Okay. If you know me, you know I enjoy a good pun. Once landing in Amsterdam, I think you can tell by the title of this blog— I was most-likely having a field day. This American boy overheard me and straight up told me, I was not funny. Be good people y’all. Let the people laugh.
Honestly, I have yet to feel a bout of homesickness. Before I board on a flight leaving another country, I just can not wait to get back to Madrid. Madrid is literally home. My host parents are wonderful. The people I have met have been nothing short of amazing, positive and compassionate. Just an unreal amount of gratitude for this new place I can call home.
But, of course there is a little bit of people sickness. I am missing my sister, Julia. The little nugget has gotten accepted into some amazing colleges and I want to be there with her for all of these successes. I am so proud of the person she has become and the incredibly strong bond we have formed because she decided to mature. Lol. Love you my zubie, girl. Sky is the limit in all you do. Continue to carry yourself with your unapologetic personality and large smile, it will take you places you could never imagine.
Guide to Amsterdam
The last time I came to Amsterdam, I came with my mom on a work trip. Amsterdam is a different vibe for sure. I can not disclose all of the details of this trip because my parents would actually disown me (no dad I did not do drugs), but Amsterdam is actually not real life. Drugs are regulated, prostitution is entrepreneurship and there is never a police officer in sight. BIKES! Somehow, in the midst of this alternate universe, Amsterdam is incredibly safe.
A girl in my program said it best, Amsterdam is another Epcot for tourists. It is a hub for all tourist activities. The city has so much to do. It is beautiful in such a quaint, story-book way. Like just imagine a life where biking is the main method of transportation and colorful tulips are sold on every street corner. The dutch language also just looks like make-believe.
Things to Do
Heineken Experience: Even if you are adamant about your distaste for beer, I believe in you. Look passed that for two hours. This museum/experience is so interactive, electric and informative. You can expect to marvel at the aesthetic (the green everywhere works nicely), learn about the process of making a Heineken (you get bottled too;) ) and enjoy two beers at the Heineken lounge-bar after learning about the company’s evolution. There are so many cool things you can do in addition here. You can personalize a beer bottle, take advantage of photo booths, play some virtual soccer, sing karaoke while riding a bike, etc. For only 20 euros, this place gives you all it can.
Anne Frank Huis: Wow. You know the feeling when silence is just incredibly loud? Welcome to the Anne Frank Huis— where no one speaks a word, but you all feel the power in the room. This is an Amsterdam must-do. The museum takes you through the actual residency of the Frank family. You get to enter behind the famous annex where they hid from Nazi rule for two years. You learn the life of Anne, her aspirations to become a journalist, her unparalleled eloquence for a young girl and the legacy she left behind. I promise if you are someone who prides yourself on not giving a care for history, this place and story will absolutely move you. I could not leave without purchasing her diary.
Getting tickets for this is a little harder than expected. You must book in advance on their website. If tickets are “sold out”, they do issue 20% of the tickets on the day of entry, so capitalize.
“My greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer. … It remains to be seen whether I’ll succeed, but my diary can serve as the basis.” – Anne Frank
XtraCold Icebar Amsterdam: Did not go here on this trip, but have been before! The bar stands frozen at -10 C. They provide gloves and a long jacket, but you won’t even realize how cold you are. Go here to pregame, hang out or just experience something totally new. Like an ice bar? Where we got those in America?
Canal Cruise: You can get this as a bundle for purchasing tickets to the Heineken museum! We took this at nighttime, but I would suggest you take this cruise during the day. Amsterdam’s canals are its geographical “claim to fame.” You really get a better idea of the extent of the city on this 1-hour ride.
The Red Light District: Woah, baby. I don’t think I can explain the Red Light District efficiently. I was intimidated, sad, overwhelmed, astounded and kind of felt the girl-boss vibes. If it weren’t for the drunk, vulgar and disturbed men, maybe it could have been a little more enjoyable. There is a Museum of Sex that is really eyeopening in learning about prostitution and the back stories of these girls. It does make you want to celebrate and hug them, lol. Only hug.
Places to Eat
Amsterdam has the aesthetic eats.
Avocado Show: Definitely recommend checking out the Avocado show. Everything Avocado! Great for the insta, great mimosas and who doesn’t love a pink interior? Little bit on the pricier side.
MannekenPis Fries: The #1 Best Fries in Holland! Rightfully so. Get it with the MannekenPis sauce. I could not order the sauce for the life of me. I stood to order and broke down hysterically laughing, we all did. Day 2, we did it right. Just say “with the manneken sauce please!”
ANY PANCAKE HOUSE: I mean this, on a weekend morning these babies are packed. Dutch pancakes are not meant to be eaten. They are meant to be inhaled. They will not stay on your plate for longer than two minutes. Try a savory pancake too. Oh my goodness.
I would definitely recommend looking into some food places before you arrive. When it comes to stumbling upon a food place, more likely than not, I dare say that will not be the move in Amsterdam. Unless there are pancakes involved.
There are far more things to do here, too. Like seeing the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, the A’dam lookout, MoCo museum, etc. But, I would not say I left this country unsatisfied. Did not top my Madrid, but will forever remember the laughs and the amazing people I shared a 9 person hostel with on this trip.