I had spent exactly one month in southern Italy on my International Hotel and Tourism study abroad program when I went to Amsterdam for a weekend. The main reason for this trip was to reunite with an old friend, the destination was a rather random decision. Consequently, I didn’t have a lot of expectations for the city.
After a train ride, a bus ride and two flights, I finally arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday night. I was instantly in a great mood when I got to hug my friend again after two years of not seeing each other. My mood kept getting better when we rode the bus from the airport to the city center and I saw how beautiful the city was with all its canals and bridges.
The first night had to be dedicated entirely on catching up with each others lives, but the next morning we were ready to explore Amsterdam! The front desk agent at our hotel had given us a city map and pointed out the main attractions. We took off on foot, and started walking in the direction of Anne Frank house. We soon changed our mind about renting bikes for the rest of the day because cyclists in Amsterdam bike extremely fast and with rules too complicated for two confused tourists like us. Many canals later, we arrived at Anne Frank house. The line to get in was comparable to the one outside the Vatican City. Apparently one should make reservations online before visiting. Although it might be disappointing for tourists like me and my friend to miss out on the attraction because we didn’t plan far enough in advance, I think it is a good attempt to regulate the big streams of tourists. Even though we missed out on Anne Frank house, we saw a lot of the city that day: the Red Light District, the Rijksmuesum, and the Royal Palace.
We had dutch cheese and bread for lunch and dinner all weekend
We spent the next day exploring some of the different markets Amsterdam has to offer. We saw everything from fresh flowers to old postcards and left with a couple more souvenirs than planned. Before it got dark, we decided to take a walk along the Amstel river. This was breathtakingly beautiful, especially when we arrived at the Prinsengracht with all its houseboats.
The flower market, seen from the back
The houseboats at the Prinsengracht
I was very sad to leave Amsterdam the morning after and am determined to go back as soon as I get the opportunity. Finding places that have this effect on me is the reason why I travel. I think the city has a lot more to offer than what it is known for, but why don’t you go see for yourself?
By Valeska Ruiken