Last week I was on vacation in Amsterdam. Truth be told, it was my second time there, yet the city never seizes to amaze me. The people, the food, the Dutch streets and narrow alleys, the canals, the coffee shops and the cheese. Yes, the cheese. I’m a big fan of special cheese, the smellier the better. And there most certainly is a funky smell in Amsterdam.
But the most important thing that learned during my week off is that Amsterdam is most definitely not only for stoners, and you don’t go there solely for the weed.
First off, the city center is designed perfectly. It’s as if the people of old Amsterdam, hundreds of years ago, engineered the city in a way that’s perfect for tourists. From Dam Square to Leidsplein and Rembrandt, the city squares form a triangle, connected by the wide Dutch streets with endless shops and fast food joints. With very few cars, a ridiculous number of bikes and a cable car that circles around, strolling through the city center is simply a delight.
Once you’re done racing around the city center, wearing out your credit card in all the shops, take a day to relax and clear your mind. And trust me, there’s no better place to clear your mind. Rent a bike, eat a brownie (special or not, it’s your call), and ride off to Vondel park. This park, laying on the outskirts of the city center, is very reminiscent of New York’s central park. Enjoy lunch at the park’s restaurant, lay by the pond and wonder off into thoughts, or simply race through the paths and enjoy the wind in your face and your fingers freezing on the bike’s handle bar (I regret not buying gloves).
Other attractions that my filled my week included a visit to the world-renown Madam Toussaud wax museum, a tour of the Heineken factory and even a day of culture at the Van Gogh museum. Also, I was lucky enough to catch a soccer game at the famous Amsterdam Arena (highly recommend!). As for the food, Amsterdam is junk food heaven. But besides all the French fries and Belgian waffles I could ask for, Amsterdam offers much more. Café de Klos is known to have the best ribs in Europe. And any random corner café will offer an array of mouth watering treats. But above all, the herring sandwich is reason enough to hop on a plane and go to grab a bite.
I spent a week in Amsterdam and absolutely loved it. Now it’s your turn.