So, my Euro trip continues as I return from my destination # 2. Having spent a fabulous day exploring Amsterdam I can say that it is the cutest city of Europe. it is an absurd way to describe a city but this explains best how I truly feel about it. It is an urban and modern city, yet canals/ bicycles and (amazing) people give it a very warm, welcoming and ‘close’ vibe, which is unlike most other urban cities.
People in Amsterdam are generally very happy, which translates into them being helpful and nice. They are really nice to talk to! Ironically I was reading a book about importance of happiness in societies inspired by Dalai Lama at the time, which said happy people make better citizens and its interesting that in a city where is it legal to do anything (almost) people choose to be so nice and kind.
Unlike my last trip to Italy in which we finished sightseeing in Rome in a day and we headed to Ostia the other day (we go well planned), this wasn’t the case in Amsterdam at all. I still feel like there’s so many other things I would want to do, so there’s probably a next time for Amsterdam (which is funny, because when I told the immigration officer I was there only for a day, he complained and said I had to come back at the end of my Euro trip as one day is just not enough, and now I agree!).
So, here’s a few things to see, experience and enjoy in Amsterdam:
Walk/ Bike the City: Dam Square, Jordaan, Prinsengracht
The city has a network of well managed public transport, but you need to either walk to bike the city so that you can view the city cafes, little shops, talk to the locals and walk along the beautiful canals. I was not too comfortable with the left hand drive so I choose to not ride a bike, but walking was alright too. You need to be prepared to do lots of it though, if you wish to see major landmarks. You can take one of the walking tours or just make one of your own. I made one of my own. I walked from Centraal Station to Ann Frank Museum and then Jordaan which is a beautiful neighbourhood. This gave me a chance to see the beautiful canals, speak to some people and enjoy some food at the canal side cafes in the city. Some people might also fancy going to the Red Light District, which is very close to the Centraal Station, however it wasn’t something I was too fascinated about, so I stuck to everything else.
This is a square with art galleries, museums and the good old ‘IAMSTERDAM’. If you have enough time you should explore one of the museums, if not the customary photo is a must. There’s plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops nearby as well, so you can eat and drink here too.
Floating Flower Market
Blowmenmart is the world’s only floating flower market and the largest flower market. It is massive as one can imagine and one could buy lots of interesting souvenirs from here like wooden carved tulips, pouches, cheese, Stroopwafles etc. Be careful though, some of the items you buy here like the bulbs are not allowed through the security at the airport. Although I enjoyed my time in the flower market I was a little disappointed by the lack of fresh flowers, as I was expecting to be mesmerised by the smell and buy a bunch of fresh tulips, either it wasn’t the right weather for tulips or that didn’t happen for me.
Amsterdam EYE & Ferry Ride
Not many tourists go the North of Amsterdam where you can reach by a brief ferry ride. There they have the Amsterdam Eye, a magnificent piece of architecture and a great place to relax and cool off after a day of walking around the city. Many a times you can also go to art exhibitions here and if you have enough time, might also watch a movie at the cinema here.
While I absolutely loved going to the places that I did, I wish I had enough time to explore the museums, pay visit to the Maritime museum and indulge myself extensively in the local cuisines.
Happy Travelling Folks!