Goedemorgen my friend! I arrived on a busier and larger train station that seemed more complex than the ones I had been to over the past week- makes complete sense because Amsterdam is the capital city of The Netherlands. This sensational city is famous for its historical canals with house boats residing on them, its tall and narrow 17th century architecture, citizens biking everywhere, and of course – legal drugs and prostitution. There’s so much to see and do in this city full of life!
I started my exploration from Amsterdam Centraal and made my way down Damrak to get to Dam Square. I read that a canal tour is the perfect way to start off a trip to Amsterdam, as it gives visitors a great overview of the city so you’ll know which areas you’ll want to go back to later. I was fortunate enough to find a Canal Cruise within just a few meters from Central just in time when the rain started to pour.
The cruise further got me so eager to explore the city as we floated through from one street to another- “I am really in Amsterdam!”, I exclaimed to myself as every bit of me seemed to have gleamed with excitement. This tour gave me a clearer idea of how the city was mapped out and positioned- it’s definitely not your average city with regular streets. I was most fascinated with listening to the history of the city; how it was the centre of trade and economy during its Golden Age and how Dutch architecture came to be today’s Amsterdam’s famous city scape.
Although it was raining lightly, I still found it to be such a charismatic day. After all, what is an Amsterdam experience without a little rain?
The rain stopped just in time as my cruise ended. I continued on foot and made my way to Dam Square. If you had seen European street carnivals on tv, this place was exactly like it. Dam Square is the town’s square where you will find the site of the royal palace, a church, museums, funfairs like markets, concerts or carnivals.
Dam Square was brimming with street food and entertainment! It was a little past lunch time already so I definitely needed to grab some food. I was perplexed from deciding between, Nutella Crepes, Waffles, Foot-long Sausages, famous cone fries with peanut sauce, mayo, & onions. I went for the foot-long sausages. They were grilled out in the open with an array of flavours and variety; it was too enticing.
Your visit to the Netherlands will not be complete without having Stroopwafels. I just can’t resist these warm caramel-filled-baked-crunchy-gooey-goodness. I buy them off the streets from any Dutch city I visit (and also get some from the grocery to munch after meals at Zooetermeer).
Oh, Amsterdam! What a truly majestic city you are. I had finally walked into timeless photographs of this charismatic city. I always get that captivated feeling everytime I arrive at a dream destination that used to only exist in photographs. I took my unswerving time being enraptured in this city’s streets and canals.
Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. I wasn’t so keen on visiting this museum because I was leaning towards seeing the Van Gogh Museum- which was just close by. Unfortunately, since Van Gogh is one of the most famous Dutch painters, there such was a long queue.
Cheese overload! Every street in Amsterdam had atleast one cheese shop. I spent more time in cheese shops compared to shopping boutiques. I found it impossible to choose from all these flavours and variety. It wasn’t simply just “goat cheese”, there had to be “matured goat cheese”, “young goat cheese”, etc. Cheese took up the most weight of my baggage space, lol.
Did you know they also sell marijuana flavoured cheese?
Speaking of marijuana, these Cannabis Lollipops certainly intrigued me. I found Cannabis products in almost any Amsterdam Souvenir Shop. I had encountered two of the most important questions I had that day: First, will I get high on this? Second, can I bring these home for my friends or will the airport security arrest me, deport me, ban me, fine me, what-so?
Answers: First, they taste like sweetened marijuana leaves, odd but it seems to be an acquired taste you will learn to love and no, you will not get high from them. Apparently, the THC (the chemical compound in cannabis responsible for your high), is removed from this product but the leafy flavour still remains. I did some reading on TripAdvisor if it is legal to transport these with me. Long story short, I was able to bring home about a dozen of these.
It’s not a complete Amsterdam experience without swinging by at the Red Light Distrtict.
I found time to met up with Johnny Omen and his girlfriend. Johnny is my best friend’s best guy friend who lives in the Netherlands. I asked if they could take me to somewhere where I could try to smoke some weed- Amsterdam style. It’s legal to buy marijuana at coffeeshops in Amsterdam, and there are literally hundreds of them throughout the city. You’ll have no problem finding weed in Amsterdam. Just make sure that you go to a “coffeeshop.” Not a “coffee shop,” “café,” or “coffee house.”
I was pretty high with half-a-joint.
Moving on, we decided to have a bottle or two outside the district. On our way out, we passed by a few windows with prostitutes before we found a place where we could have beer under the sun.
I also visited the Sex Museum, one of the most visited museums, on another day. A spark of curiosity hovered on me, I’m in Amsterdam already, why not? Once you get inside, you realize that the Sex Museum combines their rich collection about the human sexuality with some humour & a little bit of artistic flair: photographs, costumes, sculptures etc. I found myself surprised and fazed; I had not been exposed to sexuality as open and carefree as this. It was definitely a unique experience.
Regardless of this city being known for legal prostitution and use of drugs, Amsterdam is a safe city to visit. In the SafeCity Index 2015 Amsterdam takes the 5th position in the list of safest cities in the world (2015).
I spent two days exploring Amsterdam on my own. My favourite part, you would ask? Admittedly would also be the train rides going to and back from Amsterdam. Don’t get me wrong, I really loved every bit of the city but there was just something about train rides that captivate me wholly. We also passed several flower fields, my eyes would instantly glisten at that sight. Remember, the sun sets pretty late here in Netherlands so when I’n heading home around 7 in the evening, I get to enjoy a 30-minute serene train ride as I watch the sun slowly setting on the landscape. Earphones on, my favourite songs during this trip are on repeat, and in that significant moment, I just felt completely full- like there was nothing more I could ask for.
On my next visit to Amsterdam, I’d definitely love to see the city on a bike or experience Amsterdam’s famous nightlife.
Tot de volgende keer!