Central Amsterdam

It’s certainly a very confusing city. Crowded, busy, swarmy like a bee-hive.

Chaotic and evoking emotions of being trapped with no escape out.

Who would have ever expected quaint little Dutch Amsterdam to be so maniac. Not me, in the least.

Much to my surprise, Amsterdam introduced itself as frantic and hectic. The canals are everywhere. The city felt horribly like floating islands of brick and cement surrounded on every side by canals and more block-islands across the bridges. There was no green space in this area – only the greys and browns of buildings and sidewalks.

The impossibly narrow buildings hosted shops that crowded the store-fronts, each trying its hardest to be the most appealing and enticing in the rigid boundaries of lapping canals. What a contrast from expansive Berlin.
The city is designed in rings from the edge of the North Sea outward, like a ripple. This makes for tricky, confusing navigating. The streets change their direction impercievably as you walk them and before you know it, you’re headed North when you thought you were headed South.

And SO MANY BIKES. The city is a throng, a horrible cluster of traffic. There’s no way to escape it unless canal jumping is your thing.

Plus, with tolerated prostitution and marijuana, the frattiest, most raviest Europeans flock here. How, how, do Americans have such a bad reputation. If the stereotype were true, we’d definitely be in good company.

This is not a calm, relaxing city [center] in the least.

Of course, it was ridiculously adorable. The people were tall and friendly. The cheese was incredible.

The last day brought us outside of the city center and the atmosphere and mood of the city totally shifted. Here was the quaint, picturesque Amsterdam of which I had assumed.

I had a fantastic time in Holland, but it was surely a lot different than expected.


Quick update: I leave for Stockholm, Sweden on Thursday afternoon. Almost unbearably excited, I’ll be anticipating saunas, North Sea plunges (yep.), pickled herring (I’m looking at you, Aunt Julie!), a severely wounded bank account, and the most festive of European Christmas markets. I return Monday night to Prague.


2 thoughts on “Central Amsterdam

  1. Oh, I’m sorry you felt this way about Amsterdam. It’s one of my favorite cities and I can’t wait to get back. My husband and I are actually hosting a Dutch exchange student we love Holland so much. If you ever go back I’ll send you some itineraries.

    1. I feel such a strange divide with my feelings toward the city. I love it and hate it all at the same time. of course, the few days I was there provides little basis for a reliable judgement, but what can you do.

      How cool that you host a Dutch exchange student! I hope to do that someday!

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