I guess it all started way before it started, when an endless list of Spring Break permutations were all on the table. Hours were spent and unfortunately wasted trying to figure out the best way to spend the week, and finally after way too long we locked it down to
So, off to
Amsterdam. Cold, grey, but nice.
The plan in
So, the groundwork was laid by our cool apartments. We got to Dam and checked the guys into theirs. I headed down to my apartment—Jes was still in transit—and waited there for her to get in. It was about 7:30 when she called, and having already been to
After a while, we met up with the boys and went out for our first night in
After the semblance of a night’s rest, Jes and I made our way over to the guys’ apartment to find John and Sam completely in shock about the last 12 hours of their lives. You could ask them about it, but they probably wouldn’t tell ya. Nothing too bad, but nothing too good either. So Ethan came along and we went for a walk in the miserable, windy, rainy weather to get some food. We caught a soccer game at a pub that actually managed a pretty good Irish breakfast believe it or not.
From there we made it to the Van Gogh museum, where we had a chance to wait in line for 45 minutes in the ridiculous freezing cold. Finally in, we did get to see the amazing collection of Van Gogh paintings, letters, and sketches, albeit in herdlike fashion as we were ushered quickly through the entire exhibit. It was really crowded, which was too bad, because there was no chance to spend any alone time with pretty much anything.
After the Van Gogh museum, it starts to get fuzzy. The weather was so shitty and we were miserable. John had lost his phone but had made plans with Sam to meet up for dinner in a far off place called Moeder’s that was supposed to be great Dutch food. We spent an hour trekking through the canals, where the wind was easily blowing 15 knots and the air temp was easily 40 degrees without it, only to find John not there and the place full. Deep in the shitpit, we retreated to the center and did something for the rest of the night that I don’t remember. We did stop by a place called the Greenhouse, though, which is a local favorite spot in the city center. That was a good bit of fun.
Sunday morning came along and we ate some Dutch pancakes. More crappy weather. Again, don’t remember what we did. Morale was unfortunately a bit low, because we all wanted to rent bikes and explore as well as do a canal tour, but it was so EFFING cold and miserable and wet out that no one wanted to do anything but sit inside. Normally, the cold wouldn’t have been so bad, but it was raining/snowing/sleeting on and off we were all ill-prepared for it, seeing as though it was late March and not supposed to rain/snow/sleet at all.
Inside. Inside again.
Jes and I spent our last night in the apartment on Sunday. On Monday morning, I rode the tram with her up to Amsterdam Centraal where she was getting a train to the airport, en route to NYC. It was a bummer saying goodbye—the weekend came and went like that— but absolutely great to see her. The weather was a brutal, but thankfully we could have been pretty much anywhere and still had a blast. I retreated back to the apartment, packed up, and met Ethan and Sam so we could get the hell out of
As if we hadn’t spent enough, the only way to
Great lines of Paris
Tuesday: going to the Louvre! Closed. Not to worry, downstairs to the Virgin Records store to buy tickets for Wednesday in order to avoid the line. We also grabbed tickets for the Musee d’Orsay as well, which ended up being clutch. AND we picked up our tickets for
Five years later, older, maybe wiser.
So, after getting the tickets, I made sure to find the exact fountain by the Louvre and the exact bench where I sat 5 years ago with Tom when we came to
The old trainstation of the Musee d'Orsay
We made it over to the Musee d’Orsay and enjoyed a great afternoon perusing the collection of masterpieces. The museum itself is comfortable and manageable, and with our prepaid tickets we skipped a huge line. An excellent, excellent museum, set in the giant space leftover from an old train station.
Somewhere in Paris
On Tuesday night we made reservations for a really cool little French restaurant with about 10 seats occupying maybe 4 tables. The food was great and our old French waiter was a funny, funny guy. Across the room, he insisted to an American woman that the cheese plate she wanted would not be a good idea and that he did not want to give it to her because she would waste his good cheese. This went on for a while, until finally he caved, she ordered the cheese, and proceeded to waste it.
Ethan, Sam, and I, enjoyed a great dinner and a couple glasses of nice wine in this tiny little place. We discussed the meaning of life, what we were going to do when we grow up, and other things like that. It was a refreshing and relaxing three hours in the midst of what had so far been a whirlwind 4 days outside the cozy Aurelian walls of Rome. For more on Aurelian walls and Roman imperial history, please feel free to Google “Aurelian walls”.
Wednesday was Eiffel tower day. We walked up, took the elevator up, got in a fight at the top for 10 minutes about where the soccer stadium was, made a bet, and walked down pissed at each other. The view was great though. And I won the bet, which saw me get two free Mars bars. Ethan is probably still angry. How dare he question my soccer knowledge. What a fool.
Wednesday also brought the Louvre. What an effing mess. The Louvre is filled with an absolutely amazing collection of paintings, relics, sculpture, and archaeological history. It is also, unfortunately, filled with an outrageous amount of complete idiots—people, bearing cameras, walking around blindly flashing photos of oil paintings without even taking 30 seconds to look at the painting with their own eyes. At least on the day we were there, one of the most amazing collections of artwork in the entire world was reduced to a paparazzi photo shoot conducted by an incompetent, rude, and unpleasant group of humans coming from all ends of the earth to practice their amateur photography skills on priceless works of art.
800 professional photographers at the Louvre.
WHY does the Louvre allow flash photography, or photography at all in the museum? It’s so bad for the paintings, which are so good, and its so bad for the general experience and that of other museum-goers. So, Louvre, if you are reading this, lose the photography thing.
After the Louvre, Lauren showed up! We spent a couple hours together, had a few beers, pounded an awesome crepe, and headed off to THE SOCCER GAME.
After the game we met up with Lauren and had a couple more drinks before heading back to the hotel for the last night.
Thursday was the next travel day—
After said 5 minutes the cab was the best bet. A ridiculous and stressful ride out the city was to follow, constantly checking the clock. We payed the ridiculous 120 euro, split three ways, and ran into the tiny terminal with no clue how to make what needed to happen happen very fast. With bags that needed to be checked in hand, and a ridiculous scene of confusion and long lines inside the airport, we looked at the clock. 20 minutes until takeoff. Hope was failing fast until something magical happened. We got in line and asked a woman if she could save us. She said that we were fine, “baggage claim for your flight doesn’t start for 10 minutes”. Thanks a lot. Clearly false information, but we went with it. We took the plunge and went up to the guy in the handicap line and asked him what we should do. He said we were screwed. But then we said that the lady had given us the false information, so I guess he felt bad for us and decided to save the day.
This man saved Spring Break. He rapidly entered our info on the computer, checked the bags, threw them on the cart, and sent us on our way in about 120 seconds. Luckily we had bought priority boarding for 4 euros each (the best 4 euros I have ever spent), which catapulted us through the security line. With 10 minutes to go, I obviously get strip searched by the French guy. Finally through security, our priority pass gets through another line, and we end up on the plane before 90% of the people that had been clearly waiting at the airport for at least 2 hours for this flight. Flaps up, ailerons check, increase throttle, and off to Barca. Wild.
Its so wrong to do this, but the
We've seen this before.
Great things in
Barclona Pavilion, architect Mies van der Rohe (extremely famous architect and place)
Gaudi Apartment Building
Biking all over the city
Jumping into the
So. That was Spring Break. All in all, a good week—great to see Jes, great to see Beckham, great to touch down in