Everyone that I’ve spoken to within the past week has definitely heard my feelings towards Amsterdam. I spent less than four days there, but I immediately fell in love with the city.
I got in on Friday night and met up with two of my sorority sisters and friends, Eva and Emily, who are both spending the semester there. We went to a cute cafe/bar and got hot chocolates which are apparently really popular there (and delicious too!).
I stayed in hostel next to Vondlepark called Stayokay. It was my first hostel experience and it was wonderful. They offered discounted tickets to museums and attractions as well as a complimentary breakfast and cheap bike rentals. Also none of my stuff got stolen, so that was pretty exciting too.
On Saturday I rented a bike and we went to the famous and overly crowded
“IAmsterdam” sign. From here we biked past the museum district and went to the Heinneken Brewery for a tour. Afterwards, I biked around some smaller canals and explored the more residential areas. Then I went to the Van Gogh museum. That night we got delicious Thai food and walked through the Red Light District which I thought was really interesting because it is something so different from anywhere else I’ve been before. There are lots of glass windows/doors with prostitutes in lingerie standing on the other side. These windows line the streets and each one has a red light above it (hence the name, red light district). I later learned that these women have to pay 150 euros per day just to rent their window which means they must make more than that every single day!
Sunday in Europe is pretty much the worst day as far as traveling because everything is closed. Always. I spent a large portion of the day just walking around, exploring the Red Light District and Dam Square again during the day. I went to a photography museum as well as the prostitution museum both of which had Sunday hours. At night, I ate french fries in a cone with mayonnaise. It was delicious, and definitely an essential food to try when in Holland (in addition to hot chocolate, waffles, pancakes, croquettes, and toast with sprinkles for breakfast).
I got an early start on Monday morning and made it to the Anne Frank museum before the line got crazy long (I waited about an hour- definitely buy tickets beforehand if you ever visit). I’ve been once before, right after reading the actual book, I think I knew a lot more about Anne Frank then, but it was still really powerful and moving seeing the house again. Out of respect photography wasn’t allowed inside the house, so I only got a picture of the entrance.
Reading all about the Holocaust made me very sad so naturally, I went right across the street to the free cheese museum and replaced my sad feelings with free samples of every kind of Gouda imaginable. It was a super cute store/museum and the management didn’t care whether you sampled every single cheese (it was more a cheese shop rather than a museum, but I still enjoyed it).
I am so glad that I came back to Amsterdam. I had so much fun (shoutout to Eva and Emily!) and actually ended up learning a lot about the city and culture. I also found that Amsterdam, like Paris, has a very cohesive look in terms of architecture, and it is very distinct from all of the other places I’ve visited.
On a completely unrelated note, it’s already mid March which is crazy because it arrived so quickly. But on the bright side, only one more week until my birthday trip to Morocco!