Wow, What a Spring Break! Steve, Sam, and myself got to enjoy an experience that was unlike anything that I have ever done. Our journey started on Friday afternoon where we got into the Athens airport, which has a very strange setup. For some reason they thought that it would be a good idea to put all of the restaurants and bars before the security checkpoint…. So when we got to our flight two hours early we were stuck twiddling our thumbs in an empty airport terminal (not a complaint, just an observation) So we boarded our flight and headed to Amsterdam with a 2 hour layover in Munich, which has one of the nicest airports I have ever been in mainly because they serve German beer which is the very best in the world.
Once we get to Amsterdam it came as a complete shock, even though it shouldn’t have, that everyone and I mean everyone was riding around on these tall goofy looking bicycles. We walk back to our hostel and get situated for the night living in a room with 17 other people could not have been any better because to our surprise there was not one person that snored. It was more like a morgue in that sense but nonetheless it was a great experience. The city itself was overpriced and very touristy, especially in the parts we were in. it was really nice to see so many English-speaking people because there are very few in Greece and it was a nice change. So while we were there we hit almost every tourist spot and got a great feel for the city if we were to ever go back. In our 4 days there we saw the wax museum which may have been the highlight of the Amsterdam portion of the trip because the figures looked so realistic that it was a little bit bizarre. They had political figures from Ghandi to JFK to Winston Churchill they also had actors such as Nicholas Cage and George Clooney and they had famous artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso (both of which museums we saw on the trip.) The Anne Frank house was breath taking because now I am able to put the story with the location and get a better picture of what really happened there. The Heineken factory was another highlight of the trip, it was interesting to learn how they brewed the beer and that the recipe has not changed in all of the years of its existence. So more or less those are the “highlights” of the trip and then we moved onto our next stop, Barcelona.
Spanish culture is awesome! The woman who ran our Hostel was like a mother figure and this time we only had to share a room with 7 people, so that was nice. There is so much to see in Barcelona but the highlight for me was the Sangrada Familia Cathedral. If you haven’t heard of it google it and look at it. It is the most remarkable cathedral I have ever been in and/or seen and construction isn’t expected to be done for another 19 years. That’s right, this cathedral is expected to be completed in 2030 which seems like a long ways away especially with how far it has come already. In this church there is a GIANT center room where you feel like an ant. We met up with Josh there and we took a tour of one of the towers that runs on a lift and you have a choice whether to walk down or take the lift back down. We decided to walk and thank god, the views of the city on this clear day were great. So we are walking down this seemingly endless spiral staircase which Robin (who counts steps—it’s like an OCD thing) would have had a field day with. The architect who designed this Gaudi, spent the last 40 years or so of his life designing it.
Other things in Barcelona that I enjoyed were the cheap prices of everything; it was quite different from Amsterdam in that sense. It had a much more home feeling and was not crowded with tourists. I would love to go back and see all the things that we missed. Our last 2 days were relaxing ones, we spent the majority of the days sitting on the beach and taking in the sun that we hadn’t seen in the month prior. All and all it was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life and I will not soon forget the amazing times that we had. I am happy I took a lot of pictures and got to experience all the things I did, I would not trade my Spring break 2011 experience for the world