Amsterdam, a set on Flickr.
If you’ve read Eat, Pray, Love, you’ll remember a section where Liz talks about how every city has a word. In Europe I’ve been thinking a lot about this. If Amsterdam had a word I think it would be chill. Everyone was so chill, a fact that me and my two friends kept remarking on.
That’s of course from my perspective, and I may be a bit biased because I live in the north of Italy where chill is NOT the word, in fact you may say the word here is avoid or even impatient. Only kidding Bergamo, I do love you, but your word is not chill. Amsterdam, is a different story. I was immediately surprised at how nice and friendly people were, and that’s not just because we were three American girls helpless in a city where every street name is a sentence of indiscernable vowels.
As we explored this new winter wonderland (it was blizzarding upon our arrival), we kept comparing everything to Italy. Believe me, this was a whole new world. Even things like people giving me two extra bananas for free at the cafe and everyone being sooo willing to give directions made me feel welcome and at home in a very foreign city.
Some places to visit are definitely:
The Anne Frank house:
This was extremely moving as they show the annex where the family hid all within the timeline and context of her diary. Although nothing was furnished, there were models along with passages from her diary. At the end of the exhibit there was an interesting exhibition on modern religious discrimination.
The Red Light District
An interesting experience. From shops where they sell condoms with monkeys on them to the prostitutes in windows with red curtains, there really isn’t anything like it.
My advice to anyone traveling to Amsterdam is to just wander and explore. Find cute cafes along the canals. Shop in funky vintage shops. Taste cheese samples in local markets.