I would love to begin my article with one word, which simply describes The City I recently visited. For example, Amsterdam is the city of… Architecture, tulips, sex, bikes, rains, or drugs. But the right definition hasn’t come to mind yet.
That’s why, I'll start with a short paragraph of how I ended up in Amsterdam.
On my way home to Moscow for the holidays, my flight had a 10 hour layover. I was very excited to see one of the most popular cities in Europe, even though it would only be for a few hours.
I like to plan my trips in advance by watching travel TV shows, movies or youtube videos about the destination I’m about to visit. I make sure that I have a downloaded offline map with pinned locations and sights worth seeing. Instagram is always a great resource to get inspiration from as well. The only upsetting thing was that I didn’t have anyone to take pictures of me. That’s why, I will show you lots of photos of the beautiful city .
The plane landed at the Schiphol airport in the morning. I quickly got through the border and found a train ticket window. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the Central Station from the airport, and it costs only 9 Euro for the round trip.
When I walked out of the Central Station I had a feeling that I’m in Saint Petersburg. The weather, the architecture, and the atmosphere reminded me of my favorite city in Russia. It felt like home.
I decided not to use the map and instead, wonder about. I walked in between tiny streets surrounded by massive brick walls, which im guessing is the reason why everyone rides bicycles.
Watching the cars squeezing through these narrow streets full of people looks pretty stressful!
You find dozens of cute restaurants & coffee shops. There are chocolate boutiques, vintage clothes, souvenirs stands, cannabis (of course), condoms, stores on each little avenue. Even though there are thousands of tourists around, the city feels quiet.
From the Oude Church I walked along the canal to the Royal Palace. There I decided to look at my map. I realized that I was halfway from my last pin and it’s been only 2 hours since I left the airport.
I took some time to take pictures and buy souvenirs on the way to the Rijksmuseum.
I got there fast. It took me about 20-30 minutes of walking. What I love about Europe is that you do not need a car to see places. Everything is in a walking or biking distance, which is even better! All you have to do is to enjoy what’s around you.
I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the museums around Museumplein Park. I’ll have to save that for next time. Tourists and a slammed ice skating rink in front of the “I amsterdam” sign made me wanna leave almost right away. I’m not a fan of crowded places so it was too much for me.
I made a quick stop for lunch at the Italian restaurant and continued my trip to observe the Red Light District. There I saw all kind of sex museums, shops, bars and prostitutes standing behind windows of cabins. While this may seem exciting to some, I can’t say I was all that impressed.
The weather was rainy and my backpack was pretty heavy to carry around for 4 hours. I checked the map again to make sure that I saw everything I wanted, and went back to the train station.
I only have good and positive things to say about Amsterdam. It’s a great place to spend a few days. There are things to do for anyone of any age. I can’t remember seeing a lot of homeless or drunk/drugged people, I didn’t see prostitutes outside of those windows, and most importantly, I didn't see the city as ugly.
I would say Amsterdam is X. Not as a sex sign as you might assume but as a mystery city that hides its secrets behind those thick brick walls.