Tales of Adventure: Amsterdam

Amsterdam

So… Amsterdam. I know what you’re thinking. How does that city apply to adventure? Correct? Well, when you travel with me, anything can turn into an adventure. Even something as simple as catching the tube in London to the airport. I’ll start at the beginning.

We almost missed our flight. My friend and I met at Victoria Station and took the Piccadilly line out to Heathrow Airport. That ran fine. Our problem happened when we arrived at the airport. Computer problems requiring assistance to check-in, an oversized item (an umbrella…) that had to be specially checked at a separate counter… our allotted time for these activities diminished rapidly. To further add to our oncoming tardiness, we were stuck in the security queue behind a group of the most lovely elderly ladies. Who were required to untie every sort of belt and accessory imaginable before proceeding through the checkpoint at snail’s pace…

By the time we made it through, we didn’t even bother to put our boots back on. We grabbed our stuff, and started sprinting (in socks). Our gate was at the furthest part of the terminal, and then all the way back down the longest hall… naturally. It was like a movie – us weaving in and out of people, running at top speed… me falling behind, out of breath. My friend vowed he would have them hold the plane for me. Of course the crisis was averted when he arrived at the gate, the first one in fact, and announced that it wasn’t even boarding yet… we had time to walk laps to cool down. Make our flight we did though, and we were off to Amsterdam!

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is famous for its canals. Much like Venice, although with a decidedly “darker” atmosphere. As in less sun. It’s not a huge city, having roughly 800,000 inhabitants (give or take one or two) in the city center. It has that small feel too, although you really must watch out for yourself on the roads. Pedestrians must share the routes through this city with cars, trams, other pedestrians, and the all important bicycles. Those are the ones to watch out for most. They ring they’re bell in warning, but they will not stop. Nor bother “parking” correctly.

Amsterdam

We arrived after an uneventful actual flight, and headed into town. Another friend had taken an earlier flight, so we met up with her and booked into our hotel near Leidseplein. This is one of the most lively (and touristy) parts of town, but it’s central and therefore would serve us quite well. We dropped our stuff, and headed into the square to see what this city was all about!

Now again, I know what you are thinking… there’s only one reason three Americans would go to Amsterdam. The Indonesian food!! But seriously, the coffee shops are a big draw (laws have since changed, so they’re not as available to tourists as they once were). I am not a smoker, in any form, so I actually drank coffee in the coffee shops. And pints at night. It was a very interesting culture to be exposed to, especially coming from the States where everything is so strict. The coffee shops are littered across the city, so you can’t help but run into at least a dozen every time you’re out and about.

The other famous aspect, or infamous depending on how you look at it, is the red light district. Many cities have a red light district. But the one in Amsterdam is one of the most well-known. Even if it’s not your thing, it’s worth at least a stroll down the canal. It’s just unlike any other place you will ever see, anywhere.

The three of wandered the entire city pretty much, winding up and down the canals. Popping into various shops, and cafes and such. We went to the Anne Frank House, the Rembrandt House Museum, and Rembrandtplein – another of the major squares in the city. We even found time to squeeze in some ice skating on the temporary rink set up for the winter in Leidseplein. And watch the other skaters as they attempted, and fell, on the slick ice. I could sympathize.

We only had the weekend, but we covered some ground. And yes, we did eat some pretty amazing Indonesian food. I wish I could tell you where, but honestly I have no idea. I can tell you where we stayed: the Hotel de Lantaerne. And my favorite coffee shop: Rookie’s. They have pool tables, and really good hot chocolates. Can’t lose there.

Do your research before you go! Check out the Netherlands Tourism website for more about Amsterdam*.


 

*Sponsored link brought to you by Netherlands Tourism. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, based on my own experiences.

  • Waaa you would post this just as my boyfriend was lucky enough to go for a few days! He gets back tonight and I can’t wait to hear about Amsterdam and see his pics. I will make it there someday, everyone says the people are really friendly and its a pretty city.

    • Haha what a coincidence! I just had some friends visit who live in the Netherlands, so I thought it was good timing to share my first experience there. It is a really cool city, and the people are absolutely friendly!

  • My brother was just there a week ago and couldn’t stop talking about this fabulous city. I need to put it down on my list of things to do!!

    • For sure!! It has so much to offer. I’ve been several times since this first trip, and still have yet to see and do everything!

  • Ahhh! Finally somewhere I’ve been and even know the places you posted pictures of! Yay. 😉 I am dying to go to the Anne Frank house though. We had plans to go and they fell through. It’s on my regular bucket list. 🙂

    • Haha yay!! I’ve often passed through Amsterdam since on my way to visit friends who live in the Netherlands, but this city definitely merits a visit of its own. Stay tuned – tomorrow I have a post on THE BEST place to stay – and for a budget price too!! 🙂

  • Yes we were pretty relieved by that, and I’m sure our friend who was already there was even more so! Not the first flight I had to run for, and probably not that last lol. 🙂

  • Oh I’ve narrowly missed be hit by a bike on several occasions – it’s definitely a place where I would discourage walking around with headphones on! I love it there though, and the surrounding countryside. Some of the greatest people too!! 🙂

  • I would love to visit Amsterdam! It sounds like such a pretty place (and now I’ll know to try the Indonesian food, too :).

    • You should! It really had a charm all of its own. There are some very good Indonesian restaurants, and Thai restaurants for that matter. And the Dutch are quiet well-known for their design, so plenty of cool places to discover! 🙂

  • What an adventure!! So lucky you didn’t miss your flights! that’s one of the things I’m more scared about. Also your photos brought me nice memories of this summer!

    http://ademasnopuedonadar.com/

  • What an adventure! so lucky you didn’t miss your flight, that’s one of the things that scares me the most! Your pictures brought me nice memories of my visit to Amsterdam. I really loved the city and the atmosphere

    http://ademasnopuedonadar.com/

    • I can’t even describe the relief I felt when my friend called down the hall that the flight wasn’t boarding yet, followed by an immediate need for more oxygen! lol. It’s a great city, for so many reasons. So glad you enjoyed my photos! 🙂

  • Amsterdam is my favourite city to stroll around, there’s just such a nice atmosphere and it’s so pretty. If you decide to go back and don’t fancy racing for a plane (too stressful!) I always highly recommend taking the train – the ‘slow’ train from Brussels takes about 3 hours and you get to see so much more! If you book with a Eurostar ticket it can be fairly affordable too, and you can spend up to 24 hrs in Brussels before you have to catch your connection.

    • I sound like a salesperson haha, sorry.

      • Haha no worries! I love the trains in Europe – they are my preferred method of transport – no rush to get to the station early, way less hassle, and the stations are generally in the center of town. Plus it’s so relaxing to just sit and watch the scenery go by.