I’ll admit it right off the bat–I have a thing for canals. You probably already know that if you’ve read my Bruges post, since every other photo in that is some variety of a canal shot.
With this nugget of information in mind, it’s logical that I’ve been absolutely dying to make my way to the famed waterways of Amsterdam for quite some time. After suffering for weeks from incessant visions of myself riding a seafoam-green bike with a wicker basket along cobblestone streets, I began the dangerous plunge into “Airbnb” research. Two hours later, I’d found it: the most wonderfully fabulously perfect apartment imaginable, and for only twenty euros a night!! Irresponsibly, spontaneously, whatever you want to call it, I decided to book it then and there. I couldn’t be bothered to take the time to coordinate dates with friends, so luckily my home stay brother, Victor, agreed to come along with me.
Fast forward two weeks and a seven hour long bus ride, and we’d arrived in Amsterdam! We made our way to our apartment and when I say it was jaw-dropping, I mean my mouth was literally hanging open during the entire tour our host gave us (charming, I know). See the pictures below to fully understand–I couldn’t have designed the apartment more perfectly myself. It was an open, white, modern space, with lots of light and funky details, like a collection of buddha statues and a Chanel foosball table (which we obviously used). We were met with the welcome surprise of a rooftop terrace that looked out over a market below as well, which was an absolute dream to eat breakfast on in the mornings. Still can’t believe our luck!
Once we pried ourselves out of the apartment and got into the city center, I was pleasantly surprised by how metropolitan the vibe was. I was expecting something much quainter and quieter, but the streets were wired with a subtle undercurrent of excitement and liveliness that infused itself into me; I couldn’t stop smiling for a second, not even when it was pouring rain and there was too much wind to use an umbrella. The city just seemed to radiate cheer, and I wish I’d gotten a chance to spend time with locals to see how that manifests in their personalities.
We spent the weekend wandering through the different neighborhoods and lounging by the canals, soaking up the brief respites of sunshine in the beautiful and spacious Vondelpark and walking until we honestly couldn’t anymore. For all the hype about drug culture and the red light district, Amsterdam had one of the most relaxed vibes of any place I’ve ever been, and we just sort of ambled around it’s streets one day at a time. We obviously made time to pop into the Van Gogh museum (unfortunately the Sunflower paintings are on display in London right now–such a bummer!), but otherwise our schedule was pretty unstructured. We spent the majority of the time enjoying the variety of yummy international (and relatively inexpensive) foods that the city had to offer, indulging in the famous Indonesian rijsttafel (a “rice table,” made up of a selection of all different Indonesian dishes), some Belgian waffles (I just can’t shake the cravings for them after my trip to Bruges), and some traditional Dutch frites (with fritessaus, obviously) and pancakes. Meant to sample the pickled herring as well (which is supposedly much better than in sounds) but I didn’t have the chance this trip. Not a problem, as I’m absolutely smitten with the city and plan to go back as soon as possible. Look for a post on my suggested Amsterdam itinerary in the coming weeks!