So, the most recent awesome adventure I have to report took place this past weekend. Amsterdam!! I had never spent much time there previously, other than a few hours during two separate flight layovers in the past, but that was it. I was both excited and minorly aprehensive to spend more time there (aprehensive in the sense of, the usual stereotype and connotation Amsterdam tends to conjure to mind right away has to do with drugs and prostitutes). I think often times people imagine Amsterdam for those two reasons, to be a somewhat seedy or trashy city.
This could not have been further from the truth. In fact, I would now name Amsterdam as one of my very favorite European cities.
I went with a great friend of mine, Travis. We were lucky enough to be able to drive! We left Thursday morning and made it to the city in 5 hours, driving from Frankfurt. We spent the remainder of Thursday afternoon and evening wandering Amsterdam, myself taking loads of photographs, strolling along the canals and just taking in the sights of the city.
I could not get over how totally lovely it was. The lazily snaking canals, the canal/town houses lining the water resembling giant gingerbread cookies stood upright, bicycles breezing past, the sounds of tinkling bike bells ringing often in their air, the city was an explosion of greenary. The streets were cobbled or brick lain, many of which became alight with antiquated street lamps after dark. Boats puttered past through the canals in every manner of shape and size (everything from paddleblats, to tiny rowboats, to heart-thumping party cruisers). The air smelled like the light yummy sweetness of lillacs. Cafes dotted the sidewalks along the canals. The city seeped with magic, romance and the sights and smells of summer. It was totally atmospheric. I LOVED it.
People there seem happier than in Germany. In Germany, one gets more of a sense of gray...cold...a tad more rigid and uptightness...a more general sense of unfriendliness. This is of course, not a blanket truth, merely a stereotype that tends to be true more often than not. In Amsterdam, things felt warmer...more open...progressive...exciting...full of possibility and joy.
I wish I had considered living here instead to Germany, dang. This city is so much more up my alley, in terms of atmosphere, architecture, the scenary, I was totally smitten.
These would be the famous pancakes of Holland, called Poffertjes. They are small, maybe the size of a 2 euro coin. Covered in powdered sugar and butter. They were DELICIOUS, melt-in-your-mouth incredibly tasty. We split a small order of these. They were soft, pillowy, sweet, just divine.
|Excited to taste the Poffertjes!
|The ultra charming inside of the cafe where we tried the Poffertjes. It was like being inside a swanky, dreamy railroad car.
Yes, this would be the Red Light district. The experience of walking through it is akin to having stepped into a Science Fiction movie. It feels totally surreal, strange, out of this world. There are in fact (as you can vaguely see in the photo) women behind plated glass merely a few feet away from you, bathed in red light, in various stages of undress, all beckoing you. Its just...totally crazy, having never seen anything like it before. There is almost a feeling of creepiness to it. Its like having stepping into literally another world.
|This was a display in a little shop in the Red Light district. Hahahahah. Of course.
|See the red light streaming from the windows? You walk this alleyway, super narrow, filled with people, and there are women on either side of you literally two or three feet away from you bathed in the red glow. Totally strange and surreal.
Now, onto the world-famous tulip gardens in Holland: Keukenhof. These were utterly spellbinding. Totally gorgeous. Explosions of color, like an artists paintbrush had smattered his most vivid colors all over the ground where we walked. I absolutely loved this. I was enchanted. I could not stop taking photos, as you can see below. Awesome isnt it?? Go here if you can, no question. Its jaw-dropping.
I feel its important to note, NONE of these photos have been altered or edited in ANY way. These are the straight-up original photos.
So yes, the colors really do look like that.
|This was my favorite spot <3
Again, none of these photos have been edited or altered in any way. These are the original photos (all of which I took, of course), taken directly from my camera and loaded onto here. Extraordinary, eh??
Stay tuned for Part Two of Amsterdam photos in 48 hours!!!!