I spent about 5 days in Amsterdam. I took the ferry from London, and then a couple trains to get to the main station. I found it relatively harder to find a stable host in Amsterdam – I ended up having 4 in my time there and most people are leaving for their own vacation in July. I was extremely fortunate in finding such welcoming and hospital hosts, but I can only imagine the difficulty that others may encounter. One was essentially a hippie open-house, free to all, filled with people squatting from all over the world, where dumpster-diving and communal-cooking was a weekly event. Having gotten lost with what seemed to be impossible directions at the time, I managed to use a phone to call one of the people squatting at that house to retrieve me. He finally arrived, where I rode on the back of his bicycle, hanging on to my carry-on suitcase rolling beside me as we rode through stubbly road. This was no easy task. I lost feeling in my fingers a few blocks in. Building signs were attached to the side of each buildings, which made for tough navigation in the midst of constructed roads and buildings. All the canals and buildings look very similar at night, and the long names of each street seem harder to decipher than usual after visiting some of the pubs and coffeeshops the wonderful city of Amsterdam offers.
The main station
Amsterdam has ready made warm food in these little food lockers. Insert coins, and open the locker. I had a kroket (croquette). Neat little thing.
This is windiest bike-friendly city I’ve been to. I spent most of my time fixing my hair for any photographs until I finally gave up.
The Dutch eat their Pommes (fries) with mayonnaise, which may sound confusing at first, but is actually fantastic. They remind me of Japanese mayonnaise, which is a little sweet. My favorite thing to do would be to mix ketchup with their mayonnaise with my fries.
The city is built high and very narrow. I have yet to see places that are wheelchair accessible, and staircases are built impossibly steep. I feel like I’m climbing a ladder each step of the way up. It’s a little terrifying and exhausting with luggage, especially if your host lives a few stories up.
I did not get a chance to visit the Dutch flower fields during Tulip season, but I did see plenty of tulip buds for sale at the street market. You can also find beautiful Dutch flower wooden clogs there.
Cheese shop that reeked a mile away
The Pesto cheese was probably the next best thing that’s ever happened to cheese besides Camembert.
There are designated bike lanes everywhere, and there is definitely a pro-bike friendly presence everywhere I go. There are more prevalent than people walking, or driving.
The roads lift for boats and ships to pass through the canals. What a trip.
These are my favorite snacks there. Stroopwafels – caramel-like syrup inside. You can find a small stack of them in every supermarket for cheap, or you can get the really well made one in a restaurant for about 2.50 euros each. Both are delightful, but the fresh made ones are to live for.
Best and highly recommended: Lanskroon, corner of Singel canal and Heisteeg.
The Red Light District is not easy to capture at night. Most places don’t allow for pictures, and the darkness and bright lighting makes for the worst of pictures. Prostitutes are seen standing behind red-lit glass doors in lingerie, motioning to their potential clients, opening their doors only when an inquiry is made. The place is mainly scattered with pubs, coffeeshops, and wasted tourists.
Having visited here twice already, the highlights of my trip are the Anne Frank museum and the fresh stroopwafels.