Overall, I did enjoy Amsterdam. I thought the city was easily one of the most beautiful places I've been to, ever. The way the city is designed for great bike lanes makes me smile; the canals just blow me away.
UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: However, my only complaint is just how disconnected the tourists are from the city - if that makes sense? The very inner centre of Amsterdam houses a gazillion coffee shops (for weed, if you need me to spell it out for you) and has the Red Light District and such. My hostel was a little further away from the centre (thank goodness) but I still got the vibe that 98% of backpackers in Amsterdam just wanted to be high the entire time. I don't disagree with weed, really, but I do think it's a little ridiculous to be in a city so beautiful with so many other things to do, and waste away hours smoking weed. So yeah, I didn't really hang out with people my age this trip... which was actually quite great for reasons I'll outline later! But yeah, there you go.. my speel on better travelling.
DAY ONE: DEC 27th, 2013
I like spending a good chunk of my first day in a city just wandering aimlessly.. It helps sometimes if I get in early enough to do a walking tour, because truly most of the time, I feel like it's just nice being walked around by someone else without being too overly worried about getting lost. Perhaps though getting lost is part of the fun.
I got to Amsterdam at maybe like 3pm ish? So I checked into my hostel and then walked around the canal ring mostly. Haha, not that I'm a fantastic photographer by any standard, but I was super impressed with my pictures of Amsterdam. It's a gorgeous city! Completely stunning.
DAY TWO: DEC 28th, 2013
Well, I had to actually do things on my second day instead of just wander. I gave myself a good chunk of time to explore cities because I wanted to make sure I never felt rushed... but it is still important to not waste time.
I met these two French ladies (late 20s) Naima and Delilah in my hostel, and we headed over to the Van Gogh Museum!
Unfortunately this is the only picture I got with the sign, and it's kind of awful oops... but meh.
BUT YAY VAN GOGH!
I then bid them goodbye for now, as they had a bike tour to go to, but made plans to go ice skating afterwards. So I went to the beautiful Vondelpark!
Cool statues and artwork all over the place.. Must be STUNNING in the spring/summer with the tulips.
This was neat! A 'find fence' to hang things up that you've found. I can't think of the countless times that this would have been helpful for me... I lose things like gloves and hats so often, oops.
Then on the way to the TULIP MARKET!
More wandering... Really truly Amsterdam is gorgeous.
OKAY so this was super cool and I'm so glad I went when I did. The Amsterdam Light Show somehow managed to make a beautiful city even prettier.
Then to figure skating! Such a crazy hectic long day... I made some friends though with an American family! One amazingly super sweet lady Priscilla and her three kids, the girl Zanthia, and Maya, a German cousin! I taught the kids how to skate a little better and it was adorable. However, I too was very very uncomfortable in hockey skates (le gasp). Still fun!
DAY THREE: Dec 29th, 2013
To the library I go, per request of Winsha!
Guys, I actually cannot contain how much I adored this library. LIBRARIES SHOULD SPEAK TO YOUR HEART AND SOUL AS MUCH AS THIS ONE DID TO ME. It was everything I could ever want from a library (except free wifi because I'm not a library member...). Please just take this in.
Did you see that beauty? Go scroll through those pictures again. Crazy lovely.
I then went to Noord-Wharf, just because free ferry ride, why not?
I then embarked on a free walking tour with the American family + like 60 other people... Oh holiday season, how lovely you are.... (sarcasm). We mostly walked around areas I've already taken pictures of, and I can't take pictures of the Red Light District, so only two pictures from the tour.
Including the Anne Frank statue in front of the Anne Frank house! So then we went into the Anne Frank House. Crazy wait... but well worth it!
Then to their amazing generosity, I went skating with them and had dinner. Super great.
I also met Mike, a cool American guy that evening! We dared to walk around the Red Light District pretty late haha, which was an experience on its own... No pictures though, oh well!
DAY FOUR: DEC 30th, 2013
Great market that I stumbled upon and ugh I'm so sorry, I have no idea where it is or what it is called... but here's a great link on Amsterdam markets because it was fabulous! Got a scarf for 1 euro! http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/what-to-do/shopping/amsterdam-markets
I had lunch and did a lot of wandering around again... Honestly, Amsterdam alone was so nice. (Don't do weed alone though? I don't think that's super intelligent in a foreign city).
Haha... so this is kind of embarassing, but I spent the rest of my time in Amsterdam kind of lonely but more so completely enthralled by the library. I read like five novels and wrote a bunch in my journal and figured out the content for a bunch of my blog posts.
Then that night I hopped on a Megabus to take me back to London! Oh night buses are a pain but so cheap. My next post will cover London and Glasgow! Bye for now!
** IN CURRENT NEWS: School starts again tomorrow, after a long reading week! My reading week was so so good. I had such a blast in Paris and Normandy. I've really had a lovely term! I'm so glad I'm almost done reflecting on December haha because January and February were great too.