Firstly, I would like to sincerely apologize for the delay since my last post. I have been under the weather and just cannot seem to shake it. However, it has given me time to look through some of my trip photos and I stumbled upon a couple I really liked from Amsterdam. It just so happens (with the theme of being ill) that on my arrival to Amsterdam from Copenhagen, I became very sick with a cold. As I mentioned before, Copenhagen was very cold at night or in the shade, but sweltering in the sun; I blame the weather changes for me falling ill. I had to fly due to an issue with my overnight train which ended up working out better in the long run and I arrived at 11:40am in Amsterdam. The best part about flying in is that they have a second Iamsterdam sign at the airport; with a lot less tourists around I was able to snap this unobstructed picture above. With great directions from the hostel, I found my way with relative ease (and a little help from CityMaps). As with most accommodations, you cannot check in until later in the day, so I decided to get something to eat nearby and wait until I could get into my room so I could change and clean up. Right from the start, I fell in love with the buildings and architecture of Amsterdam. The canal houses that line the streets and intricate bridges are so beautiful; you really have to see it to understand. It’s the energy too, the whole city is alive. As I am sure you are aware, bicycles are a bit part of life in Europe; this is especially true in Amsterdam. The mix of pedestrian lifestyle, the constant flow of bicycles and the canals with their boats; this all lends to a unique feeling that only Amsterdam can give you. Because I had become so sick almost immediately after arriving, I only walked around my first day, shopping a little and stopping to eat or drink and just taking it all in. By dinner time, I’d had enough and found an adorable little restaurant with fresh orange juice and homemade soup. I was so content sitting on the tiny patio just looking out at the canal and gorgeous homes, watching passersby that I sat for almost 2 hours. One such passerby gave all us patrons a great laugh when he declared to a passing tour boat, “You want to take pictures? Here, take a picture of this!” and proceeded to moon them! It was done in good fun though and everyone laughed, including the boat of tourists. Coincidently, the next night was an actual full moon and it lend itself to one of the most beautiful walks I had the whole trip as I made my way back to the hostel on my last night in Amsterdam. Again, I wish I had stayed longer, two days was definitely not enough time. The people I encountered in this city were colourful, to say the least. A man rode his bike into a girl that had stopped on the side of the path in Vondel Park; he then proceeded to steal the beer of a man sitting at patio adjacent. The best part was the street performers; I saw amazing break-dancers and a man who juggled knives while eating an apple! There was so much to see here and I did manage to make it to the Van Gogh museum, which was lovely and the Red Light District, which was what you would expect. The main site I wanted to see though was the Anne Frank House; I felt an undeniable feeling of sadness here and even cried at the end, it is profoundly intense to experience in person. I finished my site seeing day with a canal tour which was quite relaxing and luckily I did not get flashed a stranger’s bum! Overall, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen and I had a great time. I would return in a heartbeat; but I’d rather not be sick the next time!
August 21-23, 2013