Land of Bicycles
I fell in love with Amsterdam the moment I stepped foot into the city. The place is quaint, spacious and the way the canals flow through the entire city center is just beautiful. Despite it being a complete tourist trap towards the central zone, there’s a lot of alleys and streets to explore too. We were lucky to have a Dutch friend to show us some spots around town and let us in on some interesting facts about the city. Every day it seemed like there were new things to discover and many things to do.
Here are 9 reasons why Amsterdam is downright awesome:
1. It looks nothing like any other city in Europe.
Unlike other cities in Europe, there seems to be a huge diversity in the streets and alleys and a huge amount of space in between buildings. Through these streets, youâ€™ll find all sorts of stores, ranging from your typical souvenir shops, seed banks, coffee shops, record shops and even vintage shops. Going further down the street and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of the little “Chinatown” district, and the next moment you’ll see display windows with neon lights and half naked girls dancing and you’ve unknowingly walked into a red light district.
2. You won’t feel like every attraction you go to is a Tourist spot.
You know how it is when you go to big cities, there’s all these churches and historical monuments to look at (basically your typical hot spot for tourists/tour buses/tour groups). There are tourists attractions in Amsterdam too, but these attractions aren’t the main reason why people visit this city. Apart from the usual pothead tourists who want to get high since marijuana is obviously legal here, there are also many festivals, events and artistic cafes/bars to spend your visit at.
3. The alluring canals
Something about the canals around the city is just so appealing. It feels so serene to look at boats pass by the canals every day, and some days I’d get a snack or a drink and sit by the canal to just watch the day go by. It isn’t an uncommon sight to see people just wasting their time away chatting or smoking and relaxing by the canal, or taking a boat tour around the city
4. It’s an extremely bicycle friendly city!
I’m guessing that there is almost the same amount of cyclists as compared to pedestrians. The city is so bicycle friendly that they have bicycle paths on every road, including traffic lights for cyclists and that makes transport around Amsterdam both cheap, and environmental friendly
5. Dutch people are super
Survey shows that the Dutch are one of the happiest people on the planet. Wasn’t sure how true that was until I experienced it for myself. Everywhere we went, people were greeting us with warm smiles and if you ever got lost and needed help with directions, the Dutch folks always seem more than willing to give you a hand!
6. There’s festivals and events all summer
There’s never a boring day in Amsterdam. Pick up a free copy of an event magazine that shows you all the highlights that are happening during the season and you’ll easily find things to do almost every day! When I was there in summer, there were carnivals, outdoor movie screenings, family friendly events and music festivals from genres ranging from classical music to techno.
7. It’s perfect for chilling
Even when there are no festivals/events to attend, there are many parks in Amsterdam that you can have a nice picnic at. The weather was good and not too cold when I visited, so it was perfect for a quick BBQ picnic at Vondelpark. The local supermarket, Albert Heijn sells ready-to-use BBQ kits that costs about 5 euros and also marinated food prepared for BBQ. So all you need is a picnic mat, some utensils and a trip to Albert Heijn would seal the deal for your evening at Vondelpark, one of the most popular parks for youths to gather and relax
8. There are no boring nights
With the massive amount of bars and coffeeshops, there’s guaranteed some place to go every night. If you’re a beer-fan, there are many Belgium bars around the city and it seems you can easily get to try different Belgian Beers without actually having to take a day trip to Brussels. There are also festivals and events that happen at night that you could attend if you ask the locals or just check online for the latest ongoing events
9. Last but not least: Waffles.
Seriously, waffles, period. Dutch waffles, Stroop waffles, whatever waffle you can find, it’s just mindblowing.