Amsterdam was without a doubt my favorite part of my visit in Holland. I was staying with my host in her village by the sea which was a little north of the city and had two days to spend roaming around Amsterdam. It is a quirky and well engineered city, easily walkable and everything you pass by is interesting. The canals, the shops, the homes, the boats, the bikes and last but not least, the cheese. Holland is famous for their cheese and had a cheese shop on about every corner offering free samples. The homes along the canals are so narrow and tall, each one has a pulley system hanging from the roof outside from the old days which was and perhaps still used to move furniture in through the windows because the stairways are too narrow. A canal tour via boat is a must do in Amsterdam. By boat, you will be guided through the canals and be provided with the history of them along with some comical commentary. You will see parts of the city that are difficult to traverse on foot and sail by houseboats which are a quintessential facet of city life in Amsterdam.
For art lovers or even just art admirers, the Rijksmuseum is the place to go. Befitted with art for everyone from modern to ancient, the gallery is expansive and the building itself is a marvel. The I LOVE AMSTERDAM sign is just outside the museum in a park that would be perfect for a coffee break or even a picnic. Speaking of picnic, I certainly gained back the weight I lost in Ireland and the U.K. as the food in Holland is impossible to pass up and chock full of potatoes and cheese. The meals I had in Holland were so rich and comforting, fish was a common offering and I often paired my meal with wine or beer. At one of the oldest bars in Amsterdam, In’t Aepjen, or the Monkey Bar as it is otherwise known, you will be entertained by the monkey themed decor and comforted by the classic duo of a lovely Dutch brewed beer and a bowl of delicious cheese cubes. I swear I ate at least an entire block of cheese every day and did not regret it for a second. Herring is a traditional Dutch delicacy and I wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you are a maven for raw fish. The texture was quite lovely, sort of like mozzarella cheese and I swallowed it fast so I am unable to report on the taste.
Other than being known for its architecture, Amsterdam is also known for being a very sex positive city. If you dare to take a walk down through the Red Light District neighborhood, you’ll no doubt see women in storefront windows showcasing themselves and who have fought for their right to do so. Rainbow flags line several streets and neons lights from shops specializing specifically in condoms or sex toys catch your eye, depending on your company, you might feel guilty for taking a peak.