Quick Getaway: Amsterdam
The decision to go to Amsterdam was made within about 30 seconds four days beforehand. Being the most spontaneous trip I have ever taken, I did not plan very much ahead of time in terms of what to see and do. Still, the “Venice of the North” did not disappoint. Traveling either alone or in a pair is my favorite way of getting around. However, my weekend in Amsterdam was spent with over ten of my friends and it was unforgettable.
At the time, I was studying abroad in London and had a Friday class (unlike nearly all of my friends). On Friday morning when they were all jetting off on the first weekend trip since coming across the pond, I was headed to Russell Square to discuss Shakespeare. The three of us that had to leave later in the day rushed to the St. Pancras Station. The train ride from London to Brussels, then from Brussels to Amsterdam were the two NICEST train rides I had ever taken in my life. I’m talking about a full meal, tea, scones, cake, wine, the works.
We arrived at our hostel on the edge of Vondelpark late at night and set out to find the rest of our friends. The city was alive. Saturday was spent at the Heineken Brewery, wandering the streets trying not to get hit by cyclists, and toasting how awesome the first three weeks abroad had been. Amsterdam’s distinctive architecture is burned into my brain forever because this weekend was the first time I saw anything quite so out of the ordinary.
Sunday was an early day for the girls. We headed to Anne Frank’s House right away to beat the line and I was blown away. This was hands down my favorite part of the entire trip. Crawling behind the bookcase and up the stairwell to her family’s apartment was extremely powerful. If you can only do one thing while in Amsterdam, do this. Next we explored the streets for hours, getting lost and loving it, ate Dutch pancakes, cheese, and apple pie, and went on a canal boat tour (highly recommend!). By Monday morning the weekend felt like a blur as I stepped onto the plane to head back to London.
Almost two years later, I would really love to return to the Netherlands in the spring time, taste more local food, and venture out into the countryside. After meeting two Dutch girls recently on the floor of an overcrowded train from Budapest to Prague, I’m dying to go back and take their travel suggestions.