Hello sweet people of the universe,
Or as the Dutch say it, Hallo! I’m reporting back to you straight from the beautiful city of Amsterdam. My adventure only started a few days ago and I am absolutely falling in love with this city. The people here are incredible – some of the friendliest I’ve ever met and definitely some of the most attractive. They definitely have to share whatever it is they’re hiding because clearly it’s working. 😛
Unfortunately for me, I’ve been quite ill for these past few days but thankfully, I am recovering quite well. This just means I’ve had to make some minor adjustments to my plans. I am absolutely loving the fact that I am traveling alone. I haven’t needed to worry about keeping up with someone else’s schedule and that now, I have complete freedom of time to take care of myself and work with my own wants/needs. I guess that’s truly the difference between vacationing and traveling. Either way, Amsterdam has accepted me with open arms and I am delighted to be here.
Now, let me tell you about everything I’ve seen so far. You might want to sit down for this because even though I’m out of shape, it’s an extensive list.
On my first full day here, I had the opportunity to spend the day exploring with one of the girls from my hostel. We had planned to go to the Van Gogh museum but got so unfortunately lost. It was quite the experience as neither of us spoke any Dutch or had access to the Internet. So we walked around until we found a hotel and hoped someone would be kind enough to put us out of our misery. Not that it was misery at all because the best way to truly see a city is to get lost in it. At least that’s what I’ve been told. 😉
TIP #1! When travelling, get yourself an offline map with transit information or ask your concierge about exact stops so you don’t get hopelessly lost.
After we arrived and bought our (thankfully) discounted tickets, we made our way around Museumplein – taking in all the sights and sounds that is Amsterdam.
And yes, Tip #2! You can get almost any discounted museum tickets right next to the IAMSTERDAM sign instead of standing in line for ages at the attraction itself.
Be warned tho, the ticket stand only accepts card transactions and will not accept cash.
We ended up taking a quick break at a local coffee house (no, not that kind, this one actually serves regular food) before heading off to the museum. Let me tell you, this museum is amazing and it is not entirely possible that I’m being biased because I love Van Gogh’s art. It’s beautifully designed and its layout prevents anyone from not getting the full Van Gogh experience. Any visitor would truly get to see the entirety of Van Gogh’s life, his influences and his works. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to see my personal favorite, Starry Night, you won’t find it. That piece is currently being exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art at New York City (I guess a trip to the Big Apple is in order now).
Moving forward, we journeyed on to find a great local restaurant for lunch and our recommendation definitely did not disappoint. De Wasserette serves some amazing local food and was one of those few places that were not flooded with tourists. It was amazing! If you ever visit, you must try their Chicken Avocado sandwich with their locally made FRESH mint tea. And it’s perfect for a traveller on a budget since my meal costs less than 15 euroes. The decadence of the cheese they use along with the quality of their produce here makes this meal probably one of the best I’ve ever had. For my Americans, yes, it’s better than Panera. 😛
This brings me to Tip #3: Eat where the locals do!
I cannot emphasize this enough! As hard as it can be to reach outside your comfort zone and start a random conversation, it is extremely worthwhile. You can learn so much about the neighbourhood you are in as well as some great local hangouts and if you get as lucky as I did, you’ll find some amazing food and friends!
As it turns out, there’s a huge farmer’s market right around the corner from the restaurant. This, I would 100% recommend everyone to visit because it’s just so lively and colorful. It was so much fun to watch the interactions between vendors and locals alike. There is no way to do this justice with words but I sure hope you get to one day experience that moment.
15/10 would recommend.
An early start – that’s what you get when you go to sleep at 7.30pm. Taking the middle ground to call my best friend in the States and my mom in Malaysia, I think I made good use of my early morning. #productive! Though I was still feeling pretty gross, I wanted to take a relaxing day out in Amsterdam and really get a feel of what the city would be like as a whole. I’m absolutely blown away at everything this city is! The beauty, the history, the all-around atmosphere – it’s lovely! I do not see why or how anyone could not love this city.
First on my list today was to take a cruise along the canals of Amsterdam. Oh my god, this was so amazing! I cannot even begin to describe how much of the city and its lifestyle you truly get to see on a cruise. It’s so much fun especially on a beautiful, sunny day. If you’re in Amsterdam, you should definitely check it out. The cruise typically lasts about an hour and will show you around most of Amsterdam’s highlights. I find this to be exceptionally useful since I didn’t plan to visit a ton of the touristy sides of the city but it’s always nice to see beautiful sights.
After the cruise, I decided to make a day of my time in the city by taking a quick walk around the Red Light District and Oude Kerk (highly overrated, in my opinion). I ended up meeting a really cool Dutch man named Ferris that helped me pick an amazing spot for lunch called Proeflokaal De Bekeerde Suster – try it because I can promise you that you won’t regret it. To be completely honest, I had been very wary about meeting strangers while traveling alone and most times resorted to lying about where I’m from and who I was traveling with until I believed wholeheartedly that they were genuine people. I was so surprised when he offered to help me with my lunch predicament and when he pointed out an alley to walk through, my guards immediately went up. My mind screaming “this is how i’m going to die” over and over again, my whole body instantly relaxed when I found an amazing local restaurant right where he said it would be. It amazes me sometimes how much we judge people before truly knowing them; I mean, if I hadn’t responded to Ferris, I wouldn’t have had an amazing lunch with some great locals and that makes me sad just to think about it. Even though, I do agree it’s important to be careful about who you trust, I think it’s also important to let people in especially when you’re traveling. How else are you going to find all the best non-tourist-trap places in town?
Alright, rant over. Anywayyy… I would also highly recommend visiting the Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam’s biggest floating flower market. First of all, it smells amazing! And secondly, it’s so colorful. I think it’s just an overall great place to walk around if you’re looking for something that fun and most of all, FREE. 😀
Alright guys, if it was TL;DR… Long story short, Amsterdam is amazing and words aren’t enough so get on a plane and come visit. It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.