My Amsterdam VacationPosted: March 19, 2012
Amsterdam is a pretty cool city. Very interesting, laid-back vibe. Chic. Sophisticated, yet fun. And everyone there pretty much speaks English, so getting around is never a problem. You can check out my zillions of photographs here. I took my point-and-shoot with me because I hate carrying around my big SLR when I’m traveling. It seriously marks you as being a tourist from out of town and it’s so cumbersome. I like to travel as lightly as possible and the added burden of a large camera (not to mention the fear of theft or damage) is enough to ensure I’ll always bring a point-and-shoot on an international vacation.
A few things to note:
- I never once saw a homeless person.
- NOTHING is open at 5:30 in the morning, not even the McDonald’s.
- Get used to the smell of weed. It’s everywhere. What’s that? You don’t know what weed smells like? Oh, you sweet thing. You will before you leave.
- I never once saw a real grocery store or pharmacy in the city, even though we stayed in a very residential part of town.
- No one wears helmets on their bicycles or motorbikes.
- You could totally buy a beer out of the VENDING MACHINE on our hotel floor.
- Try not to slip and nearly break your ankle like I did in the Red Light District. I never, ever want to know what kind of fluid I slipped on.
- Try not to get mowed down by an inattentive car driver like I did while you’re on a rental bike.
- Do go to the Anne Frank House around 11:30 on a Tuesday, and if you’re lucky like we were, you won’t have to stand in line at all.
- For a horribly hilarious time, visit the Sex Museum. You will spend an equal amount of time laughing uncontrollably and being disgusted by what you see.
- None of the places in the Schiphol Airport that I could find will seal your drinks for you, so you can’t carry ANY beverages on the plane with you (as security is performed at each individual GATE instead of right after you check your bag as it is in U.S. airports). If you’re leaving out of this airport, make sure you carry an empty water bottle with you so you can fill it up at the bathroom after security. I wish I had known this; I had a 10.5 hour flight back home without my own bottle of water. Misery.
- Like everywhere else in Europe that I’ve been to (okay, only two other places), restaurants are so STINGY with the soft drinks and water. It costs three Euros (at minimum) just to get a little bit more than a shot glass of either beverage. I like to chug my Diet Cokes and water when I’m eating, but you can’t do that in Europe. You have to sip, sip, sip, or smuggle in your own beverage from the corner shop. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, EUROPE?!?! Would it kill you to offer fountain drinks?!
- Buy as many syrup waffles as humanly possible. Eat them incessantly. Be happy. Buy some for your parents but eat them yourself. They’ll never know. (Hi, mom and dad!)
- Take a trip to the Dutch countryside and buy glorious, glorious CHEESE. Pesto cheese, garlic cheese, aged cheese, smoked cheese. The possibilities for future constipation are LIMITLESS! Laugh at your husband when he is pulled aside in security at the airport for having cheese in his bag while your cheese goes through the scanner unnoticed. Gloat. Rinse. Repeat.