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Travel: Amsterdam

By Jessica Long

Amsterdamthis past month has been a frenzy of busy schedules, visiting houseguests and tourist attractions galore – and I’ve loved every minute of it.  As I had hoped, the warmer weather in London has resulted in a more consistent work pattern for me as a horseback riding instructor; as the weather gets nicer the wave of tourist’s visiting London increases and everything about the city grows busier.  Included in this influx of tourists hoping to enjoy some sunshine in London, are our two friends from Rhode Island and my fiancé’s brother, all who planned an overlapping trip to come visit us over the course of the past few weeks. 

With a small bed and breakfast operating in our apartment, we took a short trip to Holland to give everyone a break from our close knit quarters, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to travel with friends.  Greeted by an abundance of canals, bicycles and coffee shops lining the city streets, Amsterdam proved to be as enchanting as I had imagined.  Lucky to have great weather, the buzz of the people and the beauty of the culture further enhanced the relaxed atmosphere that I’d expected.  With a one of a kind liberality, the sunshine and fluorescent signs shared their spotlights and illuminated the vibrant city squares upon all hours.

Our first stop on our vacation was the Anne Frank House, the true “must see” of Amsterdam.  I anticipated the harsh reality of the tour and the moving experience it would be, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the mixed emotions I would have upon leaving - grateful for my freedom, saddened for those without, happy to have visited the museum yet wishing it didn’t exist - the impact of the tour hit me harder than I expected and I actually found myself tearing up while exiting.

After the Anne Frank tour our day was lightened as we walked the sunny streets towards the Van Gogh museum.  Throughout college, I had The Starry Night poster stuck to my dorm room wall.  Coincidentally, the traveling piece of art was conveniently showcased in Amsterdam this past week.  As a novice art fan, it was nice to see the original painting of a print I knew so well. 

More museums and tourist sights followed the Van Gogh attraction on our first day.  We left Amsterdam just three days after we arrived and headed back to London with our small entourage.  After a brief moment to catch our breath and regroup, our third visitor of the week landed at Heathrow on Friday night and made his way towards our neighborhood.  We entered the weekend with three fellow Rhode Islanders visiting us in this new city in which we call home.  With tickets to an afternoon football match on Saturday, our excursions visiting London tourist attractions were mixed up with a taste of the English soccer culture. 

Between day trips, country hopping and familiar faces accompanying us along the way, this past month has been quite a whirlwind.  With nicer months approaching, I believe life will continue to gain momentum and remain quite busy.  More family and friends have booked vacations to London over the next couple months and we plan to jet off to other countries more frequently to enjoy the sunny weather – without a doubt the upcoming seasons will lead to more adventures and a practically permanent smile.  Bring on the sunshine!

“I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate”. – Van Gogh

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