Amsterdam exceeded my expectations. It also proved to be my favorite weekend Eurotrip thus far, so there’s that.
You may wonder why I fell so madly in love with the city, and the answer doesn’t, actually, lie in the fact that a certain something is oh-so legal there (I’m referring to weed, not prostitution). Though that certainly adds to Amsterdam’s unique essence, my affinity for the place was instead a product of the city looking a little something like this:
In other words, utterly breathtaking.
When friends and I weren’t visiting the Anne Frank House or the van Gogh Museum, we were wandering the canals with gaping mouths, stunned by the townhouses on either side and the fall foliage up above.
Equally astounding were the bikes…everywhere. The guide that led my walking tour (yes, I did a walking tour, and yes, I went on it alone because my friends were still asleep) said that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people. I didn’t fully understand how that was possible, but it seemed accurate. We saw an infinite number of bikes, and were very nearly run over by every single one of them.
Since our hostel was situated on the edge of Amsterdam’s (albeit measly) Chinatown, we found ourselves noshing on late-night noodles more often than I would’ve liked. Thankfully, we managed to sneak in a few higher quality meals, as well. Our favorite spots included Brandstof, Wolverstraat 23, Toos and Roos, and Lite/Dark.
The salad featured below (from Brandstof) included roasted pumpkin and beets, pickled onions, walnuts, and a generous helping of a cheese I didn’t recognize, but was very happy with.
Other items we successfully crossed off our to-do list: a canal boat tour one evening, a quick trip to Vondelpark, a whole lot of window shopping, and walking, walking, walking.
On our very last morning, I found myself awake even earlier than usual. After a less-than-mediocre breakfast at our hostel’s complimentary buffet — are sliced bread and cheese, still in their plastic wrap, enough to constitute a buffet? — I took myself out for a walk. Dam Square wasn’t looking too bad:
And neither was the lobby at the Rijksmuseum, later on in the day:
After a final lunch with friends, it was time to pack up and take one last look from the window next to my top bunk bed. That part didn’t upset me so much…
But bidding farewell to views like this one?
Well, that was a another story.