When I arrived at the Amsterdam airport, it brought back some wonderful memories of my voyage to and from Ghana last year. I remembered how hot the water felt after not having had access to warm water for several months, and how bright it was. Thankfully this time around, this wasn't an issue for me. Instead I boarded the public bus and made my way towards the Museum District of the city, where my hotel was located.
I got slightly lost on my walk to the hotel, but I enjoyed taking in the sights - the beautiful buildings, the presence of tress, the people wandering and, of course, the bikes. Getting lost is really the best way to explore a place, as you usually end up in areas you wouldn't ordinarily find yourself. However in this case, it directed me to the exact place I was wanting to go!
I didn't stay long once I checked in. I grabbed my camera and made my way throughout Amsterdam, zig-zagging up and down the streets and along the canals. It was so beautiful. I instantly felt this wonderful vibe. Mind you, that could have just been the result of a certain scent found all over this city. Interestingly, I felt pretty relaxed around that same time...
|The first picture of the trip...not to shabby!|
Getting lost was the right decision. I really enjoyed walking along the canals. I found it amazing how many incredible churches were to be found tucked away almost out of sight. For the most part, I felt like I was back in Venice, but with vehicles and intense cyclists, and less the ever-present fear of being wiped out by sea-level rise*.
On my way back, I took a nice, long stroll in Vondelpark. It was a Sunday afternoon, and unlike many of the parks back home, it was filled (FILLED!) with people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Families were playing and picnicking with their small children, elderly couples were walking hand-in-hand, several groups were playing soccer and catch, many were doing just as I was - walking around, enjoying the outdoors - and everyone else was biking.
|This is how I selfie.|
|View from my room|
|I found Nemo! ...bet that one's been done a few times too many!|
Actually, this is the city's Science Centre.
|If there's one thing Amsterdam needs, it's gotta be bicycles. |
As you can see in this photograph, they're running short.
|A windmill just outside of Volendam.|
The rest of the afternoon was free time. I went in a different direction from the previous day, with a few spots in mind, but ultimately put away my map and wandered. I did eventually find the flower market, which was mostly bulbs, but it was pretty neat to see nonetheless. I also returned to Dam Square.
|The Rijksmuseum, or the National Museum|
|One of many amazing and well-hidden churches I stumbled across|
|The flower market|
In the evening some of us did an optional tour which consisted of one of the best and ginormous meals of my life (at which I learned Canadian hodgepodge is nowhere near the Dutch version, but equally delicious!). Then we walked throughout the Red Light District, which was...interesting. It was really quite amazing how low-key it all seemed. I don't really know what I was expecting, but anyway.
Oh yeah, remember how I was going to go back to eating my allergy-friendly diet? Yeah, that went out the window almost immediately after landing. Coffee didn't take long to filter back in either (see what I did there...filter...because it's coffee?!?)...
-the Orange Canadian
*Degree to which the impending doom felt may be a