I Am-sterdam


The Dutch capital combines the frenetic activity of a city with the laid-back feel of a small town.

Welcoming sculpture

The author with pancake

Canal-side housing

Dam Square carnival

The full story of my 3 nights in Amsterdam may never be fully told. Let’s just say that it involved a few over-indulgences that led to valuable lessons for both my husband and me. Eating everything from gouda cheese, pancakes as big as your head, and fries dipped in mayo can leave you with quite a memorable impression of a city!

Amsterdam can be a wild city. We are all aware of certain legal vices available to locals and tourists. But, what you do not often hear is that Amsterdam is also a beautiful city. The numerous canals are cleaner than in Venice, not as crowded with tourists or locals and surrounded by trees and ubiquitous bicycles. Yes, hundreds of old-fashioned bicycles on every corner since locals use them as their most reliable form of transportation. Eating fries drenched in mayo does come with some punishment! Everywhere you go the scenery is great and the people are friendly. The neighborhoods have a uniquely laid-back atmosphere that combines the activity of a lively city with the feel of a comfortable small town.

We stayed in the center of Amsterdam, Dam Square, where a full-functioning carnival (complete with Ferris wheel) stands next to the Royal Palace. We were surrounded by everything from restaurants to shops to pharmacies to public transportation. The pharmacies here were very similar to most in Europe, selling lots of unique cosmetics and over-the-counter items in addition to prescription medications stocked in neat little brown drawers. The energy in Amsterdam can become overwhelming, and you might feel surprised at the end of the day when you feel exhausted from walking bridge to bridge. So, my best advice would be to remember to stop and smell the tulips.

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