Today we got up a little earlier than usual to catch a train to Amsterdam. Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard all morning. I had to look quite unfashionable for this trip because my feet still hurt like crazy and I had to wear my tennis shoes. I got over it though because my feet weren’t killing me all day like they usually are. Hopefully I’ll be able to guilt my mom into giving me money to buy some knock-off Uggs (wink wink). Anyway, the train ride to Amsterdam is not long at all it’s about 20-25 minutes. The trains are fairly clean and easy to navigate. The train station in Amsterdam is insanely busy. There are people running every which way. Fortunately for us we have our tour guides to help us. I’m sure eventually using the trains won’t be as intimidating as it is right now. We have a train discount card that our program gave us which is super nice! Also, it was freezing today. It hasn’t been that cold since we got there. Steef (our resident director) did tell us that it had been usually warm and it was going to cool down again- he wasn’t lying! And, I forgot my gloves today!
When we arrived in Amsterdam we took a boat ride down the canal ways. The boat was covered and heated so it was nice to get out of the cold/rain. However, most of the windows were fogged up so I couldn’t see all that much. Like just about everything on this trip thus far my friends and I just joked about it. We were able to see all the swans, ducks and houseboats which was cool. After that we walked around Amsterdam for a few hours. There were a few times I was startled by the women standing in the windows. I would forget that they would be there whenever there was a red light over the door and they’d walk towards the window and I jumped once or twice. I didn’t know they were all over the city. Overall, Amsterdam was very pretty and Steef and Dennis told us that the city seemed pretty dead today so there weren’t as many people out and about. I’m excited to go back with my friends and see what we want to see. We were able to go to two museums. The first was called Our Lord in the Attic. It was this old house that had a Catholic church in the attic. Catholic’s were forbidden to openly practice their religion after the reformation so this one guy made a church in his attic to have services. The houses are like 4-5 stories high but the stairs are very steep and narrow. The second museum we wen’t to was a Netherlands History type museum. It had a confusing layout but there were many cool things inside. We have a museum card which gets us into most museums for free! My friends and I had a good time taking funny pictures and seeing the displays. After we were done at the museum we were allowed to do whatever we pleased. A few of us opted to walk around the city before getting a train back to Leiden. It had finally stopped raining which was definitely a nice change.
We’re back in Leiden now and I’m getting ready to get some things done before bed. I’m excited to explore more of the Netherlands in the coming weeks/months. We start our Intensive Dutch course tomorrow at 9 AM. Can’t wait to see what that’s like. I’ve also added more pictures to my album.