I landed in (well, rode into?) Amsterdam late at night with my sister on a train from Paris. After finally finding a public restroom, we got to our Airbnb cold and hungry. Our host recommended that we try to go to a snack bar a couple blocks away for some late-night grub, so we ventured out into the street with little to no expectations.
I ordered a Turkish pizza with shawarma, which was more like a wrap than a pizza, but it was delicious! It was topped with garlic sauce and hot sauce, two of my favorite condiments. We ate up our food then went straight to bed, because it was seriously a long day, and we wanted to get going in the morning.
On our first day exploring, we took a tram (I think? Amsterdam public transportation is so confusing you guys) to the Anne Frank House.
If you only do one thing in Amsterdam, you better go to the Anne Frank House. I didn’t think much about it when we purchased the tickets to go a few months ago; all I knew is that it was something that we *had* to do. I was excited when we got in line, and almost forgot about what we were going to experience- and it really is an experience. I learned about Anne’s life before the war, her family and what happened in the house that we were currently standing in. I learned about how smart her father was to get her family out Germany and to the Netherlands. I learned about how smart Anne and her sister were, and how they continued to study while they were in hiding. I learned that she wasn’t perfect (she was rather antagonistic), and started her diary because she wanted to become a famous writer. It was amazing to see the effect that the Holocaust had on a young girl in high school and her family, and at the same time, totally devastating to know that Anne Frank was only one of millions who were killed during the Jewish Holocaust.
Of course, the end of the museum/house led to the gift shop, which I kind of always have mixed feeling about. I mean, does everything have to be commercialized? (I get it, the proceeds go to keep the Anne Frank House up and running.) I could probably go on and on about the Anne Frank House, so just ask me about it.
Afterwards, we grabbed some food in the form of a cheesy mushroom pancake and Dutch meatballs (bitter ballen). Good, but definitely weird. The meatballs were glutenous and kind of tasted like someone tried to make a meatball out of gravy. Sidenote: I literally did not know a stitch of Dutch when coming to Amsterdam, and I still don't know any now. It's just really weird to me that I didn't even try a little to learn Dutch before coming to Amsterdam. Like, it didn't even cross my mind. Pretty crazy.
I think Amsterdam vibes were pretty chill. We didn’t necessarily try to do too much, and just walked around. I did get to see my dear friend Amelia for the first time in a year and a half for about five minutes (and we didn’t even take a picture!), which was just really lovely.
We also stopped by the flower market, which we stumbled across almost by accident! It was really beautiful (and we took pictures even though there definitely was a “no photos” sign- we didn’t see it until after though!).
Across from the flower market was a cheese shop/museum. The museum part was super lame, but the cheese shop had some nice samples, so we snacked and took weird pictures with the super fake-looking cheese.
The next day, we started in Vondelpark, which was just a 15 minute walk from our Airbnb. It was, as Amsterdam is, very chill. It was nice to start off the morning (lol jk it was probably almost noon) with a nice walk across the park and a little photo session, as you do.
Then, we went to take some photos at the I Amsterdam sign, because of course we were going to do that, and enjoyed some ice cream that we had been eyeing the day before.
For lunch, we went to the Food Hallen (aka food hall), which was pretty cool and reminded me of a lot of indoor food markets/food courts in the US. We did a little shopping as well, and got some honey and little food trays for our mom.
We walked around a lot in Amsterdam, mostly because we were so done with trying to understand the public transportation, so we sat at some cafes and had lots of snack along the way.
Our last dinner in Amsterdam was an Indonesian rice table dinner at Blauw, which is apparently a thing in Amsterdam? Something to do with colonialism, probably (not gonna fact check because I’m lazy af). But I mean, look at all that food! It was a pretty intense meal, not gonna lie.
Also, it seems like all we did was eat. Which was true, but we also walked a lot. So it's a balance, okay?!
To top off the Amsterdam trip, we went to the Red Light District! It was mostly awkward and kind of weird? We went pretty early (around 11), because we had an early flight the next morning. It was both underwhelming and overly creepy, mostly because I felt like I was intruding on these women’s privacy, although they were there (probably?) of their own volition. I don’t know. It was weird, and we left after a little while (but not before getting creeped out by some dudes who were following us).
So after just a couple days in Amsterdam, we were done. I mean, we definitely were on a timeline because we had already bought our flights out and whatnot, but I think two days were enough for us in Amsterdam. Don’t get me wrong- we definitely didn’t do most of the touristy things, but we got to chill out, relax, and enjoy the city. And I think that’s the best way to travel.
Let me know what magical things I missed in Amsterdam, so I can go again in the future!
All the best,