Climbing the Throne in Amsterdam

Another weekend has passed and I still haven’t added the entry I meant to write about the weekend that I shall refer to as “Ultimate Nerdery in Amsterdam”.

On the Sunday before last, two friends and I went on a little roadtrip to Amsterdam. I know that especially Americans often ooooh and aaaah when I say things like that because going to another country for a day seems so unlikely. But the distance between my hometown and Amsterdam is smaller than the one between Duisburg and Berlin. We often get some grocery shopping done in Venlo which is a little Dutch town just behind the border and going to Amsterdam doesn’t require an overnight stay, either. Still, it’s about three hours from here by car.

The reason we went on that little roadtrip was that the traveling Game of Thrones exhibition made a stop there. To make it short and give you a rough idea about us: We’re nerds when it comes to (some) books and TV shows. In the past couple weeks / months, I’ve grown pretty fond of Game of Thrones, thanks to one of the girls I went on the trip with. I’m not the “dress up and pretend I’m a character from the books” kind of fan but I get quite nerdy. And, of course, the way they visualized it all in the TV show is just incredible, so I wanted to take my chance to take a look at all of the costumes, items and props they were exhibiting there.

Prior to going we found out that the venue (Posthoornkerk, an actual church) was rather small and so is the exhibition. And every group of visitors only got fifteen minutes to see everything and get their picture taken on the Iron Throne. Still, that didn’t stop us from going.

We arrived in Amsterdam around noon and found a parking spot relatively close to the venue, then had a hysterical fit of laughter when we saw the long queue that was winding round several corners all the way to the back of the building. But we hadn’t come all the way just to leave so we joined the other people. The crowd seemed surprisingly diverse. There were some that looked like the cliché of a nerd but also some older people, some hardcore kids, some people in costumes…just all kinds of people, really. The waiting seemed indefinitely longer because I’m in idiot. It was so cold that day but I had insisted on wearing open flats so my feet were freezing. Otherwise, I guess the wait wasn’t as bad as one would have thought. I think we waited for about 1.5 hours. Definitely not longer.

Once they let us inside, I was a little lost at where to go first. The exhibition really was small but different parts for different Houses were divided by big picture screens and there were so many people walking around. It seemed like chaos to me. I lost my friends within thirty seconds of being inside the church, so I just started wandering around the exhibition by myself, taking pictures, examining some things and taking it all in. It was amazing how detailed the costumes were. It always looks grand on television but you think that the acting makes up most of it. But seeing these clothes on mannequins, it was clear how much thought went into the details. Still, it didn’t take more than five or six minutes to see it all and then we queued up for the Iron Throne.

To be honest, I was a bit scared of taking a seat on it. It was a replica made of…well, I don’t even know. The foundation was probably wood and the “swords” weren’t made of iron, either. It made horrible squeaky noises whenever even tiny people sat on it. And, well, I’m not tiny. But then I decided I hadn’t come all the way and then wouldn’t do it, so I took my seat and got my picture taken, all the time expecting the whole thing to collapse. Which is probably silly but ah well. Later, I was surprised to find that the picture isn’t all that terrible, either. I had expected it to be another picture I’d keep for myself but never show to anyone because I look so horrible. But I don’t. It’s a bit blurry but I think that’s a good thing in my case. Ha!

Afterwards, we were a little at a loss. It was only around two in the afternoon and we were in Amsterdam. What to do? We decided that it was time for food. One of us is vegan, so we walked all across the city center to find a vegan restaurant which had seemed decent on the Internet. Only to get there and find out it wouldn’t open before five. At this point, let me get back to my terrible choice of shoes for the day. Flats. And let me explain something about my feet to you. They’re not big but wide. So within one season, I flatten most open shoes so I slip around in them like whoa. And while I’m in the explaining mood, let me tell you about streets in Amsterdam. They’re wobbly to put it nicely. Cobblestone and loose stones and uneven sidewalks are perfectly normal there. By the time we’d made it to the restaurant, my toes and soles were covered in blisters. By the time we’d made it to another restaurant, to a supermarket and back to the car, said blisters had burst and the open wounds were sticking to the shoes. Ouch! My friend suggested I take the shoes off for a moment but quite frankly, I didn’t dare to out of fear that I may rip the skin off.

Okay, I think you get a nice picture of the horror, right?

Anyway, we did find a nice restaurant which I managed to forget the name of. It was one of those modern restaurant gone bar gone night club places. But during the day, it was actually quite cozy and nice. And the food was good, too, although at that point, I just wanted anything to eat and a cold drink. I don’t think either of us ever wanted to leave again. But we did. And walked straight to Albert Heijn which is a grocery store chain. Nothing special for Dutch people, I’m sure, but I loooove some of the things you get there. Especially vla. If you’ve never tasted vla, you’ve missed out! It’s basically custard in different flavors. My favorite is vanilla vla with little chocolate balls. Yum! Whenever I go to the Netherlands, I have to buy at least one package.

But seeing as we still had a three hour drive ahead of us, we headed back to the car. Well, I say headed but I think in my case “crawled” would be more appropriate. Lessons learned that weekend: 1. Buy a comfy pair of shoes for these occasions, no matter how ugly or expensive. 2. Lose weight and get fit. Dragging behind people who weigh half as much as I do and feeling like a whale ruins even the best of things.

Overall, I’m still not a big fan of Amsterdam. I know many people adore the place and I see why. But it just isn’t for me. I think the architecture and the whole scenery of the city is gorgeous. But it’s just too crowded, too busy and too noisy. The streets are so narrow but you have people all over the place and then there are bikes and trams everywhere that are so noisy. I just get aggressive and frustrated whenever I am there. Perhaps you need less of a temper to truly enjoy it. However, the two old gentleman I asked for directions at some point were the sweetest and kindest people I’ve ever met. We weren’t so sure if they were an elderly gay couple or just two old friends but I guess it doesn’t matter anyway as they were so nice and saved us from walking into the wrong direction.

So…no Amsterdam pictures, but here, have some GoT eye candy instead!

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Categories: Bookworm, Wanderlust | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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