Amsterdam was the best. THE best. And I am not exaggerating when I say it was my favorite trip so far in all of Europe. I have visited many a place in France and elsewhere but one of the only places I could genuinely see myself living is Amsterdam. It sounds strange to say but it captured who I am in a city; aesthetically, socially culturally, everything was so “me.”
I was lucky enough to be able to visit a great friend (and awesome tour guide), Alicia, who is studying abroad there. She showed me the ways of Dutch life, which I can totally get behind. Everyone was friendly and relaxed. The food was delicious and and the ARCHITECTURE!!! Oh my. It was so unique and drastically different than the typical neoclassical architecture in found throughout Europe. The canals were lined with townhouses, each with their own personality. They look perfectly mismatched, some with dark painted brick, some lighter, but all neutral earth tones. The slanted facades yielded roofs, none of which matched their neighbor’s.
The city was lit up for the holiday season and the narrow pedestrian and bike friendly streets were crowned with lanterns and holiday lights. Everyone in Amsterdam bikes and cars were few and far between on the streets.
My first day, we spent the morning touring the famous Tushinsky Theatre, known for its exotic revival design, popular in the 1930s, and named for a Polish-Jewish Amsterdam citizen. Unfortunately I was unable to get good photos in the theatre, as it was quite dark, but it was a sight to behold.
Afterwards we walked over to the Anne Frank house. Out of respect, I did not take any photos. I was amazed. In the United States, we learn about the Holocaust, but none of it occurred on American soil so it can be difficult to grasp just how horrifying and grueling it was. But when you walk through the building where a young girl and her family had to hide for their lives, it changes the way you see the world. It turns an abstract concept into something tangible, you can see, hear and touch the things the Frank family saw, heard and touched everyday for the years they were in hiding. I was so humbled walking through such a museum.
That night we had the awesome opportunity to participate in MuseumNacht. One night a year, the museums open from 7pm to 2am and basically turn into a bar with a DJ. It was insane! We went to the Van Gogh museum and the Rijk Museum. it was a crazy experience, walking through world famous paintings and works of art with a drink in hand and a club in the background.
On my last day, Alicia took me to breakfast at an adorable English Cafe. It was, hands down, THE BEST breakfast EVER. Everyone on the staff was British and they were so friendly.
I got the ‘Eggs Benny’ which was basically a traditional eggs Benedict but with bacon instead of ham. They put it on some toasty baguette and let me tell you; it was INCREDIBLE. It was accompanied by a delicious cappuccino and some homefries. Let’s just say I was very content.
After a stroll around the red light district (interesting), my time in Amsterdam came to an end. thank you to Alicia for showing me around your city and for being a constant friend through the years!!