My Twenty-First Birthday in Amsterdam

Sam Astorga
April 3, 2017

Boat tours, bicycling, tulips, mayonnaise fries, and things that happen in Amsterdam that have stayed in Amsterdam. Well it’s all in good fun, and such was my birthday celebration in Amsterdam.

I arrived directionally confused since every canal looked like the other, but I eventually found my way. Arriving at the hostel, I was very surprised at the quality of my accommodation; it had a window view into the canal from the bed.

Except I did not spend much time in the hostel. Unfortunately, my friend Jack got sick, so he could not join me on the trip. But this did not deter me from the usual antics, getting food and reading. So I went to a café right on the canal and had some beef croquets. While I counted down the hours to the 31st, I walked along the canals getting a feel for the city.

While the downtown and touristy areas are interesting in the city, I found Amsterdam at its best in its calmer residential areas or even at the Waterlooplein flea market. And my experience with a lot of the major sights reflected this affinity of the smaller things in Amsterdam as well.

 Unfortunately, I did not get to go to the Anne Frank house, but with my schedule as it was, I don’t think I would have had time. Instead on the first day, I went to see the Van Gogh museum and do the Heineken tour (which included a boat ride as well). Van Gogh’s art impressed me, because like Picasso, he painted in multiple genres, even some that looked like Japanese lithographs. The most impressive thing about seeing Van Gogh in person is looking at the texture of his paintings- something that does not translate to a screen. As for the Heineken Tour, it and the boat tour were decent. The best part was going to A’DAM lookout and getting a sky-high view of the city.

But my favorite museum experience of all in Amsterdam was the Rembrandt museum. While it was small, it was a lot less crowded than the Van Gogh museum, and it recreated some of the rooms Rembrandt actually lived in. One interesting fact was that people in Amsterdam, at that time, lived in bed closets that forced them to sleep upright, because it was believed that good bed posture lead to better health.

But of course, I cannot make a post about my birthday without discussing what I had for dinner. And for this, I decided to have Indonesian food. It was a hybrid between Indian and Thai food in my opinion. Most of the dishes I cannot describe in detail because it was such an emotional food experience, but I will say that the satay and yellow rice were amazing. And it was wonderful to have dinner with my IES Abroad friends, Emma and Molly (who also came to Amsterdam this weekend) on my birthday to eat with me and talk about Game of Thrones.

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Sam Astorga

<p>Greetings, welcome to my blog! My name is Sam, and I grew up in South Pasadena as well as books. I am majoring in history and minoring in Russian language at Occidental College, but I always dreamed of studying Irish history and literature. This semester I am going to attend the Trinity College Direct Transfer program.</p>

2017 Spring
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