After Paris, I thought no city in Europe would compare, beauty-wise or awesomeness-wise. Then I went to Amsterdam five days later.
I can't quite put into words how beautiful Amsterdam is. It's only about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Brussels, but it is light years ahead of Brussels in every way. First of all, its fantastically beautiful. Lots of canals, obviously, but also lots of trees, grassy areas, clean streets, bright buildings, houseboats, and bikes. More bikes than I've ever seen before, by a factor of, I don't know, 10,000?
|Bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes and bikes|
Canals canals canals canals canals. Flat. Bikes.
Honestly, the logistics were far from perfect. Eeva and Lucia were on a different bus line from myself, Kaan, Lera, and Monika. We had some mishaps with couchsurfing/youth hostels/taxis/taking nightbuses into the forest. Our first tram ride was less than graceful. Not all of us knew how to ride bikes. (Seriously Kaan?!) We didn't really know what we wanted to see in the city. We squandered a chance to get delicious kiwi smoothies for 1 euro. We had to pay for tap water.
None of that mattered one lick. Amsterdam is too beautiful and friendly and open for us to possibly have a bad time. From hopping onto tours for 5 minutes at a time to randomly coming across the flower market, the entire trip was spontaneous, fun, relaxing, and, dare I say, euphoric. Amsterdam had each and every one of us happy and smiling, and wondering why we chose to study in Brussels instead. We will be back.
(And we will stay in the same hostel, rent bikes from the same guy, and eat pizza at the same restaurant. Seriously it was all awesome. Especially the bike rental guy, so nice).
Fortunately my camera was alive and well for this trip, so let me walk you through the highlights:
|My new favorite word to say (or try to say at least): Pannenkoekenboot,|
i.e. Pancake Boat. Rolls off the tongue
|Titanic posing on a ferry|
ride in the harbor with Kaan
|Cheese! Everywhere there were cheese stores (or cheese|
museums), a lot of which had free samples. I purchased
some pesto-infused gouda and some smoked goat cheese
|Can you see the green gouda? Its delicious|
|This "museum" seemed to me to be just another fancy cheese store,|
albeit one that I spent 8 euros in
|I didn't realize a car that small could physically move. Later we pulled up |
on our bikes to a red light and we saw a similar car with a family of four in it.
|Lucia taking a break in the middle of the park|
|So of course Lera and I joined her|
|Eeva got a picture too, artistically taken (i.e. not by me)|
|Eeva and Monika climbing|
|From on top of the I AMsterdam sign|
|Posing with statues of soldiers|
|I Want You! |
|We rented bikes, 24 hours for 10 euros. Greatest deal ever|
|The view from my handlebars. Just a random street|
|Lucia and I wait for the others to catch up|
|Bike lights, and countdowns|
|Lera waits for the green light|
|Came across a cool tree in the park|
|Getting silly with Lera, Monika, and Lucia. Pity Eeva was taking this |
picture so we don't get to see her "funny face"
|Climbing higher with Eeva and Lera|
|Lucia happy to be in Amsterdam|
|This houseboat has a chandelier inside!|
|A couple houseboats and a pretty bridge|
|I really want to live on a boat one day|
|Eeva and I figure out where we are: we did a lot of just |
walking/biking around, the city is so safe and small
|Finally a picture that includes all of us! Monika, Eeva, Lera, Lucia, me, and Kaan; |
The perfect group to spend a weekend in Amsterdam with....if only Kaan could ride a bike