48 hours in Amsterdam
“Help yourself to a line of coke by the way” says a New Zealander getting me a drink at his house party as soon as I walk through the door.
After having spent several months in New Zealand last year, I should have known I would get this kind of welcome. Plus the fact that I was in Amsterdam – you should obviously always assume there are drugs nearby!
My reason for visiting was to see my gorgeous dutch friend Janneke, whom I had first met in Sydney in 2015. Plus the fact that I had never been AND I was in Spain for the tomato festival already, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pay a visit.
Amsterdam totally shone for me the whole time I was there, with temperatures unseasonably warm. At the boy’s house I almost got sunburnt sitting outside before we made our way to Zeezout – an electronic music festival set in the beautiful venue of Amsterdam’s man-made city beach, Blijburg Aan Zee.
On the way there, the boys were all doing coke in the back of the taxi but I had zero interest in it. In fact I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy the festival all that much – electronic music is not really my thing, but I totally got caught up with the atmosphere of the scene and danced all day with some new found friends!
I didn’t realise that Amsterdam’s festivals were mostly day events. We were all chucked out at 11pm on a Saturday night which I thought was strange but which was also great for us as Janneke had a day of sight-seeing planned for us on Sunday.
It was FANTASTIC to have a local Holland tour guide with me, one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit so much as I knew Janneke would be there. Everyone knows how much better a city can be with a local to show you around. Guide books are great but only the locals know all the true gems! (plus I often seem to spend most of my time researching what to do instead of actually doing it!) If you don’t happen to be as lucky as me with friends all around the world (;)), There’s a great website that does exactly this – withlocals – which for a small fee connects you with locals in many cities around the world. Worth looking into if you want to experience more than just the touristy side of travel.
I truly loved Amsterdam. I tend to base a lot of my judgement of a place by its atmosphere, which I know is very intangible but it works for me (although I have been proved wrong in the past – Broome being a case in point). Amsterdam just grabbed me though the moment I arrived. Its clean streets, its friendly locals always wanting to practise their English with you, its beautiful canal ways and its relaxed weekend pace of life had me hooked. Janneke and I perused down cobbled streets, ducked into quirky clothes and gift shops and sat on the canal in the sunshine watching the boats pass by.
I have to say I am guilty of not visiting ANY tourist attractions or historical landmarks whilst I was there but I figured I only had a day to enjoy this beautiful city, and I wanted to spend it having a wander and eating cake rather than standing in a queue.
I found Amsterdam much more pleasant than Valencia, more friendly than Berlin and more romantic than Paris. A total winner in my opinion! AND I wasn’t even on drugs! So happy I got to visit and I really hope I’ll be returning!