There’s something magical about the Netherlands. Spending my first weekend in Amsterdam showed me that the city is one of the most beautiful in the world. It also taught me a few lessons.
Lesson One: Bring your own bike next time. It might save your hands, knees and ego.
That is to say that I am too short for your average rent-a-bike. I had a really hard time stopping and starting up again at lights and crosswalks. I was just a little out of practice, ok?
Lesson Two: Stay on houseboats whenever possible.
We were fortunate enough to find a hostel-boat near the train station. Atop this hostel-boat? The loveliest couple of owners, who provided us with breakfast and recommendations for a good weekend in Amsterdam.
Lesson Three: Get your ass to the Vondelpark.
The Vondelpark is the biggest park in the city of Amsterdam. It’s near to the museumplein (read: it’s near countless priceless works of art) and is full of natives and tourists alike. On the sunniest of days, you’ll see bikes as far as the horizon goes, parked so that their riders can picnic with friends. Truly, no trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the Vondelpark, even though the rest of the city will provide you with ample place to eat/stare at your surroundings in wonder.
Lesson Four: Get out of the Red Light District.
What’s talk of Amsterdam without a mention of its world-famous weed? Interesting as the Red Light District may be to see, there are things to be done outside of this zone. The most interesting things are usually found far away from the masses of tourists (except the Anne Frank House–that incredible attraction will always attract hoards). The city itself is a work of art; simply walking down the streets, nestled between a row of houses and a canal, has served as inspiration for countless photographers and artists.
Don’t worry if you smell something funny. The people are perfectly peaceful and law-abiding.
What would you do on a weekend in Amsterdam?