This past March, I traveled to Amsterdam, Netherlands solely because I’m a mess of a person
Why We Chose Amsterdam
Like I said, my friend and I are currently ridiculous people. You hear stories about Amsterdam in the states; of how everything is legal and people are letting it all hang loose and having sex in the streets. I had to see it!
Ok, maybe not the actual sex in the streets. That actually sounds deeply unsettling.
My friend and I were already planning to go to South Africa in March and we weren’t due in Cape Town until a Wednesday. This trip would be both of our first ventures into international territory, so instead of waiting until Tuesday to fly into Cape Town, we decided to take a weekend trip to somewhere in Europe. We figured it would break up our flying time so that we wouldn’t completely lose our minds and would also allow us to see some more shxt we’d never seen. Me, being a heathen, suggested Amsterdam because of the potential debauchery we could get ourselves into. She agreed; Amsterdam it was.
We booked our flights through Kayak (at a very reasonable rate) and used the Multi-City option. We flew with Turkish Airlines (which wasn’t great for first time international travelers that had no idea what we were doing) and flew to a total of four cities and three different countries in a week’s span.
Turkish Airlines was a decent option, don’t get me wrong. We even ventured away from the airport in Istanbul after receiving a free hotel stay from the airlines. Our layover was over I believe eight or nine hours long and we made sure to take advantage of the airline’s hospitality. However, I just never felt comfortable in the city. It could’ve been my travel anxiety creating uneasiness that wasn’t warranted or it could’ve been more. It also could’ve been the fact that I was irritated with connecting in Istanbul every single time. Even now I’m not entirely sure.
The travel agency we used for the South Africa portion of the trip booked our hotel for us, but for Amsterdam we searched Google and ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam – Sloterdijk Station. The hotel offered free continental breakfast and the staff were always attentive to our questions. The rooms were perfect. The local transit system had a stop right next door to our hotel so we used that to get to most things but if a location was too far (or we were in a hurry), we used Uber.
What I Loved About Amsterdam
The free spirit atmosphere of Amsterdam blew my mind.
Although I got verbally attacked by two of the weirdest shop owners I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting (I’ll detail those events in a later post), I loved the openness that Amsterdam presented.
I loved the idea that certain vices (prostitution, weed, etc.) that are illegal in my home country were for regulated but unlocked public consumption in Amsterdam. We chose not to have a plan each day (with the exception of my friend almost beating me up if we didn’t stand in line for the Anne Frank Museum) and wandered the chilly streets of Amsterdam.
We visited the plethora of miniature museums that lined the rustic sidewalks: such as the Museum of Prostitution, the Museum of Sex, the aforementioned Anne Frank museum (get there EARLY) and, randomly, the Van Gogh Museum.
There were penises everywhere. I can’t even share most of my photos from Amsterdam because there’s probably a penis lurking somewhere in the background that I didn’t notice. You visit a toilet in a restaurant (that you paid one pound for). You take in your surroundings then sit down to handle your business. As things are happening, you happen to glance up and gasp in shock at the highly stylized photograph of a giant penis staring right back at you. Mocking you. You’re in the women’s bathroom. This is what Amsterdam is like.
Coffee shops also pretty much rule the area. Coffee shops=Marijuana. You can buy marijuana in a shop and indulge it inside that very shop. There’s a long story short for you.
To Wrap This Up…
Amsterdam was my kind of city. I felt comfortable strolling through the streets as a woman with my equally woman sorority sister/friend, darting in and out of stores at random. I experienced my first Primark, which was a highlight of it’s own. I ate as many chocolate covered waffles as physically possible and didn’t bloat. All in all, the city treated us very well and I plan on going back if the Universe allows me to.