We arrived in the land of the wooden clog on the 4th February. We had been travelling by train all day, passing scenery at a fast pace until we finally arrived on our last leg of our Contiki.
My first impression of Amsterdam was, “Holy wind, Batman!”, as we stood waiting for our tram to head into the Red Light District. The wind had so much force, that the option to have hair out was not possible. The wind blew our coats and lifted the pace of our steps. It’s something I can’t even describe.
The district however, was very easy to describe. Seedy pimps standing above their ‘ladies’ who tapped at the windows as our group strolled on by. We were given glances and had kisses blown in our directions. The district was full of life – people riding bicycles up and down the cobbled streets, stopping into coffee shops and standing in line at the many fast food stalls lining the streets. There were pizza slices the size of dinner plates, kebab shops, anything possible was fried and Chippsy King had rolled up paper filled with the goodness of chips drenched in any kind of sauce available. It was delightful, and I may or may not have eaten six separate meals that night. No judgement please – It’s Amsterdam!!
We wandered the district, stopping in at the kooky places, and wide eyed at the things going on around us – purely legal here. But as soon as the night faded away and the sun came out, my view of Amsterdam was quickly changed.
Beth and I stepped out onto the pathways, and caught a tram into the bustling main strips, where we wandered past tulip stands, cafes that didn’t offer anything but coffee (ha) and the shops housed the quirkiest and coolest finds I have seen in any place visited.
We stopped in at a café where I tasted a Panini with mozzarella, pesto and tomatoes. I sipped on a caramel latte with a side of biscotti, and all the while, we were next door to the house Anne Frank was once hidden in.
We lined up for an hour outside the Anne Frank museum, and we toured the house where she once lived. Walking up the small staircases, and reading through the guides, we were able to take a glimpse back in history to see how devastating the rule had been back then. Anne’s pictures were plastered over the walls, and her diary was housed in a glass box. It was surreal, and very moving.
We then wandered around the rest of Amsterdam, stopping in for coffee, buying clogs, visiting the museums and spending time gazing at the many artworks of Van Gogh. Amsterdam was completely different in the light of the day, with bicycles adorned in floral arrangements casually strewn against the canal bridge.
The city was busy, quaint and quiet at the same time. It was truly beautiful, and I can’t wait to put on my clogs to visit the windy city once more, bike bells and all.
Amsterdam you were ace, I enjoyed you foggy headed and full of fries, as well as with a coffee in hand and a map in the other.