After two big days gardening, getting used to new surroundings and staying up late talking, our weekend in Amsterdam feels weeks ago, not days ago. All this, and we’re actually only around 30km from where we stayed.
This trip to Amsterdam was different – our last trip was part of a 2.5 week holiday we took following my finish of university, featuring family visits, nostalgia trips and a wedding. It was mid May and I was excited to be free of my degree, my dissertation, and the student life. This, and the fact that 90% of the time, we were atop bikes, gave Amsterdam a very different feel to the one it had this time. My memory of the place was different. This time, Amsterdam was more full of awe, interest and history combined with feelings of excitement and apprehension for our journey ahead. Though we only really had a day and a half in the city, we achieved a lot – taking a 3 hour walking tour gave us a fantastic perspective of the city; we saw sights we probably flew past in a frenzy of ringing bells and avoiding pedestrians on our last trip. We went slower yet we saw more.
On our walking tour, we learned about Amsterdam’s history and its place in the Netherlands. I particularly enjoyed hearing about how the land was formed (and how the Netherlands came to be – something we’re continuing to learn now, and I’ll write about another time, but) I’m stunned at the vast quantity of drained lakes and man-made arable land. I enjoyed hearing how the hooks on the top of each building help to lift in the furniture, and each building learns slightly forward so the furniture being lifted up doesn’t swing back into the windows and break the glass. We saw Amsterdam’s smallest house; we walked the widest bridge. We saw a square featuring red lights, a kindergarten and a chapel. We basked in the sun in Museumplein and we wandered through streets and alleys we didn’t venture into last time. There’s so much to see here.
On our first visit to the city, we learned about Amsterdam through living the Amsterdam way, and this time, we dived into what makes Amsterdam, Amsterdam. We saw more “touristy” places, but this enabled us to see more of the city and what made it.
We also were lucky to have a beer (or 6?) with an old friend of mine which was wonderful; both to reconnect and to share the glorious sun in such a wonderful city.
Despite being social, eating out (including at incredible Maoz falafel) and getting a travel card, we kept under budget! Hurray.
I don’t feel like this shoestring trip is a bad thing at all. Yeah, we can’t eat at fancy restaurants every night, but we can still do so much.
Being back in Amsterdam was great. Familiar, yet unfamiliar, a place we new, but hadn’t (and still haven’t) totally explored. I love it. I’m sure we’ll be back.