Visit from an old friend

This weekend my friend Jen, who is studying in Paris this semester, came to visit me. She arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday, so Lori and I took the (majorly delayed) train out to meet her. Once we got into Amsterdam, we headed to the Van Gogh Museum. We walked through Dam Square and down some of the major streets to get there. On the way, we walked through a really cool flea market. The impressionism exhibit that shared a location with the Van Gogh museum was closed, so it didn't take long. I think the souvenir shopping took longer than the actual exhibit did because of all the cute little things they had. I ended up picking up two postcards of my favorite Van Gogh, one for me and one to send to Kevin.

We decided to wander after the museum and we came across the most amazing chocolate shop. A word of advice to all you chocolate lovers: if you ever see a cinnamon flavored chocolate, buy it. They are surprisingly hard to find and they are amazing. This chocolate shop, Puccini, happened to have them so I bought one and it was just as amazing as I had hoped. 

After the chocolate store, we walked off in a direction I had never been before. Of course it was as beautiful as the rest of Amsterdam and it had a massive canal with shops running along it. We somehow made our way back to one of the main streets and browsed the shops a little bit. There was a really cool print shop on the main street and we went in. I bought a much needed calendar made up of work of art from my newly discovered favorite artist, Gustav Klimt. We ended up in Leidsplein and found a little Italian restaurant to have dinner in. I had an olive and caper pizza, which I used to eat all the time as a kid. 

Lori and I had to make it back to school to work on a group project, so we headed back to Utrecht pretty early that night. Jen and I were both exhausted, so we called it an early night. On Friday, I took the day to show Jen around Utrecht. We started off with brunch at my school dining hall and headed out into the city. We started off by bussing down to the train station and walked all the way back from there. We did some shopping, got some traditional Dutch candies, did some sightseeing, and lots and lots of walking. I showed her the Oude Gracht and Dom Tower. We found a really cool bar that I had been to before called Lebowski, so we took a break from walking and relaxed. 

We finished the walk back and bought some groceries since Jen practically devoured my whole jar of peanut butter in 5 minutes. We made it back to my school pretty early and dropped off all the things we were carrying. Anton joined us for dinner and we tried out the Restaurant de Pier. We got some delicious seafood and spent a long time talking. We spent a while in my room talking also and we called it another early night...except that I was up until 3 am trying to work things out with my banks back home. Apparently they do not want me going to the UK from spring break. Or apparently, they did not want me coming back from the UK after spring break. Either way, everything finally worked out with the help of my amazing dad. 

We started off Saturday morning by biking to the Theehuis Rhijnauwen, that pancake place in the woods. It was a beautiful ride in the daylight. It looked so different from whenI had gone at night in the snow. After our breakfast excursion, we hopped back on a train to Amsterdam. Again we went to part of Amsterdam that I had never really seen before, the Centrum. Jen discovered that the amazing chocolate shop from Thursday had two locations, so we hunted down the other one. They were far less friendly than the other shop, but it was still a means to and end and we had more chocolates :) We strolled around this shopping area and found an amazing thrift store. It's taking all my self control not to spend all of my money on grandpa sweaters. This place is a haven for people like me who love vintage oversized sweaters. After we got all of our shopping urges out of the way, we headed back towards the center of town and found some interesting street art along the way. We all know how much I love the street art of Amsterdam. 

Jen showed me a really cool store that she had found the other day and we stopped by on our way to another weird museum. It had a bunch of really cool little knick knacks that I wanted and also some awesome travel booklets that I should have bought. We worked up an appetite walking around so much, so we headed to the Red Light District to get something to eat. There was an overwhelming amount of people there and we found sanctuary in The Cheese Factory. It was a quiet little place in the dead center of the Red Light District. I had a ball of mozzarella with avocado salad inside. We had a pretty view of one of the major canals out the restaurant window, and we grabbed some cheese samples on the way out.

We parted ways at the train station and I headed back to Utrecht by myself. It was so nice catching up with a friend from home who has known me since I was young. I will hopefully be visiting her in Paris in not too long. 


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