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J Mac’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2006

MapHowdy folks, yes, another long one!

Ah, Amsterdam! You all know the score... hash, hedonism and extreme culture. It was such a good trip, I can't really describe the greatness. There is so much to Amsterdam beyond the stereotypes. The trip from here to there was relatively short, about 45 minutes on the plane from London but a four (ish) hour ride on the bus to London from Swansea. Luckily, I was with the funniest people in the world who kept me entertained.

The atmosphere in the city is amazing, very chilled. The city is vast with 17th century architecture, canals, galleries, museums, cafes and bars. We accomplished quite a bit during our time there. The most memorable place I visited was the Anne Frank house. The place where the famous dairy was written and compelling remainders of the Nazi horrors. It was depressing, walking through the annex but I think it a place everyone should visit at least once in their lives to see the sacrifices these people were forced to make. Humanity can be very nasty. At the same time i felt inspired to stand up and become more informed on human rights issues facing the world today. There is too much silliness out there.

The Van Gogh museum was very nice and insightful since I didn't realize how depressing his life was but I was somewhat disappointment since I always thought his painting "Starry Night" was in this gallery but it wasn't. We also got a little tipsy at the Heineken Brewery, took a boat canal tour, ate a lot of really bad for us food, visited the sex museum (which was really tacky and gross), walked around for hours and spent time at some of those special coffee shops they have there.

I had a really nice surprise on the Friday morning since my friend Ally came to visit me. Ally was an exchange student at Brock from the Netherlands last year. She lived in my residence building. We promised that if I came to the Netherlands we would meet up. We wrote a few emails back and fourth, but we never got anything confirmed. So, on the Friday morning I was sitting in the hostel with a group of my mates and she walked in looking for me. She traveled 3 hours from Groningen to see me. It was so nice to catch up with her. She may come over to the UK once she is done school for the year.

Now I am trying to catch up on the school I missed last week, its funny how quickly it piles up. I am going to be in Swansea now for the next six weeks, good time for me to get organized and spend some time in the library.

Happy Valentine's Day! Although I despise the day, I feel it is utterly a commercial scheme, I will always love my family and I will always love my friends and what can I say... I like chocolate. Have a fine day!