It’s a great thing that people in Amsterdam speak English because trying to read Dutch train signs is like uncovering the secrets hidden deep beneath the left paw of the Sphinx.
We finally made it – after paying approximately $300 extra, that is. Yes, we missed our original flight to Amsterdam. Why, you ask? That’s not important. Let’s move on. It was a grim Friday morning, indeed. We stood pale faced in the open spaces of Barajas airport and slowly made our way back to the metro stop, dragging our bags like a pack of sad, unsatisfied Spanish matadors after a bull fight policy change.
Back in the apartment, or trap house, as we like to refer to it, the mood was bland, and the air was stagnant, the environment solemn. I couldn’t be there. I left and spent the day somewhere else. When I got back, at around eight-ish, my untraveled roommates had dropped the cry-baby attitude and told me they had bought a ticket for the next day. Amsterdam was back on the to-do list.
Now, to make a boring story much shorter, I will summarize the events that took place that Friday night. I got a flight to Amsterdam for the next morning. Woohoo!
Thanks to a friend of ours, we were welcomed by a friendly, humble Dominican household, ready with a delicious breakfast, which was desperately needed. After that, we headed for the center, the beautiful and old center. You see, Amsterdam is a city that grew from within, and so the deeper you go towards the middle, the older it gets. The roads turn into a stoned pathway and the buildings give sight into the old Dutch style, which, much like its people, seems to be tall and thin.
The streets start looking like narrow hallways in a labyrinth filled with chattering locals and tourists. The shops’ lights entangle your eyes and force you helpless to their windows, displaying food, clothing, souvenirs, sex toys and even beautiful women, who practice their national right to participate in the world’s oldest profession. The latter, situated in the famous (and infamous) Red Light district, are indicated by red-light tubes on the top frame of their windows. Obviously, the red light isn’t what gives it away, but it is an industry mandate to own such an indicator if you are to use your leased space for sex work. This I learned in the prostitution museum. I don’t just know these things, you know.
After stopping by a café and eating some tasty foods, we headed off to the museum of torture. This was after our visit to the museum of prostitution, which was our first museum visit in the city. There was no meaning in the order of our visits; we just walked into places that seemed interesting.
The torture museum was… too real. It had all your basic classical torture devices and some not so well known. I must admit, every time I realized that all these instruments of pain were actually used on real human beings, I felt an ugly, distinct, heavy feeling in my gut. It’s hard to explain, as is hard to believe that once upon a time we did these things to one another. But, alas, we must move on, before this starts getting dark and depressing. Oh, speaking of dark and depressing, we also visited the Anne Frank museum. This was a mellow, inspiring experience. Also, it was pretty neat to be inside the building of which I read so much as a middle schooler.
Then, Body Worlds! We decided to spend our last hours in the breath-taking city looking at an exhibit of real human bodies. It was awesome. I know that’s a basic way of describing it, but, you know what? It was awesome. Go ahead and get yourself into one of their exhibits. It’s totally worth it.
Satisfied and wanting more, we left the Dutch country and, almost three hours later, we were back in Madrid, where you can fill your belly silly with tapas and hear the word “vale” seventeen times in one sentence!