Amsterdam was the last stop on my European adventure. I was not able to travel here with anyone or have a host. That would be my only regret. I found this city to be a little overwhelming by myself. It seems like it would be best with a small group of people, just like Las Vegas, NV.
I stayed at a hostel downtown so I could easily walk to everywhere I wanted to go. There were so many restaurants and bars close by. There were also several coffee shops and cafes. I learned the difference pretty quickly, just by the smell. A cafe is where you buy coffee. I’m sure the other serves coffee too but the aroma is somewhat different than a cafe…if you know what I mean.
The Rijksmuseum had it’s re-opening when I was there so I joined thousands of other people to see the exhibits. It was a bit crowded to really take in the art but it was nice to see some Rembrant paintings in person. They are quite beautiful. The newly renovated museum was nice too. I’m sure it would be even better on a slow day.
From Amsterdam I took the bus to Zaanse Schans and Volendam. The Zaanze Schans area gives you a close up of the windmills and the cheese making process. It is the “picture” of Holland. I really enjoyed this scenic area. Volendam is a waterfront community where you can stroll along the water and visit the many tourist shops and restaurants. You can also see some of the great “Holland” rooflines in town. For me this was a great way to spend the day. These small towns were a lot less overwhelming than Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is another city in Europe that offers free walking tours. I highly recommend these. It’s a great way to learn the history of the city and get your bearings. It’s also a nice way to meet some other tourists. We learned why the buildings were sometimes crooked, we learned about the church centered in the red light district and a little of Anne Frank’s story. This was a wonderful way to spend a few hours, especially if you love learning like I do.
If I were to go to The Netherlands again I’ve decided I would visit cities other than Amsterdam and do a bike tour up North. I think that would be awesome, especially with a couple other people.
From Amsterdam I took the bus back to London to catch my flight home. I thought I allowed plenty of buffer but a word to the wise: plan even more time when leaving Amsterdam because customs likes to investigate. We missed our ferry and had to catch the next one. That left me wondering if I was going to make my flight home. I hit the ground running in London and was able to make it with time to grab a snack but not time enough to enjoy the “World of Whiskey’s” store in the airport. That was very sad. Next time…