Yes, a weekend in Amsterdam is enough for a good introduction.
But I mean, it’s really more like, “Amster-damn!”
I only did a quick stopover the in Netherlands on my way to Tanzania. It was just a few days but for Amsterdam, that’s all you really need.
It’s funny but for a city known for its center of debauchery, Amsterdam is one of the most peaceful and quaint cities I’ve visited.
This is the red light district. It’s got its seedy establishments, drunks and smattering of legal drugs but really, if that’s all you see in Amsterdam, you’re missing the boat. Yes, there are brothels and drugs, but honestly, I feel like it was much more discreet than Vegas.
The thing you do need to know is that in Amsterdam, cafes have coffee, coffee shops have coffee and pot products, and smart shops have mushrooms.
To my understanding, that’s all that’s legal here. But, just in case, a lot of shops sell at home drug tests for a variety of other substances.
This was the first time I used Tinder for travel to meet people along the road. I did it partly because I knew I would only spend a few days here and I wanted to sight see with someone. I ended up meeting a new friend who had just moved to Amsterdam from Portland so we had a lot in common and got to explore the city together. It worked great.
I think that it would be a really fun way to meet up with people, especially if you’re with a group for the weekend.
I stayed in a hostel that was a former university building. The bar was a lecture hall. This is perfect to me, the location prompts long, philosophical conversations aided and abetted by a few good beers.
Everyone bikes here. There are special bike lanes that run parallel to the sidewalk. I am having trouble differentiating between the bike path and the people path. If you don’t hear from me for several days just assume I was run over by a pack of brutal, road raging soccer moms on bikes.
The canals are really lovely. A lot of people also live on barges or in houseboats. Houseboats started to become popular because they weren’t taxed but now a space to dock can cost half a million dollars.
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, the buildings are just really crooked from settling. It give the city a sort of distorted feel.
I thought that the Japanese were the masters of the vending machine but the first hot cheeseburger machine I’ve seen might change my mind.
My time here has been interesting. It’s such a calm change of pace compared to Vegas and other cities that are known for being party destinations.
The canals are quiet and city feels safe. I’ve walked back to my hostel alone in the dark and found kids running along the streets at night and playing in the parks. I’ve drank local beer out of windmill and toured the canals until I was shivering. The cold wind rushes in along the canals and is chilling until the sun comes out and you can see the daffodils start to bloom.
The weekend in Amsterdam has been a cold, windy couple of days but the sun came out for a while today and it was so nice.
I think if I stop here again I’ll get a room and rent a bike somewhere outside the tourist area and wander the canals for a few days. I’d say if you are going to go to Amsterdam, take a tour with a local or new transplant like I did. I think you get a much clearer view of the city that way. Go to the Red Light District, but don’t miss the unique way of life here.
And of course, if possible try to time it with the tulips blooming. I’m hoping for that next time.