Sunday, 10 September 2017

Lets Talk About Amsterdam ♥

What is not to love about the Netherlands? I recently came back from my third trip to Amsterdam. The first time I went there was back in 2012 with my friend. We barely explored and it was our first time ever travelling out of the country alone. The second time I went there was in 2014 with a different friend, and my most recent trip was a solo one. I have a love/hate relationship with Amsterdam but I guess there is a lot more love than hate. I am already planning my fourth trip which will hopefully be during Spring to see Keukenhof gardens.

5 things I love about Amsterdam 
1. The atmosphere is definitely high on my list. There is something about the city that reeks of calmness...and no it's not the marijuana. I don't know what it is but I cannot say the same for any other European city. 

2. The beautiful canals are second on my list. Everywhere you go there are canals for you to wander along. You can also see many house boats where some local people live. 

3. I feel safe everywhere in Amsterdam...even when walking through the red light district. To be honest I feel safer in Amsterdam than I do in my own city (London). 

4. Cultural diversity is fourth on the list. You can see local dutch people of many different ethnicities working. I see white, black, and Asian Dutch people every time I visit. The same applies to restaurants. There are many Chinese, Argentinian and Mexican restaurants in the city. 

5. The day starts late. The city is very quiet until 11am. During my first trip we thought it was weird when we came out to get breakfast at 9am and the streets were empty. Try going out at this time in London or Paris and you will be squashed between people. 

5 things I hate about Amsterdam
1. It is a very expensive city...anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Eating out is expensive, accommodation is expensive, and attractions are expensive. I was horrified to pay 5% city tax per night when checking in to my hotel. This meant that I ended up paying an extra 6 euros per night. It also costs £17.50 to enter the Rijksmuseum.

2. The roads are chaotic and there are bikes everywhere....Amsterdam is literally the capital of bikes. It can sometimes be a death trap to cross the roads because 5 bikes can just come pedaling towards you at full speed. There are also trams, motor bikes, buses, and cars all on the road at the same time. It is basically the European version of Bangkok. 

3. There are lots of sleazy male tourists wandering around. I was "sized up" by groups of male tourists on many occasions when walking back to my accommodation. Sometimes you will see solo old men wandering around the red light district with their camera ready...but I guess this is something to be expected because prostitution is legal there.

4. The preconceived notions many people have about the city. A lot of people assume that the only thing there is drugs and prostitutes. When I tell people I am going to Amsterdam the conversation usually proceeds like this... 
them: "are you going to smoke weed?"
me: "no I dont smoke weed"
them: "so why are you going there? that is what the city is for"
me: "actually there is a lot of things to see there...I would not pay for a flight just to sit in a shop and smoke weed all day"

5. The weather is awful. It is exactly like England with constant wind and rain. I have been to Amsterdam twice in August, and both times it was cold with heavy rain. It makes it very hard to enjoy the canals and flowers. 

                                                                                          llondon leopard

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