Colourful old houses, a spider web of picturesque canals dotted with houseboats, funky coffeeshops that serves other things than coffee… quirky boutiques and eateries, museums for everything – from tulips and cheese to famous art collections from artist like Rembrandt and Van Gogh to, well, sex and drugs – It is Amsterdam after all… A city unlike any other I’ve ever seen. Diverse, liberal, open-minded with an incredible charm. And not to worry, after about a day with a headache you get use to that constant sweet smell that’s surrounding you… Amsterdam is a quite small city and the easiest way to get around is by bike. And boy do the dutch love their bikes! But cycling in Amsterdam is not a piece of cake, the streets are narrow and sometimes uneven, and the ”bike traffic” is pretty insane. I’d planed to rent a bike during my visit, but after almost gotten run over 4 times during my first 2 hours in the city I reconsidered and took the safer option- walking. You definitely ought to look twice before crossing the road. Just saying…especially considering the fact that every 10th person on a bike probably is high as a kite… Another big passion for the dutch people seems to be pancakes! The dutch pancakes (pannekoeken) are thinner than an american pancake, which to be honest I’ve yet to taste, but seeing that I’ll be leaving for California next week for a 2,5 months stay I guess I’ll have plenty of opportunities;) You can get your pancake any way you like, a plain one with sugar or syrup or maybe one with an apple and cinnamon topping, banana and nutella or why not peach and ginger. But more often than not the dutch pancake is served in a savory way, with just plain cheese or bacon & cheese. And forget about that idea that you have in your head that pancakes should be eaten for breakfast, the dutch love it for dinner! And hey, lets not forget to indulge in the yummy poffertjes, a much smaller, puffed pancake traditionally served with butter and icing sugar. Perfect snack while you’re walking around one of the many great open air markets scattered around the city. Amsterdam is not just a green, beautiful modern city with a rich history full of tulips and windmills. No there is another side of Amsterdam that can be described as anything but pretty. And sadly it’s a big reason why tourists have flocked to the city for years. I’m of course talking about the Red Light District. You gotta see it to believe it! The notorious red-lit windows with half naked women trying to make a living by selling their body and live sex shows that leaves nothing for the imagination. It gets even more surreal during daytime…Personally I found it repulsing. But the fact is, no matter if you hate it or love it, the Red Light District is a big part of Amsterdam. But I would strongly advice that your start by seeing other parts of this remarkable city, why not have a picnic in the Vondelpark before wandering around the neighbourhood of sin. First impressions is extremely importaint you know… And Amsterdam is definately worth seeing and exploring! And the locals are just amazingly friendly, and everyone speaks next to perfect english! It’s a city I’ll keep returning too. I can’t wait to go there during the winter and do some iceskating on the canals. I mean wouldn’t that just be awesome?
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What’s your impression?