When Matt and I moved to Amsterdam, we were under the impression that we’d only be living here until September 1st. Nothing is official yet, but the word on the street is that we’ll actually be here until the end of November! It’s super exciting, but I do wish we’d known earlier because then we wouldn’t have been trying to squeeze in so much at once. That’s exactly what happened in these last two weeks. We had five of our closest friends in and out of our apartment, their visits all overlapping with one another, from Tuesday, June 21st until this past Tuesday, July 5th. It was truly a Friendsapalooza.
Our first friend to visit was Wade, Matt’s best friend since 7th grade. Matt works during the week, so Wade and I spent his first few days exploring Amsterdam together. We walked around de Pijp and stopped at Albert Cuypmarkt for a fresh stroopwaffel. We visited the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House Museum, and the MOCO Museum to see the latest Banksy and Warhol exhibits. When Matt came home from work, we’d all go to bars like Brouwerij ‘t IJ and Hoppe. We ate traditional Dutch pancakes at de Carrousel, delicious Indian food at Shahjahan, and an amazing Indonesian rijstaffel dinner at Kantjil de Tijger. I’d say we did a pretty good job of showing Wade around our new city.
Wade was visiting Europe for a total of 11 days, so we all took a weekend trip to Paris. Although I took the train for my first trip to Paris, a flight is much cheaper and shorter. On our first day, we explored the Louvre for about five hours (pack snacks—do not make our mistake!) and then enjoyed a few happy hour beers and a cheese plate at a cafe near our hostel. We were so tired from being at the Louvre all day that we ended up just going back to our hostel and drinking wine with two lovely German girls who were also staying there. We stayed up way too late, but it was really fun getting to know them. And now we’re all friends on social media, so we can keep in touch. The power of the Internet!
The next day, we took the Germans’ advice and bought tickets for the Batobus, a shuttle boat that travels along the Seine and allows you to get off and on as often as you please all day. We boarded near the Louvre and rode the boat to the Eiffel Tower. There’s currently a huge fan zone area set up near the Eiffel Tower for people to watch the Euro football games, so it was pretty rowdy. We took our obligatory photos and then walked around the surrounding neighborhood to explore.
We picked up some wine and bread on our way back to the boat, which we drank and ate while sitting along the Seine. We rode the boat to Notre Dame, where we bought another bottle of wine and a few snacks to eat in the park nearby. That evening, we took the funicular to the top of Montmartre to see the city from one of its highest spots. Of course, we took another bottle of wine to enjoy with the view. It was the perfect way to spend a
drunk lazy day in Paris.
On our final day in Paris, we slept in as late as possible before check-out, stopped for croissants and café crèmes, and then rode the Metro to the Catacombs. We waited in line for about two hours and then explored the dark, underground tunnels of skulls and bones. I’d never seen anything like it before, so it was well worth the wait. We spent our last few hours walking around, eating escargot and macarons, and buying a few souvenirs before catching our evening flight back to Amsterdam. Despite our flight being delayed on the way home, we had a great time.
After Paris, Wade had a few more days to spend in Amsterdam before flying back to Texas. He spent most of that time eating more delicious food, drinking amazing beer (we all needed a break from wine tbh), and exploring as much of Amsterdam as possible. By the end of the week, the second half of Friendsapalooza was about to begin!