Certainly there is something ironic, or at least sad, about travelling from Malawi to Amsterdam and then going to the zoo to see giraffes. I took a picture of the “African Savanna >>” sign to commemorate this edition of travel scrabble (as in: my travels were mixed up like the tiles in a scrabble bag).
I spent the day exploring Amsterdam in grand ol’ tourist fashion. As many of you already know, I don’t really go in for the fanny pack & obtrusive camera crowd; however, a girl has to make exceptions. In particular, Sunday is not a great day for “living like the locals” in most of continental Europe for the following two reasons: 1) Most stores don’t open or close very early so shopping is out of the question, and 2) locals have the good sense to kick back with friends and a bottle of beer on a Sunday (drinking alone is not an option so I rarely consume alcohol when travelling alone). For these reasons and more (its on a need to know basis), I spent my day being 100% touristy in Amsterdam.
I hopped on a canal bus, took photos of statuesque buildings lining the waterways, visited the Rijksmuseum (definitely worth buying the ticket in advance with your canal bus ticket because the line was out of control), and went to Artis (the Amsterdam Zoo, as discussed above).
All in all it was a lovely day and I would recommend everyone of my type (the anti-tourist group) to spend one day getting over your pride and soaking in culture in the most artificial and pre-packaged way. Ps. the audio-tour at the Rijks Museum is well worth the 5 Euros (get the one done by the Dutch Painter, it is like having a friend show you all of his favourite works of art, very fun!)
Tomorrow I will head to Den Haag (The Hague) for a little political science heavy tourism (visiting the Peace Palace has become a strange obsession of mine, really there is no reason for this since I have rather pessimistic views of the institutions housed therein.