To be perfectly honest with you readers out there, my first impression of the legendary city of Amsterdam was not the best possible. When you leave one country to enter another, you try to wipe your mind clean to experience everything without any judgement.
The first few breaths after hopping off the train from Berlin revealed an old station that had cricked terminal floors. Crowded, muggy, unfamiliar. A lot of repairs and warning signs. Just walking outside from the building was a heaven in disguise.
The Amsterdam Centraal – station dates back to 1889 and nowadays it is under heavy renovation inside and out. To be completely honest it felt kind of run down at the moment. Hopefully the renovation project will bring out the good ol’ glory back.
The next negative experience was the public transportation ticket machines which had touchscreens that did not work properly. Several tourists stomped the machines in anger and the waiting lines got long. Luckily we found another one nearby that worked and got on the subway to our hostel.
The train from Berlin to Amsterdam took us almost 7 hours so we arrived late and hungry like hippos. Therefore we had to head back to the city centre for a replenishing meal after we had secured our lodgins.
Somehow the ambiance of the city felt first blatant and bit of unsettling. Cars, mopeds and bicycles were driving recklessly from both sides of the road but that did not stop people from walking through. There were no clear patterns and it felt confusing.
If you’re not already familiar with the smell of cannabis before entering Amsterdam, you will lose your virginity for it shortly. The coffee shops were scattered all around the market place and people were sitting outside enjoying their beverages and herbs.
Atmosphere tilted once again after a short walk forward when we were met with red lights and unseemingly attractive women in sexy underwear. The prostitutes were in open display like barbies in cardboard boxes. Ohh, hello Red Light District. Window shopping at its finest.
How in the hell we end up in Red Light District in the first 10 minutes in Amsterdam? The only thing we could do after that experience was to laugh in amazement and keep on staring/walking.
The next day we went sightseeing and visited the Heineken Experience. The brewery Heineken sell tickets to guided tours through the original brewery building and at the end of the tour, you get to drink Heineken beer! Quite a deal, I say. Tickets for the Heineken Experience were 16,00 EUR/person.
After spending two days in Amsterdam, I understood the city better and how the lifestyle is shaped by the people living in Amsterdam. Rivers, bicycles and relaxed people who drink their beer from 25cl glasses and smoke their herbs out in the open. Nothing here has shame weighing it down. Just jolly ol’ good time.
Just when you have started to appreciate the city of Amsterdam and what it has to offer, we must pack our bags and continue our journey. Next stop the capital city of Europe, Bryssels! See you there!