The last week here in Galway has been wild. To begin, St. Patrick’s Day past and St. Patrick’s Day in Galway was a massive celebration. People were going to pubs at 10 o’clock in the morning and partying until late that night. Secondly, it was spring break for Fairfield University and the Fairfield students studying abroad in Florence– so, that meant many of our friends from school flooded our apartment complex for a good week. Vine Editor Gracie Eldrenkamp ‘20 and former Fairfield Student, Julia Chamberlain, visited me during this week. After they got their taste of Ireland, on March 22, we spent the final days of their vacation going to Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Our trip to Amsterdam started off a bit rocky. To begin, our plane was delayed by two hours even though we were already on the plane (thanks Ryanair– you’re always such a joy). However, it put a major dent in our schedule because once we got there it was a mad dash to make sure Gracie and Julia made their tattoo appointments. Luckily, we got there in time and Gracie and Julia both got their super cool tattoos. So, not even two hours into Amsterdam, two thirds of us were freshly tattooed and we were ready to take on the city. An iconic way to start off Amsterdam.
After the tattoos, we planned to go on a pizza cruise, but after the company sent us the wrong address and we went on a wild goose chase through the city, we missed our boat. This then lead to a whole debate and long story short, we were able to get tickets the next day. However, it allowed us to check out the city and wander around the streets of the city center. I ended up getting some sweet clog slippers.
However, on our first day in the city we were able to end the night off with and accomplish one of the big things on my list: the Ice Bar XtraCold. The Ice Bar is a must do in Amsterdam. You have to buy your tickets to go to it, but it’s totally worth it. The Ice Bar is what it says– it’s a bar entirely made of ice. Their speciality drinks are placed into glasses made of pure ice as you’re chilling (literally) in -9℃ or about 15℉. I ended up getting a flavored vodka shot and chilled beer, which were all super good. My favorite drink had to be the speciality cocktail I got in the regular bar after the ice bar, which was the Amsterdamned. It consists of genever, peach liqueur, cranberry juice and squeezed lime.
It’s also run by this guy dressed as a pirate who basically brings you a journey that’s a knock off version of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it’s worth it. I even got a free shot from the pirate. However, I did end up freezing my fingers really bad to the point I used Gracie’s extra pair of gloves so I wouldn’t get frostbite. Despite that minor setback, 10/10 would recommend.
The next day we got up early to head to the Van Gogh Art Museum. The Van Gogh museum has the largest collection of his work alongside artwork from his time or artwork that was inspired by the late modern artist. The museum has work of his like his popular “Sunflowers” painting and the painting “Almond Blossoms.” Quite contrary to belief, and with a lot of gift shops promoting this painting all throughout the city, his renowned piece “Starry Night” is actually in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Despite that, it’s a must-see and a rather educational and chill experience. It was one of my favorite art museums I got to see so far on this trip.
After Van Gogh, we headed to the Heineken Experience. The Heineken Experience essentially is a brewery tour in the old Heineken factory in Amsterdam. Like the Guiness Factory or the Jameson Distillery here in Ireland, the Heineken Experience had their own take on showing the public how their famous beer is made. I enjoyed it because it was a lot different than the tours I had previously been on. They even had a horse stable. Even if you don’t like beer or don’t even drink, the Heineken Experience is a really fun time and has plenty of fun options for those of you who don’t drink the signature Dutch beverage.
We would spend the rest of Amsterdam checking out some scenes like the Anne Frank house, which we unfortunately couldn’t get tickets to, but got to check out the front of. However, it would lead up to our pizza cruise which would take us all around the canals of Amsterdam. Doing some sort of cruise or boat tour in Amsterdam is a must, due to the fact the city is primarily made up of canals and it’s the best way to experience the entirety of the city.
Overall, Amsterdam is a city composed up of beautiful scenery and chill vibes. There is so much about the city that is extraordinary, like their signature tulips when they’re in bloom and the fact everyone practically bikes there. Our trip to Amsterdam was a ton of fun and we definitely hope to go back soon.