I could talk about Amsterdam for hours and hours, I’ve never been to a city, walked out of the train station and thought, ‘I never want to leave.’ There’s just something so magical and calming about the city that makes me want to pack a suitcase, get on the Eurostar (I am petrified of flying) and spend the rest of my life sipping coffee & reading Dutch newspapers outside a cafe before cycling home along the canals. I can dream!
I went to Amsterdam for the first time last year & even though it rained from the moment we arrived to the moment we left, I fell head over heels. We stayed in a hostel on the edge of Vondelpark which, can I just say, is an amazing location. It’s within walking distance to the Leidseplein and Dam Square and the park itself is incredible! Although in fairness, Amsterdam is pretty compact so everything is within walking or cycling distance. We spent the days wandering around and stopping in cute cafe’s when we got hungry or needed ANOTHER hot chocolate and in the evenings me & the girls ate dinner in restaurants usually along the canals. I can honestly say I have never eaten so well on a city trip in Europe.
From the time I set foot back in Cardiff I needed to go back. So this September I booked another trip to go back (obviously on the Eurostar this time, did I mention I hate flying). We stayed in the Jordaan district in Oud West, which is a quieter, more residential area of Amsterdam but still has a buzz surrounding it, with great bars, cafe’s and restaurants. This time, I lived off pesto bagels. I don’t think the Dutch are famous for bagels globally, but in my eyes there is nowhere better to get a pesto, mozzarella and tomato bagel than in Amsterdam, no lies! We hired bikes and cycled around as if we were locals (even though the massive garishly red rental bikes & our terrible cycling told a different story).
Behind Central Station is a section of the River IJ, where free ferries cross to different parts of Northern Amsterdam every few minutes. We picked up our bikes from the rental place in Central Station & headed across to the NDSM Ship Wharf. This area is probably the coolest area of Amsterdam that I’ve seen. It seems to be an old ship dock with loads of warehouses dotted around and an amazing cafe on the river side. The warehouses all have different projects going on, with the main one being turned into a mini city inside for freelance workers all over Amsterdam to set up a work area for themselves. It is SO cool! I would highly recommend going over. It’s free to get in and you can just wonder around for hours.
We obviously went to the Red Light District, which fascinates me, & the IAmsterdam sign, the museums and Dam Square but my absolute highlight was spending the evening drinking rosè in Vondelpark after cycling around the city all day. For the 5 days we were there, Amsterdam had its hottest 5 days of the year so Vondelpark was crammed full of people playing football, having barbeques and drinking, it was the best evening!
I could literally write an essay on Amsterdam but you probably stopped reading 3 paragraphs ago! I’m now going to continue looking for an apartment & a job so that I can pack my bag as soon as possible (or as soon as a graduate even).