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What a Week...

Lots of erratic things going on, but first. Amsterdam.



Friday was a bit of a nightmare. I think too many days of minimal sleep finally caught up with me, had a headache airport onwards. Tried to get rid of it with water and no electronics, but had to throw in the towel around 8 or take a hammer to my head. Before then though, I spent the afternoon wandering around town (and getting lost, again!) looking for the street with really great shops on it that I loved last time. Took about 3 hours to get there, at which point I realised it really wasn't that far from my hotel, and I'd just gone the wrong way. Geography, thy name is not D...

Sadly, the anime/vidgame store wasn't as good this time. The DID have things I wanted, just more expensive that I could get them online. Also ate from Wok to Walk on the grounds that I was starving and it smelled SO good.

Saturday I was woken up by the bells of the nearby church (or the town hall - wasn't sure - there were a LOT of bells where I was), and decided to go to Artis Zoo.

The original plan was to hire a bike, but I couldn't find anywhere that did, so walked the 90 minute hike.
Artis was pretty great. For one thing, nearly every animal had babies, and almost all of them were extremely photogenic. Seemed everywhere I went they were right there in a great position to watch. Favourite part was the red ruffed lemurs, whose enclosure was completely open so they scatter all around you.

Course after walking there and spending 4 hours on my feet, there was no way I was gonna walk home, so instead got a tram back - and headed over to the Amsterdam Dungeon on a whim. Was a little reluctant to go in, but figured it couldn't be that bad since kids were allowed in. Only real problem was that it ate the last of the days cash - thanks to a flea market, a smooth talking sales man and a very cool skirt, I'd been running dry all day. Turns out, no worries. More entertaining than scary, though the roller coaster at the end was pathetic. For my money, get rid of it or replace it, pronto.

At night I had a choice of either a walking tour of the Red Light District or a canal tour. Weather was pretty awful, so picked the canal tour. First though, went to the Rancho Grill for the steak dinner I've been dreaming of having again since last year.

Of course...because I'd been talking it up in my head so much it was probably gonna be disappointing no matter what. Was far too dry considering it was medium rare.

The canal cruise was a smart choice as it began raining not long before it started. Great to finally see Amsterdam from the canals. Afterwards went home and watched random TV (300, Knights Tale and To Love and Die) before calling it a night.

Booked my ONE half day tour the night before, so had several hours of morning to kill, so walked around town and did the Amsterdam Museum. It was pretty chilly so indoors was good. The temporary DNA exhibit was really interesting. Had just enough time to eat at Sara's pancake House which I'd been passing on the street all weekend.

The tour was for the full afternoon, and started with a trip to a delft pottery factory, followed by a tour of Delft itself. Lovely picturesque little city - however, after our free time, one family was a full 20 minutes late getting back on, which may have cut our time short. We had a bus tour of the inter city of Hague - which by-the-by, I HAVE to visit again, it looks awesome - but never got out of the bus except for one stop outside the Peace Palace. After that it was onwards to Madurodam, which is a park with all of the Netherlands famous locations built to scale. Great fun for photo bombing, though trying to do it with a timer didn't always work out.

Of course, for all the fun I had, I paid for it on Monday. By the time I actually left the hotel, I was running a little bit behind. Made worse by the fact that I realised I didn't have enough money for the tram AND the train - and I knew from the airport that the ticket machines wont take either of my cards (refuse AE, no CLUE about the Visa). Meaning I had to walk to the train station, missing my intended train, and discovering that on top of not taking my cards, they only take COINS...I had a 5 euro note. So I had to wait in the queue to buy a ticket from person...which was VERY, VERY long. Que missing NEXT train. I'm literally at a point where I have to get the next train or I'm in big trouble. Thankfully I do (along with quite a few people leaving onto the train with a lot of luggage - do not question how fast people with cargo can move when they're desperate).

Get to the airport, walk to my check in...OH DEAR GOD. Its a swarming mass of people. Made worse by the fact that no matter what queue you're in, you always end up behind the people who cannot speak English or Dutch, who have brought too much luggage than they've paid for, and the attendants have to drag other people from the queue to be be translators. Finally got through, and had just under 30 minutes before check in. NEVER AGAIN.

So that was my trip - had a great time - need to do more little breaks. On the other hand? I've been in a funk all week since coming back. No desire to do anything, even get depressed at the concept of doing anything, then feel even worse for NOT doing the things I could have been doing. Really hoping it wears off for the weekend - I really need to get back on track if I want to gut my room for moving, FINALLY start going to TKD more seriously, and be ready for Amecon.

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