Conversations about Amsterdam rarely escape mention of marijuana or the red light district. They’re the equivalent of the CN Tower or our Blue Jays - they can make for interesting small talk, but they hardly define their respective places.
There’s so much to love about Amsterdam. World class cycling culture & infrastructure (rivalled only by Copenhagen so far), breath-taking views and fascinating history have been just a few of the highlights on this stop.
Emma has good friends hosting us in their beautiful flat here (Brian and Amanda, thank you so much!) – a welcome break from hostels & airbnbs. I suppose it’s something about having your entire life in a backpack that makes peace of mind a little hard to come by.
I’m glad we saw Copenhagen first, because I think heading there after this might make it feel a bit sterile. That’s less of a knock on Scandinavia than it is on the eclectic clash of cultures here in the Netherlands – something that we felt in Berlin and that we can appreciate coming from Toronto.
It’s gritty here, yet easygoing. It feels like a place we could call home.
We explored Amsterdam’s beautiful Van Gogh collection, made friends at a charming old bar that’s been collecting dust since 1798, rented brand new Dutchies from a friendly bike shop owner, pedaled to two of the city’s remaining windmills (had a history lesson in one of them before drinking delicious craft beer at the other), walked more than our share of tiny spiralled staircases, became certified experts in the realm of Dutch cheese, and yes, even adventured in to a coffeeshop.
It feels like a crying shame to leave here so suddenly, like many of the other cities we’ve been to. We seriously considered foregoing our next stop to spend just a little more time in Amsterdam, but settled with making our return a life priority.
Off to Belgium, the land of waffles, beer and frites, where Bruges is our first stop.