We head over to Body Worlds the next day, which is something I’ve wanted to see for years. It’s an exhibit started by an anatomist named Gunther von Hagens. He uses plastinated bodies which were donated to science to demonstrate human anatomy and physiology under different conditions and physical exertions. Lalit and I found this more fascinating than any museum we visited. The exhibit was based on the Happiness Project, which meant every room provided a tangible display of how the physical state can affect happiness and fulfillment, which was intriguing for me having a background in science my whole life, and great for Lalit who is a die-hard gym bunny.
In the evening we went to Sky Lounge. This was another suggestion from a local at our hotel. The cocktails were just as refreshing as the birds-eye view of the skyline. We loved it so much we actually went again on our last day in the city. I came to the conclusion that when I travel I should put rooftop bars on my to-do list in every country.
From there we pushed off to the Ice Bar, we weren’t too sure what it entailed at the time aside from a room full of ice where you wear cute eskimo coats and order drinks…. However when we got there the bar tenders were all decked out as pirates (a theme which I still don’t really get) and the bar itself was actually an extremely small freezer. Albeit it was still a really fun time, we tried some tasty liquor, laughed with the other tourists and then returned our frozen ice cups.
We tried to stick to a strict diet of sushi, steak and pancakes during our trip so The Pancake Bakery was on our hit list. I don’t intend to talk about what I ate too much, but my favourite dish for the trip was probably the simplest. Here I discovered the magic of Poffertjes. I can only describe them as little pancakes covered in butter and icing sugar. A truly good way to start the morning after going to two bars the night before.
We were a little museumed-out so we head over to the Magna Plaza. It was a large shopping center just outside of Dam Square and we were curious to see what was inside. We stumbled across a store promoting “Elephant Parade” which has been put in place to aid elephant conservation. 2 hours later our quick browse had turned into a full art project as we were allowed to paint our own elephants for the cause. Lalit and I may have taken it a bit far and people were actually crowding the shop window to see what we were coming up with. Seeing as I didn’t end up finding any paintings from the trip I actually loved the little mementos we got from this detour and I think it will be a great souvenir to remember Amsterdam by.
Did I mention this place has legitimate tours and museums for literally everything? Including the Red Light District? That night we went through the naughty part of town, but the tour was much more than just looking at the girls, we learned about their earnings as well as how the law supports and protects them. The main message was that as many regulations are put in place as possible to ensure that these girls were working out of their own free will, almost as independent business owners, without being under duress of any kind of pimp or trafficking. The biggest irony? The entire district is built surrounding the oldest church in Amsterdam.
To complete our Dutch experience we took a tour which was to include the windmills, a cheese factory and a clog maker! In the wee hours of the morning, the windmills were first, and needless to say they were put there for a reason. It was windy and absolutely freezing, but it didn’t take away from the gorgeous structures that laced the canals. 1 million photo-ops later we moved the party to Volendam Cheese Factory, complete with cheese tasting! At this point, delicious as it was, something didn’t feel quite right, I was feeling achy and sensitive with chills running down my skin. By the time we got to the clog-maker I had a full-blown fever, which is a real shame because the process of clog making actually seemed pretty cool… but it’s very hard to listen to a tri-lingual tour when you’re burning up.
With Lalit’s attentive care and about 12 hours of sleep I was feeling a lot better the next day. Since I had slept through the morning there wasn’t much we could do tour-wise so we decided to see what it truly felt like to be a local and rented bikes to cycle down the canals at sunset. It really was as lovely as it sounds, even when it started to rain. I can only imagine how nice it is during the summer months.
We spent one more evening out enjoying the nightlife, this time at a bar called Tales and Spirits, where the entire bar was filled with books. Even the menus were built like story books. The bar tenders were very charismatic and although Lalit and I were just sitting and enjoying a couple cocktails together, it was great closure for the trip. It really is a good city for night life (the PG kind that is :P).
This should quench our thirst for adventure for a little while, for now it’s back to pre-reg 🙂 Happy New Year everyone!