They say there are some things in life you cannot truly appreciate unless you’ve experienced them. The European summer is a lot like that!
I spent my summer break in Amsterdam and the city of canals took my breath away. I explored other parts of Europe too but this blog post is just for this beautiful city of Netherlands. I am thinking of a killer start to my post but I just can’t find the right words. I think Amsterdam has given me so many beautiful stories that choosing one is as difficult as choosing between the Stroopwafels and the Poffertjes!
As soon as the plane landed on Schiphol airport, the sunshine greeted us. In the night. I knew this was going to happen but it still left me with my mouth hanging open. When you have been seeing the moon in the sky at night, the sun can take you by surprise!
I think my very first memory was in Westerpark. What is summer without a good picnic?
Sitting on the grass with legs dangling in the water is therapeutic. Watching people laughing and barbecuing under the summer sun is energizing. Watching little ducks coming up to you to ask for food is somewhat fairy tale like.
Having family in Amsterdam helped me explore like a local. I truly got the Dutch feeling!
It’s beautiful how a place known for its parties can also be the quietest place when you’re sitting next to a canal and watching the weather change. It’s mesmerizing how last night’s beer turns into the morning tea sipped near the water where the loud cheers turn into deep conversations. Sitting next to the canal is truly the best thing you can do to experience the Dutch life style.
The Dutch love cheese and I also tried their different varieties. They love their Stroopwafels and Poffertjes that turn your mouth into a dessert shop. They have their own meat liking too but having left meat years ago, I stuck to my veggies. I tried all sorts of food and didn’t just stick to the Dutch ones. I devoured my ramen well! We went for breakfast one morning at ‘The Breakfast Club’ and their pancakes are mouth watering. I think one of my favorite lunches was at a beautiful restaurant in China Town. The ambiance was beautiful and I also found my love for chopsticks.
You can also head to Febo when you’re in the mood for some junk food!
We spent a day exploring the East and the dapper market there is very famous. You get flowers, fruits, clothes and all sorts of things. The Poffertjes there are a must try! The Herring is one of the loved local foods that is found easily in the market. A cafe called Bar Botanique also falls in the East and it has a beautiful ambiance! You’ll feel close to nature when you’re there.
The museums are beautiful and I loved my visit to the Van Gogh museum. Listening to Van Gogh and his brother’s letters was something so beautiful I don’t have the exact words to describe it.
It happened when I was very young. I saw a girl’s photo on a book and she made me fall in love with words. Anne Frank. The girl I would have loved to be best friends with had she been alive. I couldn’t get tickets to go see her house but just knowing I was near the place where Anne breathed was my very own story book moment. Also, we were at NDSM (located in the North), which is also a great place to hang out, when I suddenly gasped. Anne was looking at me like she knew I would find her here if not at the doorstep. You can go here to get some amazing pictures.
I stayed in the West for a month but we would occasionally go to the central side. There with the royal looking malls, horses next to women with masks blowing bubbles, loads of restaurants and stores, a new and more enthusiastic side of Amsterdam can be seen. This is the part where you’ll find both tourists and the Dutch spreading cheer. Leidseplein indeed is the best place to go if you’re looking for pubs, clubs and hotels.
We would roam the whole day and then have our own cozy picnics in the parks. Vondelpark is the largest park there and is a delight to see. Westerpark, of course, is my personal favorite.
I always wanted to see a penguin and I finally saw them at ARTIS zoo! The zoo is beautiful and large and the animals there look happy. The dolphins especially are the cutest of all! The man sitting in a cage full of vultures and feeding them made me blink a couple of times.
You’ll see the Dutch attached to their cycles. Exploring on cycle is a great way. I preferred exploring on foot and loved every bit of it.
Living in Amsterdam was like living between the pages of a great book. I’ve made so many memories here and I will always keep them tucked in my heart.
There are many more things in this beautiful city and I hope I see all of them one day.
There are also some beautiful villages of Netherlands I was lucky to explore. I might write about them soon.
Amsterdam, you were never the place I grew up thinking about. I never thought I would step on the European soil. But how lucky am I that the universe keeps blessing me in beautiful ways. Thank you for giving me so many stories I can carry around in my soul. Thank you for being everything I ever wanted in a place. You gave me a bite of magic and the sweet taste will always linger on my tongue making me talk the most beautiful things about you. City of canals, you stole my heart.
Happy new year! Hope your 2020 is full of travel, love and joy!
Dank je wel for being a part of my tiny blogging family!