Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Learning to love Amsterdam


"I don't really like Amsterdam" I often hear myself saying whenever someone mentions the Dutch capital, "It's too crowded, chaotic and not that beautiful. It only has canals with guilded houses on both sides and after half an hour of walking they all look the same." I guess this is quite a controversial statement to start a post with but that's the plain truth. Or at least it was for the last five years.

I first went to Amsterdam five or six years ago with some friends. It was a rainy day in November and I didn't know that much about Amsterdam. Ah, my first traveling steps during which I didn't bothered to prepare for my trips neither did I do any research. As a result I was just following someone else under the rain, unable to get my bearings and after a while I was totally lost in yet another street with a canal in the middle which looked exactly the same as the previous one. Add to that a quick stroll around the red light district, lunch at Burger King and tea at McDonalds and more than probably you have already figured out what went wrong. Still, I've been back more than a handful of times and eventually Amsterdam began to charm me in the way it had charmed many others before me.


Last Saturday I went to Amsterdam with a couple of friends and I had an amazing time there - the weather played its part as it was really sunny and hot! For the first time I grabbed the map and faced my fears of getting lost in Amsterdam and surprisingly, I managed to find my way among many a street bisected by a canal. Becuase we were there just for one day and we didn't have that much time we sticked to the basics: the Dam square, the 'I Amsterdam' sign, the New Markt square, the canals (you guessed it!) and another quick stroll around the Red Light District. We decided not to waste spend time in any museum because we wanted to see as much as possible and enjoy the nice weather, which is kind of a gift in the Netherlands.

We tried to make the most of our only day in Amsterdam and had a great time there. We walked as much as we could along the canals and at the end of the day our sore feet confirmed that it has been a well spent day. I know that we neglected too many interesting sights but that's the downside of daytrips, having to choose what to see and what not. Anyways, I'm already planning a trip to Amsterdam in spring 2014 because Boyfriend has never been there - ok, not totally true, we were once there last year when I had to take my GRE test but he didn't see almost anything of the city. Hopefull, we'll manage to go back next year and I already have a couple of places on my to-do list, including the Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House or the Vondelpark. Maybe I'll even dare to hire a bike!

I haven't liked Amsterdam for years but now I can finally see why so many people fall prey of her charms and I'm slowly falling for her as well. I still despise the city centre but once you start to walk away from it you'll find a very different city. A laid-back Amsterdam with lovely narrow houses, cosy cafés, canals that come to live when the sun shines and many markets selling hundreds of colourful flowers. I don't think that Amsterdam can look any more beautiful than she did on Saturday under the sun.











10 comments:

  1. LOL Irene! I'm glad you found a charming aspect to Amsterdam. Sometimes you really have to dig deep into places to find that. They don't stand out like other locations. Beautiful pics :D
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. So true! I can now way that Amstwerdam has lots of lovely alleys and cosy spots, you only have to walk a little further and take a closer look!

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  2. Vaya!! yo siempre he oído maravillas de Amsterdam y las fotos que nos muestras son preciosas. Me alegro de que esta última visita te haya hecho cambiar " un poco" de opinión. Bsinss, Irene:)

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    1. Yo tb había oído siempre maravillas, quizás por eso me decepcionó un poco al principio, entre la lluvia y la cantidad de turistas en la plaza del Dam, lo canales adyacentes y el barrio rojo. Pero una vez caminas un poco más lejos descubre montón de rincones bonitos, sobre todo si hace sol :)

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  3. Your post reminded me of an article I read about re-connecting with a place we've visited quite a few times by emptying ourselves in order to break through our old perceptions and see the place in another way. You did it.

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    1. That would be an interesting article to read, maybe you can pass the link sometime :)
      Indeed, it took some time but eventually I let go of my previous perceptions and prejudices and I discovered a totallydifferent city ... maybe I was just delighted by the shining sun!

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  4. We were thinking of adding a couple of days in Amsterdam to our trip next year, so I appreciated reading this. What are your thoughts on Brussels?

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  5. I really love your essay.I got the same feeling about city since I was there 7 times already. But 2 weeks ago its changed) maybe it was just right time for Adam? lol

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    1. I'm glad you like it! And glad to read I'm not the only one having a difficult time to like A'dam :)

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