The Netherlands and Belgium
10/26/2012 - 10/29/2012
This fine weekend in Europe we decided to meet my good buddy Greg Heitmann in The Netherlands and Belgium. He is working near Brussels for his company and decided to spend a nice weekend with us.
Amsterdam was one city I had a different perspective of before arriving. My initial thought was that it was going to be a slower city near the water with nice people and all that jazz. Haha, yea right. It was like the European New York city. Scooters and bicyclists zooming everywhere nearly running you over. It was crazy, but enjoyable at the same time. Regardless of its hustle and bustle it was still a fine city at that.
With hundreds of canals and waterways running through the whole city, it was something very different to explore and enjoy. Of course there were ridiculous amounts of pot heads and things of that nature but we managed to find our own enjoyment while in Amsterdam.
The first day started with a 4:40 am train ride towards Amsterdam so we could arrive at our hostel somewhere around 1pm. It wasnt so bad even though the hostel was 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam in Haarlem. The commute wasnt so bad so we went back to Amsterdam and decided to explore while we waited for Greg to meet us after he got out of work. We enjoyed some Netherlands style food and zig-zagged our way through the different alley ways as well. Once Greg arrived we grabbed a late dinner and went to the bar for a few Heineken beers (which are everywhere).
The second day was one of seeing what Amsterdam had to offer. Since we had a late night before hand, the 970 Perry group (myself, Brandon, Clint and Greg) decided to sleep in and catch up with our other group members around lunch for a canal cruise of the city. The canal cruise was fairly interesting as it showed more of what Amsterdam had to offer than what I imagined, with it being a critical trading city in the early years. The canal cruise set us up for some afternoon activities within Amsterdam exploring different parts of the city that we didnt see the day prior. The group of us decided to buy some tickets and make a reservation for an Ice Bar. Yea, an Ice Bar. It was pretty awesome. They had an outside lounge area where we could indulge in drinks and then they had specific times where we would actually enter the Ice Bar for 45 minutes or so, enjoy few free drinks and then make our way out. Everything was made out of ice; the walls, chairs, benches and sculptures. Even our cups where made out of ice. It made the beer you were drinking that much more delicious. We all had a great time for sure. Not to many people can say they have been in a bar made completely out of ice.
Afterwards we went to the same bar we did the first night just as a cool down before we made our way to Belgium the next day. A few of us met this guy born in Seattle who is now living in Amsterdam. I have never met someone so versatile in finances and travel. I could have talked to him for hours and hours still learning new things, and he was only in his early 30's at the oldest. I am investing as soon as I have enough cash to do so. Global money market funds and CD's, thats my start. He bought us a few rounds of beer and then we left in order to get a good nights rest.
The next day was an early one to make it to Brussels, Belgium. Brussels was a much cleaner city, beautiful architecture and pleasant, less busy people. We roamed around after finding a nice hotel for only 22 euro a night per person. 180 euro a night hotel room and we got it for 22 a person. It was an awesome lofted room with 4 beds and a huge bathroom. It was great! Anyway, we got a cheap lunch and made our way through some shops and the city center exploring what Brussels had to offer. We walked around seeing what Brussels had to offer, like our Belgium hot chocolate we had. Simply amazing stuff right there, even with little squares of chocolate to melt in the drink. We also had it in mind to find a bar called Delirium that a few of my friends from Esslingen, Germany told me about. Over 2000 beers and over 250 of them on tap. It was a great place, amazing atmosphere and 3 different "sections" of places to sit and enjoy worldly brews. After the bar, we said goodbye to Greg since he had to be at work the following morning. So, Clint was craving some muscles (Muscles in Brussels, lol) so we went up and down this little side street near the city center finding a reasonable place. We did. A 3 course meal for 12 euro. We hog smashed some steak while Clint and Ethan enjoyed their muscles. All in all, it was a fantastic day, simply content with how everything worked out.
In the end, Amsterdam was a great city, one that I can check off my to-visit list. Brussels on the other hand is one city I will be visiting soon. One day in Brussels does not set the tone right for how much it has to offer. Before my trip ends, I will visit that city again, hopefully to buy some fresh Belgian chocolates before Christmas too!