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Written on: Thursday April 12th, 2007

A journal entry from: Rouen Exchange

Amsterdam, a city known for many things. The first thing we checked out was Anne Frank?s house. Luckily, it was quite close to our hostel (the Shelter Jordan ? a Christian hostel where they strongly recommend you get a locker because theft is high ? surprising). It opened at 9am and we arrived at 8:50 to find a substantial line up. It didn?t move too slowly and we got in after about an hour. Sorry, no pictures were allowed so you?ll have to check it out yourself. Seeing it makes me want to read that book again.

Next, we went towards the red light district, passing many coffee shops (aka places you can buy marijuana) along the way. Disappointingly, it was pretty dead. This could be because it was only 11am or that it was Easter morning. There were still several girls working it in their windows though.

We didn?t have many plans so I thought it wouldn?t hurt if we visited a market I had read about. One thing you should know about Amsterdam is that the streets are very confusing and hard to navigate. We never found the market.

Instead, we went to a bike rental place and got ourselves some good, old fashioned Dutch bikes with back pedal breaks and everything. The rental rate was only 5 euro for 4 hours so I was happy with that. I was somehow appointed the leader and think I almost killed myself several times. Biking in the city was scary, even if it is bike friendly. We made our way into the countryside where we saw an ornamental windmill and a small village. Unfortunately, the tulip fields (although in bloom right now) are 2 hours by car from Amsterdam because soil is too expensive close to the city so we couldn?t see them.

Not interested in visiting the museums (had seen Van Gogh the weekend before) we shopped a bit then went back to the hostel to grab our bags and kill time before getting our bus back to Paris. We were taking a bus that left Amsterdam at 10pm and got to Paris at 6am. (only 14 Euro)!! It wasn?t too bad, I was able to sleep on and off most of the trip. Arriving back in Paris, we had to hustle because I had class at 9 so we HAD to catch the train going back to Rouen at 6:39. The door closed on my foot just as I hopped on so Hannah and I made it?Celeste didn?t, she had to take the next one. Finally back in Rouen at 8am we thought all our adventures were over. But no. On the packed bus back to Mont St. Aignan, a stop before we were to get off, the guy next to me leaned over and started vomiting. I didn?t even know what was happening until Hannah pointed it out. He didn?t throw up on me but the smell was horrible and I?m so glad we got off 2 seconds later. I?m proud to say I made it to all my 3 classes that day and only fell asleep once.

I leave tomorrow evening for Barcelona and then staying in Paris next week with trips to Versailles and Burgundy as it is our Spring break week.