My friend Shelley and my aunt Caroline both went to Amsterdam in the last two weeks, which is coincidentally fairly close to where I live. So I decided to meet up with each of them. In truth, I probably would have met up with them whereever they went. But Amsterdam is nice too. I'm glad I went, both times. I haven't seen Shelley in 4 years or so, and I always like hanging out with my aunt.
Stefanie and I drove there as a day trip to see Shelley. 3.5 hours each way, not so bad. We mostly just hung out and sat in cafes. But there were some notable experiences. I learned all about cannibus at the marajuana museum, we ate these delicious deep fried gravy balls (don't knock it until you've tried it), and we took in some of the local street entertainment (see picture to the right). This guy was awesome on so many levels. The man himself seems fairly old for doing this, and seems like there might be a screw loose as well, but this just makes the show that much better. His first act is to trip down to that thong he's wearing. He does a little dancing around to his music, then he climbs the rope and does several corde lisse tricks holding certain positions. Finally, he walks around with a tray asking for money, still in his thong. You don't usually find something this unique very often. Some people say that it's a bit disturbing and you don't want to see it, but then they can't take their eyes away from him. I, sir, applaud you.
I took the train to see my aunt and stayed overnight. I dropped my bag off at my hostel and then went to the meeting point I scheduled with my aunt. I was a little late, so I was surprised when I didn't see her there. It's not like my aunt to be late for something like this, but I waited around a bit more before I accecpted the fact that she stood me up. I finally found her 5 hours after we were supposed to meet. She thought we were meeting on the following day. I told her about the old guy doing rope tricks and she was totally into it. It's too bad that we never got to see his show. Apparently he doesn't keep to a schedule. Instead, we went to a few historical sights and took a nice informal boat tour with the St. Nicolaas boat club, where we saw the smallest house in Amsterdam and maybe got in one of the Google street view pictures when the car went by. I'm still looking for the street view picture.
Other than that I didn't really learn much more about the Netherlands, other than the fact that Holland is only a small part of the Netherlands. Eventhough the Dutch guy at work always says Holland when he reffers to the whole country.
In other news, I also went to Salzburg, Austria last weekend, but I will save the details until after my trip to Vienna in two weeks. Then I will have more insights on Austria. The next trip after that is a joint trip to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.