If Amsterdam were an animal, it would be a chameleon. I say this because the city appears differently to different people based on your intentions. For those looking to legally indulge themselves with recreational marijuana, Amsterdam is green. Sex peak your interest? Red. Is history more your thing? Black and white. What I am trying to say is that the city has a lot to offer for any type of traveler. Just be sure to keep those google maps handy. The cities canals were built to keep pirates from escaping quickly, and managed to keep us from finding our hotel… Kudos to the city planner for one effective design.
On our most recent trip, we had roughly 24 hours in Amsterdam and a good portion of that had to be sleep. After a long flight from Boston through Iceland, we were ready to start our adventure. We came into the city on the train from the airport and thanks to our tiny back packs, we were able to walk around and find lunch without too much hassle. As is consistent with a lot of small businesses in big cities, cash is king and you can expect to need an ATM at one point or another. We snagged some quiche from a small bakery on a side street not far from the train terminal. After lunch, we did eventually find our hotel and dropped off our bags. Our room was roughly the size of a walk in closet, and the bathroom and shower were actually in two closets. Needless to say, we got what what we paid for but it got the job done.
With not much knowledge of Amsterdam going into it, we headed to the one place we knew we wanted to visit: Anne Frank House. This was the first of two depressing stops on our Euro tour, but sometimes you just need to experience history in order to fully understand it. The house looks like any other you’ll find in the city, aside from the line that wraps around the block. Inside you take a tour of the building in which she wrote her diary, guided by excerpts and photographs of the family and those that helped them hide. I do recommend visiting, just be ready for a heavy heart.
By the time we exited, it was nearing dinner time and the city was lit by streetlights. It was time to turn up the mood so we ventured to a cafe for a little treat. Yada Yada Yada, I put on my green sweater and it was time for dinner! Right about here, my memory starting failing a little bit, but I do recall stopping for pizza. It was probably really good. Our walk back to the hotel was long, mostly because I got us lost again and we probably walked around in circles for an hour, through the Red Light District, back to the Hotel Amsterdam Inn. I don’t recommend that area, it personally terrified me and I don’t think we even saw people in their windows.
I was pleased to make it back to the hotel safe and sound. Thankfully I slept like a rock as we were up early to catch the airport bus and continue our journey to Turkey.