Brought to You by My Parents and Western Union
Day 4 could have been an unfortunate misadventure, considering the potentially dire money situation that began when my bank card wouldn’t work the night before. I’m extremely lucky that my parents didn’t mind bailing me out. I picked up a Western Union transfer and went immediately to the restaurant I’d visited the night before to settle my outstanding bill.
I worried I would be a thing of “OMG You Won’t Believe This Annoying Tourist” legend, but I ended up having to instruct the server on duty to check the cash drawer for my train ticket. Point: At least the servers hadn’t sat around talking about how pathetic I was. Counterpoint: The 13€70 ($18.55) I owed was clearly no big deal for the restaurant, so they should have just earned good karma by giving me the meal for free.
With that bill settled, it was time to think about lunch. My dad visited Amsterdam in his youth and when I had told him I was going, he didn’t seem concerned about my safety or sobriety; he just wanted me to try the herring. (Really, Dad? You visited Amsterdam and all you have to say about it is, “The pickled herring was delicious”?!)
So I did. If the authenticity of a local food can be measured by the number of actual locals who eat it, I chose my herring shop well. The menu was not printed in English and the other customers were Dutch, not tourists.
There was a still a strong wind that made it unpleasant to be outdoors and I had heard great reviews of the van Gogh Museum, so I decided to suck it up and spend the admission price to check it out.
The museum was interesting and I did learn a lot about van Gogh—for instance, how did I not know that he painted this picture?—but 14€ was a hefty admission fee for a mere hour and a half of fun.
If you visit Amsterdam, dear readers, I suppose I would recommend the van Gogh museum if you’re not concerned about your budget—but if you have some euros to spare, might I suggest visiting the Dutch supermarket?
Foreign supermarkets are magical wonderlands of curiosities and excitement, and I bought myself some incredible edible souvenirs: a jar of fantastic peanut butter, signature Dutch waffle cookies, a bag of Kettle Chips (they n’existent pas in France), and—omgomgomgomg—a jar of crunchy Speculoos butter.
Finally, upon another one of Nic’s fabulous suggestions, I headed back to the Red Light District for the best thing I saw in Amsterdam: The Prostitution Information Center.
I have to go stick a check in the mail, but after that I promise to tell you all about the PIC. (I’ve already written it; just have to spellcheck before I post.)