As I sit here at the Easy Times Coffee Shop in Amsterdam I can’t help but observe all the different people around me. Amsterdam is an interesting and mysterious city. It is beautifully cultivated with green parks and flower gardens. Amsterdam is a clean and tidy city, fashionably lined with art museums, cafes on every corner, and old, yet charming buildings. Amsterdam is sophisticated with just the right amount of unrefined nightlife.
You walk down the street and you hear all different languages being muttered between families, couples and friends. The sound of Dutch, French, English, Spanish, and German makes it easy to forget where you are. As you stroll through the city, you are overcome with fragrances of blooming flowers, aromas of coffee brewing in local shops, and whiffs from the passerby taking tokes of what Amsterdam is famous for. The city provides you with a taste of whatever you may be looking for. With cuisines from all over the world, food (good food) is easy to come by. Art, history, fashion, weed, quality beer, and friendly people make Amsterdam a unique hub for people of all different cultures and backgrounds.
There is no wonder tourists come from all over the world to spend time in Amsterdam. Having experienced only two nights out in Amsterdam so far, I can say that the city didn’t disappoint. Whether you drink in Leidseplein Square, go to a coffee shop in Dam Plaza, or bar hop in the Red Light District, the bustling streets late into the night will keep you buzzing for more. People from all over the world come to party hard in one of the biggest party cities around. Sometimes the city’s liberal rules escape my mind! You see people lighting up joints in the middle of the street directly in front of the police. It is surprising at first, until you remember where you are! Shroom truffles, absinthe, and space cakes are no big deal. People consume them all the time in Amsterdam.
While I am sure many people come to Amsterdam to experience sex, drugs, and up all night partying (all legally), there is so much to see in the day as well. Vondelpark, the biggest park in Amsterdam, is always bustling with bikers, people walking their dogs, and friends relaxing by the lakes. You can check out the famous Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum. Many people also suggest taking a canal tour through one of Amsterdam’s many canals (the canals cover a quarter of Amsterdam’s surface)! Not far from the city you will find tulip fields, windmills, and other cities worth visiting. You are a short train ride away from neighboring countries such as Belgium and Germany and the trains are clean, comfortable and easy.
My favorite thing to do in a new city is to walk aimlessly through the streets. You will find lovely cafes tucked away behind the main busy plazas and squares. You will realize that often the coolest bars are those at the end of a dark alley. And the people you meet when you are on your own, lost in a new city, are the ones that you will always remember. You can never know what to expect when you explore a new place. I whole heartedly believe that taking yourself out of your comfort zone, and letting happen what will, is the best way to realize the Universe is on your side. Stay mindful and aware, but open yourself up to the world. Forget what you “should” do and spend your days doing what you enjoy. In the end, the most memorable moments usually happen on a whim. It’s 10pm here. I think it’s time for me to get lost in Amsterdam ;)