... But all in all, a "redelijk goed dag" if I say so myself. 
This coming week is CIEE Orientation week, so it'll be meetings, meetings, talking, briefings, a probable class conundrum, etc.  Once this is over though, it is another week of UvA orientations and then its off to class!!!  
(BELOW: The 3 main Grachten (canals) in Amsterdam, Herengracht, Keizergracht, & Prisengracht, below that is the Amstel [no not flowing beer, the river])