Waffles, beer, and chocolate: life of a rockstar
Well this weekend was quite the experience!
Thursday night I jet off to Amsterdam with six other girls (six girls = too many!), psyched up for our long weekend in Amsterdam and Brussels! So we get to Amsterdam, and find our hostel….and well, look at the picture! Haha it was great, exactly what you might expect a youth hostel in Amsterdam to look like—super steep narrow stairs, crazy/borderline creepy spray paintings on the walls, bunk beds, dirty communal toilet with no soap, haha AND us six girls were sharing a shower and sink area with the room next door, which happened to be occupied by giant scary men! Haha welllll we all managed to make it the three nights we spent there without showering once, but it was a good place to sleep and the beds were super warm and super comfy!
So Friday we did a walking tour through the city---> so great! Amsterdam is just fantastic, with the most beautiful buildings, cool houses with tons of personality, quaint little cobblestone streets, TONS of crazy bikers, and some interesting history too! And the canals!!! They weave through everything! It just amazed me how easy it was to walk around the city despite all the canals…because there were bridges everywhere! We went all around… through the red light district…saw some of the more famous coffeeshops…and just got a feel for the city while learning all sorts of fun facts!
Of course we worked up an appetite during the tour, so after we went to get some lunch at ‘Sara’s Pancakes’! Yummmm. Here’s a pic of my friend Olivia and I with our traditional Dutch mini pancakes (I forget the Dutch word for them!)…soo delicious!
The Anne Frank House was the perfect spot to hit while it rained…It was really cool to see, and chilling to walk through the Secret Annex and see/read/watch some of the displays.
On Saturday we rented bikes!!!! This was the best thing ever! Being on a bike in Amsterdam is like a power trip; pedestrians AND cars yield to bikes! So we hit some more sites (Like the ‘I amsterdam’ sign) via bike, grabbed some lunch, and also dropped by a cool bohemianish street market! Also, the people in Amsterdam were noticeable more friendly than in other cities. Everyone was just so approachable and eager to help and strike up a conversation! Love that! So all in all, Amsterdam was clearly great, and I liked it so much more than I expected to! It would definitely be a fun place to live for a little!
Sunday morning we were up bright and early on a train to Brussels! And Brussels was like a day and a half of waffles, chocolate, and beer----> a.k.a. best day and a half ever! There weren’t many tourist spots that we had to make our rounds to, so we just strolled to the Grand Place, and walked all around the city, seeing different sites as we continued along. Grand Place had some super big, beautiful, gaudy buildings, and also some cute taverns, cafés, and chocolate shops scattered throughout as well! We got our first meal here at a cute café. WAFFLES. Heaven on earth. I got a waffle with chocolate, whipped cream, and strawberries. Seriously, it was unlike any waffle I’ve ever tried and it was just amazing! One difference I noticed was that they make their waffles with dough, rather than batter like we do in the US. So it was almost like a fried dough waffle. Covered in sugar. Right down my alley!
I got an interesting feel for the buildings in Brussels. Like some of them were typical European, quaint, cute streets, fun buildings. And then the important ones (We saw the Royal Palace, Parliament, Cathedral, and some others)were just SO BIG and kind of ornate and intense. They were definitely beautiful, but they almost stood out from the other buildings too much for my liking. We hit up acool market in Brussels as well with all sorts of independent vendors and artists and jewelers. Very cool!
…….oh, the Mannekin Pis! This statue of the little boy peeing is so famous and I was just dying to see it, and it was hysterical, but such a letdown! Haha I can’t figure out why this thing is famous! It’s like the size of a cabbage patch doll and it’s just on a street corner-not even in the center of a square or anything! How comical!
With a good portion of the afternoon left, we decided to break up our walks with pit stops in Belgian cafes and taverns for some Belgian beer! This was so fun because I am definitely starting to enjoy some good beers so it was great to try some new ones! My Belgian friend in Barcelona told me that Patatas Frittes (French fries) are best in Belgium so I had to try some with my first Belgian beer of the day at our first stop at a delicious Fritteria! The fries were great (I got them with curry ketchup!) and I got a Hoegaarden—also great! Others throughout the weekend included Leffe, Affligem, Duvel, Kriek Mystic (a cherry beer that tasted like a melted cherry popsicle mixed with champagne and a splash of beer!) I actually liked them all! But I think my favorites were Hoegaarden and Affligem.
And the delicious chocolate shops! Each one was like a mini piece of heaven because almost all of them gave out free samples! Some had people making truffles in the windows, others had chocolate fountains! Kind of like Willy Wonka Land! I clearly went crazy, and I think I stopped in like thirty + chocolate shops, not exaggerating! And I got some to bring back to the states—haha hopefully I won’t eat it before then!!
Lastly, before heading to the airport, I got a waffle from a street vendor! It was also amazing! There are waffle trucks all over the place as well! So funny!
So the story’s not over!! We got to the airport, and after three hours of waiting, our flight was cancelled because of snow in the Barcelona area!! So we got a flight for the next morning, and spent the night in a nearby hotel, that just happened to serve a delicious dinner and a mean hot chocolate haha! BUT our morning flight was cancelled too! So we spent the whole day stranded in the hotel lobby at a hotel where only one staff member spoke English! Imagine what this must have been like with six girls who have already had too much of each other! Tense! But really none of us could complain because we were stuck in Belgium! How bad can that be!? We finally made it back home at 1am Tuesday night!
Ohhhhhh the life of a euro traveler! Next up…Sevilla TOMORROW!