LOCATION: Amsterdam, Netherlands
This item is part of my Contiki Trip Series.
This was the first day of my Contiki adventure and boy was I sick! I had a fever the entire night and managed to get about 2 hours of sleep. The bus ride to Amsterdam was definitely not fun since I could tell I was getting worse and worse. I managed to make a friend though, a woman named Shiran from Miami with pretty blue hair. Along the way to the Netherlands, we passed Holland. Driving through was interesting to see all the windmills everywhere. I wish I was able to get a picture, but they came and went entirely too fast. We went to our first truck stop in Holland as well. I came across my first European paid bathroom experience.
It was only 30 Euros to use the restroom, but there was an entire machine with turnstile contraption to it. At least the bathroom proved to be very clean! Also at the truck stop, I came across a drink that I fell in love with. It is called Punica multi vitamin juice.
It was a cross of everything, and I’m not a juice person. They carry this drink in the Holland, Netherland and German regions. It is so good!
But, back to Amsterdam. The bus ride to the Netherlands was rainy and dreary so I was expecting a rainy night walking the city. However, when we finally made it, the sky opened up to a beautiful sunset. What I noticed most about the area was that bikes were EVERYWHERE. Amsterdam is truly bike city. While walking, a few of us were almost run over several times from the amount of bikes in the area.
We started our adventure with a canal cruise of Amsterdam. The canals were everywhere and displayed views of the small homes squished up next to each other as far as the eye could see. The cruise really showed the absolute beauty of the area. People of Amsterdam really had nothing to hide because most of the houses did not contain curtains to block out anything. It was definitely a different way of life.
After departing the canal cruise, the real night life of Amsterdam began and a whole new city came out during the dark. Amsterdam is widely known for sex and drugs and it was definitely everywhere. Marijuana was sold in smoking forms and cake forms (called space cake) in shops called a Coffeeshop. You get your coffee at a café and your marijuana at a Coffeeshop; confusing, I know. The coffeeshops were everywhere and the strong smell was extremely nauseating. I felt like I had to hold my breath every time we walked by because it was so strong. The Red Light District was also everywhere, which I talk about that experience HERE. Needless to say, the rumors of Amsterdam were exactly true. Before, I never really experienced the marijuana smell to be able to distinctly point it out, but I was definitely able to point out the smell now from just walking the streets. I don’t understand how anyone can sit in there, gross!
The next morning, my sickness was getting even worse since I obviously wasn’t resting. I woke feeling sick, but then so did everyone else. However, their sickness was from partying the night before while I attempted to get some sleep. HA!
We spent our morning going to the Anne Frank house. Her house was a small house squished up with all the others along one of the canals. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, which I found weird. There was also a ridiculously long line outside to get in. After about 45 minutes waiting, we finally got to see inside. The house was small with about 3 stories. There were trap doors and hidden areas for good hiding. Even with how small it was, there seemed to be lots of rooms for all the families that lived there. It was cool to see just how they had to live to keep secret and tucked away. The house was a tribute to the vast information about the holocaust and was definitely interesting to see. Now. Go read my Red Light District experience for even more interesting Amsterdam nightlife.
*Thank you Shiran for accompanying me on this adventure
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: Yes, it was gorgeous there!
Contiki Travel is HIGHLY recommended. I would do this all over again a million times. www.contiki.com