From A-Town to Haarlem and Back Again

Witnessed a beautiful Dutch beach and a Dutch drug scandal and arrest in the past three days, so I think I covered some of the biggest aspects of the Netherlands this weekend! It’s been two weeks and I have something exciting to see every day still. Nat and I decided we will do one touristy thing a week, and try one new bar a week. My readers will be as up to date on hot Dutch happenings as someone that lives here is!

Saturday was a beautiful day for the beach. Although slightly chilly, a combination of ISN friends and Gevleweg friends planned an outing to Haarlem where we went to Woodstock 69 at Bloemendaal beach. Haarlem is a 15 minute train and then a 15 minute bus ride away from Central Station, so very doable and also cheap. Woodstock 69 is a beach club that looks like a much larger Cosmic Cafe (for my familiar Dallasites), and last Saturday they hosted the Making Waves music festival. Small bands performed onstage while the audience could sit on cushions and couches on the sand before them, or at picnic tables outside of a cool indoor bar. We stuck around for Third Floor Magic and Aestrid, then walked along the beach. The Atlantic (or technically North Sea…) was absolutely freezing so we only got our feet wet. Still, it was great to get away from the city for a little bit with some friends. We got back in time to make dinner and have a girls night out (Nat, Jas and me) at Sugar Factory, only to finish the night at a fries shop at 4am. They even had Dr. Pepper, so basically, it was heaven.

The group before leaving Bloemendaal, what a glorious (but chilly) day!

The group before leaving Bloemendaal, what a glorious (but chilly) day!

Woodstock 69 (shout out to Jim, again!)

Woodstock 69 (shout out to Jim, again!)

Some Dutch boys (frat boys, we assumed) who were more than happy to pose for my picture

Some Dutch boys (frat boys, we assumed) who were more than happy to pose for my picture

Sunday was a nothing day for me, but like I said before, those days are necessary. I mopped the apartment (which is still dirty from the previous residents, ew) and gave away one of our two fridges to Iga. I also decided to make some good southern chili, minus the green chilis because those don’t exist here! Skyping with Zack and my parents at night was pretty necessary; I miss everyone at home but at the same time absolutely love it here. I had to see Pixie’s little face since it had been a while.

Ah, Monday was another day of adventures! Since winter is coming (GoT anyone?) Nat and I figured heavy-duty rain jackets (or macs, as she calls them) are really necessary. We went to some expensive outdoor stores but ended up finding good ones at a Sports Authority-equivalent. Mine says stuff about sailing and “marine” so I think it’s a quality wind and waterproof purchase, which is exactly what was needed! On the hunt we stopped in an adorable miniature Central Market (called Marqt) for some breakfast, and I found the huge clogs that are on Instagram and below that I just had to take a picture in. We cycled into the city center to find a vintage store, Zipper, that Nat had been to the last time she was in Amsterdam. It was the best one I’ve seen in a while. Plenty of 80’s windbreakers, overalls (that I tried on but didn’t buy, kind of regretting that now) and flannel. We also stopped at the only Aldi close to our neighborhood to pick up cheap basics (the Aldis here win awards for their fruit and vegetables, who knew!) which was good and fun until Nat’s shopping bag, then bottle of fabric softener, got caught in her front tire and sprayed the entire street. I couldn’t stop laughing. That night was fajita night at a friend’s apartment; I contributed some queso, which was made with Gouda and again no green chilis, but I tried. At least we had fun talking about which concerts are must-sees this semester.

Adorable sparkling juice at Marqt, of course the Dutch would package things like this!

Adorable sparkling juice at Marqt, of course the Dutch would package things like this!

Hanging out in supersized clogs, must find one big enough to sit in!

Hanging out in supersized clogs, must find one big enough to sit in!

Today was a solo adventure for me, and I loved it. I started with trying to find a yoga studio in South Amsterdam (right near the Rijksmuseum) that has great student deals, but I believe they were closed. I will find out eventually, and have unlimited yoga classes to keep me calm and happy when winter hits. When I failed at ringing their doorbell multiple times, I took refuge in a cafe for a sparkling iced tea (these are my newest addiction, which, out of the addictions possible in Amsterdam, isn’t too bad. All drinks here are sparkling, but sparkling iced tea is pretty good!). I had noticed a man pretty much passed out outside of the window, but he had an Albert Hein bag so I thought maybe we was napping from a long day of grocery shopping. I quickly figured out he wasn’t supposed to be there when two bicycle policemen showed up (policemen here are very attractive if I might add) and handcuffed him. If I spoke Dutch I might have learned what was happening, but I honestly have no idea. I assume drugs. What was my next move? Take a picture of course!

My entertainment for midday

My entertainment for midday

After the scandal cleared I walked around Leidseplein (my first time during the day) and found many cool shops. I bought some postcards of Dutch art at Art Unlimited and ended up strolling around where all of the galleries are (they all had 1913-2013 banners, so I assume they are supporting the centennial of the Rijksmuseum). While I walked down the street, a woman on a bicycle’s purse flew off, and I decided to run into the road and get it for her. I know this will happen to me, so I figured I might as well gain some good karma while I can.

Keith Haring (and my feet) at Art Unlimited. Also the steepest staircase ever. Love how all the stores are multiple floors here!

Keith Haring (and my feet) at Art Unlimited. Also the steepest staircase ever. Love how all the stores are multiple floors here!

My first class started tonight; oddly enough, the Tuesday night portion of my Food Production class is only focused on “academic English” since most kids in my class are Dutch. The class focuses on how to write good academic papers, and the miniature assignments total 20% of our grade for Food Production. So yeah, it is slightly a waste of my time, but I get to meet cute Dutch people and maybe even help them with writing. They are the same people that are in my seminar class and lab, and as soon as I saw them, I realized they are exactly like the students I go to school with at Pitzer (natural, messy buns, sandals, the environmental science “look” must be universal). I cycled to Science Park with Nathan and Catherine, both Americans (from the South even) in my program. We took a route that stayed close to the north coast of Amsterdam and it was very beautiful. Usually I bike there past the zoo, so at least this time the journey smelled a little better.

I’m expecting a good end to the week and another Dutch adventure this weekend, probably to the outdoor Dutch history museum that is quaint and touristy but also fun/necessary. We’ll see how much I can keep up once real school lectures start tomorrow, but I will always make time for at least a few lengthy paragraphs ;]

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