I Am Sterdam
For as long as I can remember, it was the vices of Amsterdam that I had heard so much about. Whether it was friends abroad, groups of guys who had visited, or in a casual discussion, it was the infamous coffee shops, psychedelic drugs and famed red light district that were always brought up in discussion. However, after spending just a few hours in capital of the Netherlands, I knew the city had so much more to offer. In fact, after three days, Amsterdam sits towards the top of our list (along with Paris and Florence) in regards to our favorite cities we have ever traveled too.
Upon arrival, Samantha and I were starving (go figure) so we headed to one of Amsterdam's many outdoor cafes in a small square towards the center of town. This would be the first of many times we would stop for a quick bite or drink in a square or on the corner of a canal. Speaking of canals, how could they be the not first thing I mentioned? The watery roadways give the city it's character and cause any photographer to take one too many shots of the "same picture" (according to Samantha). You could, and we did, spend hours getting lost on the narrow streets of Amsterdam strolling from canal to canal enjoying the pure beauty the city has to offer.
While you are strolling, there will be a number of tempting eateries serving up everything from gouda cheese, fresh croissants or muffins the size of your head. Along with the grab and go options, Amsterdam has a number of great restaurants for one to indulge. While Dutch food may not be the first cuisine that comes to your mind, Amsterdam has a plethora of dining options for any time of day (more on that to come later).
In between the strolling and eating, there is plenty of culture to absorb as well. Renaissance art, world war two history and the unusual architecture throughout the city provide every visitor with something to enjoy. And unlike Paris, you do not need to drive yourself crazy running around to try and see all the major sites as it can all be managed at a slow pace within a couple of days when done correctly. If shopping is your forte, Amsterdam has plenty of that as well - again, less than Paris which could be viewed as a good thing, especially for us guys.
However, it was the general vibe of the city that captivated Samantha and I. In addition to the picturesque cause ways, the entire city was clean, the people were delightful and transportation is a breeze either through public transit or as the locals do - bikes. Let me emphasize, truly everyone rides bikes, whether you are wearing high heels for a gala or going to hang in the park, a bike is the typical mode of transportation. I am not sure if it was due to the fact that is was a weekend and the weather was nice but smiles were all around engulfing the city in a good humored atmosphere everywhere we ventured.
In a short three days, Samantha and I fell in love with Amsterdam and had the yearning of not wanting to leave. I can say with certain, that Samantha and I will be back to Amsterdam in the next few years, even if it is just for a long weekend (pending a good deal on a flight of course). In the meantime, we will have the newest addition to our art collection hanging on our walls to remind us of the time we spent in Amsterdam. Check back later for more on the food, sights and city.
|Bikes are lined up everywhere you look.|