Visiting Amsterdam for a few days with friends for the first time!

Amsterdam is like the European Las Vegas, “our” sin city where everything can happen…, or at least most of the people hope so.

Unfortunately the city is mostly known for the drugs and sex liberation, probably more than half of the tourists go there because of that same thing which, as I said, it is really a pity.

This trip to Amsterdam marked my 16th country, Netherlands and not Holland as some say. As usually, I had no clue of what to expect and it was a huge surprise when I saw that amazing city. From the moment I saw its map, until the end. I was amazed by that city and by its beauty!

The city has around one hundred canals and about one thousand bridges, it’s really impressive just by looking to the city’s map. It’s culture and lifestyle are quite impressive as well, several museums for all tastes, parks, tours or just my favorite thing to do, getting lost. The city seems to be quite safe, however for some reason I don’t know I didn’t feel that way, the only “problem” are the bikes…, for the first time I felt more scared of bikes than cars, they are really crazy…

Regarding the bikes, that’s like a dutch landmark already, but in my opinion also part of the junk. There are way too many abandoned bikes parked through all over the city, which isn’t nice at all. Maybe for some nice photos, but…

Visiting Amsterdam for a few days with friends for the first time!
Visiting Amsterdam for a few days with friends for the first time!

For the first time on my life, I slept on a boat! And no, I was not drunk and I didn’t end up in a random boat…, we rented two floating boxes (some people might call that boats as well, without engine) for the three nights we stayed in Amsterdam. It was a weird feeling, once in a while the “box” moved a little bit, probably when bigger boats passed by, the specific rules about how to use the toilet and the sink, the fact that we had to pass through two other boats’ decks to reach ours, the neighbors, etc. It was really a nice experience, something I never experienced before! Now I am looking forward for a real boat experience, not a floating box!

About the cultural part, the city is not that big, but a lot of stuff to do, some “neighborhoods”, some parks, some museums. About museums I only went to the Anne Frank House, considering the fact that I never read her diary, it was really a shock for me! Knowing part of the story is one thing, being there and seeing how they “lived” and watching her father’s interview after her death…, that was tough. But prepare yourself for a long queue, or try to visit during lunch time, probably fewer people…, we “only” waited 20 minutes…

Do not travel without Travel Insurance!

I highly recommend World Nomads, travel insurance oriented to travelers. Well detailed before the unexpected happens!

One detail about the trip, I should keep in mind before another “short” flight not to drink two pints before the boarding…, or else I might need to go to the bathroom twice in a very short period and I might not be able to…

The Amsterdam’s airport is huge! After the landing we were inside the plane “driving” for almost 20 minutes before we reached the gate, take that into account when you plan to go there! After the landing, you still have to wait a lot of time before you can exit the plane.

Next stop: Portugal!GuardarGuardar

By Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

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