Where has the time gone, you guys? It feels like just yesterday I was putting a countdown of how many days until I left England because I was so homesick. My countdown has gone from 104 days to 24, and I’m conflicted.
With so little time, I’m trying to cram as much adventure into my very limited window of free time. Over this past Easter weekend, I was fortunate enough to have some time to spend in Amsterdam. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Who goes to Amsterdam on Easter weekend?” It was the weekend that fit best into my few remaining weekends, okay?
Thus, my trusty travel pal Sophia and I set out on yet another European adventure. We left on Thursday night, arriving at our hostel fairly late. Rather than explore a city known for its evening antics on our first night there, we decided to stay in, play a few card games and hit the hay.
The next morning was our first full day in the city, so we were able to see Amsterdam in all its canal/bike-path glory. Our hostel was in a pretty great location. It was away from the Red Light District (some might disagree on our definition of prime location), but that meant we didn’t have to deal with the overly intoxicated and/or high tourists while we tried to catch some zzz’s.
We started our day with a nice long walk to the Van Gogh Museum. If you happen to be a fan of impressionism even in the slightest, I highly (pun unintended) suggest you visit. There are four floors filled with Van Gogh’s (and friends’) work and a history about him that I’ve never heard anywhere else.
After than, we made our way back up to the center of town to take a serious turn in our trip in which we visited the Anne Frank House. While Amsterdam is known for its freedom nowadays, the Anne Frank House will sober any visitor and remind them that it hasn’t always been so free. Unfortunately, we had to wait in line for two and half hours before we could tour the hideout so we didn’t have much day left to explore the city.
With our evening, we scoured the city for a good place to eat. We found a nice pub along the canal, ordered some beer (obviously Heineken because it’s made in Amsterdam) and pizza and relaxed after a day filled with walking and standing.
We ended up sitting for three hours. After half a liter of Heineken and a bottle of Brouwerij ‘t IJ Zatte, it was dark and the Friday crowds were out to play. As two 20-something girls in a foreign city, we decided it’d probably be best if we didn’t partake and made our way back to the hostel.
The next day, we woke up bright and early to visit the Keukenhof tulip gardens outside of town. While I’m a sunflower kind of girl, I have to admit that the tulip gardens were stunning.
When we got back to town, we headed for the Red Light District to get a real feel for the city. From what we saw, it was as if someone filled Diagon Alley with “coffee” shops, “toy” stores and a condom place that made little animals out of their products. The air was filled with the pleasant aroma of skunk, and everyone was eating brownies.
In all honesty, it wasn’t too bad. It was a lively place filled with a variety of people and cultures all brought together by shared interests. Granted, we went while it was still early evening. I also discovered that there is something in the Amsterdam water that makes these Dutch boys SO ATTRACTIVE. That, or I’m just attracted to guys that smoke pot.
While I’m not one to partake in the parent-defying pot brownies, I must admit that Amsterdam has a certain air to it (besides the smell of Mary Jane). It was the first time since arriving here that I didn’t feel like I was being suffocated (ironically enough).
Amsterdam is truly one of a kind, and I’d love to visit again without an agenda. Rent a bike, explore the canals and enjoy the city.