Monday, April 20, 2015

Recap of a trip 13 years ago {Amsterdam: July 2002}

After spending a week in Stockholm for a clarinet convention, and taking a long ass train ride from Stockholm to Hamburg (and almost getting attacked by swans) we took yet another train ride to Amsterdam to spend a few days.

We celebrated my 20th birthday while in Amsterdam. Of course I had to go all meta and take a photo in front of this movie poster for "Birthday Girl" movie starring Nicole Kidman (which I had never heard of or saw).
We walked around a lot. That big cool looking building is "Magna Plaza" which is a shopping mall.
Typical Amsterdam canal shot.

We went to the HRC to celebrate my birthday. (see a theme developing here?)
We took a tour of the Heineken brewery, which was really cool. I always enjoyed taking the Busch beer tour at Busch Gardens in Tampa. BUT, at the end of the tour I didn't even take a sample of the beer, I opted for lemonade instead. I did not like beer at all back then- plus I was not 21, so I did not drink in University for fear of getting busted at a party (ok ok I did try beer a beer a few times but it was GROSS!). That was a phone call I never wanted to make to my parents...
I decided to not to trade my clarinets for a sweet Heineken drum set... although maybe I should have.

Another iconic Amsterdam canal shot.
Magna Plaza in the distance.
We did go to a couple of museums while in Amsterdam. We went to the Van Gogh museum and surprisingly did not see "Starry night" but I fell in love with "Wheat field with Crows."

We also went to the Anne Frank house. It was so sad and powerful to see the place where Anne and her family hid during the war, until they were found. I'm not usually into touristy things, but this would be a "must see" because of the human element. I had read "Diary of a Young Girl" before the trip, so all those thoughts and emotions were pretty fresh when we visited the house.
And yet another classic canal shot.
We explored a bit by foot in Amsterdam, but overall I wasn't too impressed because it seemed dirty (smelled of weed and sewage) and just wasn't my style at the time,
Of course, we walked through the red light district.
And I took a photo in the famous wooden shoe like a good tourist that I was.
During this leg of the trip I found out my grandmother had passed away on my birthday. She had gone into the hospital a week or 2 before I left for Europe with another heart attack and wasn't doing well. I saw her the day or 2 before I left for this trip and we communicated as best we could with her having a breathing tube. I was the last person in my family to see her cognizant. I did not go back for the funeral because I'm sure my grandma would have wanted me to continue on the trip- but also because I wanted to remember that last interaction with her instead of something much more somber.
After a few days it was time to head to our final destination. So back to the train station we went.

Next up on these lame ass recaps of a trip 13 years ago: PARIS!!


  1. What a fun trip!!!!!! I hope to one day get to travel some, with Italy number one on my list, and Spain up near the top too!!

    1. Oh yeah! Italy and Spain are near the top of my list too! You'll make it there and enjoy every single second :)

  2. Wow, you took a brewery tour and did not drink any beer?!! Are you sure it was you on that trip and not a blonde look-alike?! Ha! :)

    1. Ha ha ha I've come a long way since those non beer drinking, mudslide loving days ;)

  3. I echo Pete's comment - are we sure there wasn't some wannabe Xaarlin out there, impersonating you? (although, I'd probably skip the beer on a Heineken tour now - not so much when I was in my early 20's!)

    1. I'd actually try it now- because it probably tastes better fresh. I can enjoy the non "whale" beers from time to time ;)

  4. Aww man, so sad about your grandma passing during the trip! It's nice you were able to see her right before you went! I had a family member pass when I lived in Rome and I felt so isolated there, grieving alone. Wah wah wah.

    When did you start becoming more interested in beer?