May 3rd, morning – Milan Linate Airport
Queuing for the check in I had a look around. Exactly as I expected I was one of the few females around and most of the people on my flight were men in groups.
I knooow! You’re all going to Amsterdam to visit the Van Gogh museum, right? Wink wink.
I hate to say this but it’s probably some sort of prejudice that kept me away from Amsterdam until now.
I heard too many stories about this city and all of them related to drugs and sex.
A friend of mine came back with a magic cake, another one tried her first ecstasy pill while in Amsterdam, and it was not a good experience. G. even had her first homosexual experience.
So I was all like “what the hell, I am not going all the way to Amsterdam just to get high or stuff’. And I never really considered going.
What happened then?
I was working in this little town in the Italian Alps and started thinking of a destination for my next trip, and since I am always very tired after the season at work, I wanted something close, with cheap flights and (drumroll) a place I was not really very much into, just so that I don’t have to stress about seeing everything but just relax and be awol for a while.
…In a word, Amsterdam!
So there you go, flight booked, 100€ return, fair enough.
And then as soon as I had a look at the Lonely Planet guidebook I started to realize how wrong I was!
The city looks amazing. Definitely unique with all the water and bridges, the typical buildings and interesting museums (I’m going to visit aaall of them!).
And then of course I will have a look at the red lights district and coffee shops, a good laugh about those who feel smart going all the way to Amsterdam just for cannabis and sex, and walk on.
May 3rd, afternoon – Amsterdam
Flight was smooth. A little bit too many kids and (most of all) the groups of men I mentioned above were too loud and talking BS all the time. But here I am!
I am staying at a friend’s place in Alphen van den Rijn, a small town nearby Amsterdam – me and Margreet met in Cairo on 2009 when we used to study Egyptian dialect together and sat side by side in the classroom.
What I plan to do in these days
So many things! And I have to choose. Anyway, if I can I will visit the following:
- I will visit Keukenhof, the extraordinary flowers park with tulips and windmills (I am so lucky – this is the perfect time to see the flowerings!).
- The Neegen Straatjes – the nine alleys of shopping, for cool souvenirs.
- The Prostitute Information Center – hey well it’s interesting.
- The “Het Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje – a candy shop where I’ll try all the typical candies!
- Museums: FOAM (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam), Sex Museum (no explanation needed! But I had so much fun at the Sex Museum in NYC that I can’t miss this one!), Anne Frank Museum and secret house, NEMO (museum of Science), Van Gogh Museum. Most of them granted me a free admission so I am even more excited now!
- I will have walking tours and at least a boat tour.
- I will go up the roof of the Central Library and the tower of Westerkerk (West Church) to take panoramic photos.
- I might spend a day in Rotterdam too, but I’m not sure yet.
I will start with Keukenhof tomorrow, with its amazing tulips and windmills! They also kindly offered a free tour and I will definitely write about it together with many photos!
Things I’m glad I packed
- A plastic mantle – it will be raining almost all the time and I hate umbrellas. I brought a plastic mantle, some sort of K-Way I bought in Singapore last year for 1€ and I am glad I did!
- Newly bought trekking shoes – I actually bought these for my upcoming trip to St Vincent and Grenadines as we’ll go climb a volcano, but since they’re waterproof I thought it was a good idea to have them here. And as far as I can see, I am right!
Have you been to Amsterdam? I am sure most of you did.
Feel free to share your tips! What did you like or dislike? I am all ears!