Tales of a Travel Addict: Amsterdam
When someone mentions Amsterdam, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Gorgeous architecture and beautiful canals? Yeah, me too
Before our trip even began, there were a few cities I could not wait to see, and there were some I thought I could do without. Amsterdam was one of them. I immediately associated the city with marijuana coffee houses and the red light district. I would soon find out how wrong I was about one of the most beautiful city’s I’ve ever been in, and that would be the first of many surprises in this country.
The moment we arrived in Amsterdam our tour guide announced that to welcome us to Amsterdam for the first night, we would be going to a live sex show.
The show was optional (one of the great things about Contiki – you didn’t have to do anything you didn’t want to do) however, everyone in our group was in. This was the first “group excursion” so there was no way I was missing it.
It did take an hour of persuading from Kim, Steph, and our new Aussie friends, but eventually I caved and was looking forward to it. My curiousity got the best of me, and there were so many things running through my head. Is it really a live sex show? Are people just doing it on stage? Is there an introduction? WHAT EXACTLY AM I GETTING MYSELF INTO?
You walk into the theatre and can take a seat anywhere. There is no introduction, but there are different “acts”. There’s music playing and drinks flowing so it made it more interesting. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. After watching an hour of people have sex, perform sex acts, and have group sexual activities – well that’s a bond I’ll share with my Contiki friends forever.
After the show Johnny (our tour guide) took us on a tour around the city from The Red Light District (which was more amusing more than anything else) to the beautiful churches, brownstones, and canals that flowed through the city.
My first reaction? WOW. If you ever have the chance to go to Amsterdam, DO IT! I was blown away. Amsterdam was absolutely gorgeous, and by far one of the most beautiful cities I visited while in Europe. I immediatley fell in love with the cool eather, the beautiful architecture, and the romantic canals. I loved that it stayed light out until almost 11:00 pm. I loved that you could get lost in the back alleys to only discover yourself in a completely different, but just as equally beautiful part of the city. I fell in love with Amsterdam, who would of thought?
After the tour through the city, I decided to head back to the hotel with Stephanie. I was exhausted (and hungover) and all I wanted was a bed to curl up into. The next morning we woke up bright and early for our morning excursion. We were taking a bike ride throughout the town of Edam, and I was so excited! As much as I love bike riding, I rarely do it anymore. There’s something so freeing about pedaling as fast as you can and feeling the wind whipping through your hair.
Plus I was in a foreign country, could it get any better?
The trip to Edam was about a 30 minute bus ride, but the breathtaking sights of the Netherlands countryside kept us entertained.
Before we knew it, we were finally in Edam!
Edam was just as beautiful as Amsterdam, but in an entirely different way. Amsterdam was full of hustle and bustle. Something was always going on, people were always in the street, there was always a sight to see. Edam was a quiet, quaint town. We were there on a Sunday morning, and it looked as if the town was deserted. There wasn’t a soul in sight besides us.
It was so unbelievably peaceful. Our bike tour was about an hour and a half long and we went from the center of the city to the outskirts, each area more beautiful than the next. As we were making our way back to the center of town, it seemed as if everyone had finally woken up. The church bells were ringing, families were window shopping, joggers were running with their dogs. The city had awoken and it only made it more beautiful!
As much as I loved Edam, I was excited to head to our next stop: A real Dutch cheese farm! Not only did we get to watch how they make cheese, but we also watched how to make a pair of clogs! It was tons of fun. After the demonstration we even were able to try a bunch of the different cheeses. My favorite was the smoked herbs, it was fantastic, and I’m not even a big cheese person!!
We were done with the included excursions for the day, so Richie, our bus driver, took us back into town. It was only noon, so we decided to go and see the Anne Frank House. All I can say is WOW. Visiting the house where Anne Frank and her family hid for months from the Nazi’s and Gestapo was an amazing and eye opening experience. We actually were there on Anne Frank’s actual birthday, it was a little spooky.
We couldn’t take pictures inside the house, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I had read The Diary of Anne Frank in 8th grade, so I was familiar with her story. All I can say is it’s one thing to read about the secret passageway that Anne Frank and her family hid in, it’s another thing to actually see the bookshelf that blocked the secret passage. It’s another thing to walk up the stairs to where she and her family hid. It’s an entirely different thing to see the pages of her diary where she poured her heart out, the pictures she put on the walls of her bedroom, the exact location where she was hiding when the Nazi’s came storming in to take her and family away. I couldn’t help but feel myself tear up thinking about what not just Anne Frank and her family, but all the victims of the Holocaust went through. It was an extremely moving experience, and one that I’ll never forget.
Feeling a little emotionally drained, Steph, Kim, and I wandered the streets of Amsterdam until we found a little bakery. We decided to drop in for a bite to eat, and then grab a table outside. We had a blast talking about our days, talking about what we were excited for, talking about everyone we liked on the tour group, and just watching the people of Amsterdam.
Around 3 we started to head back to our hotel. One of the great (or worst, it’s up to you!) things about our tour is we had free time to explore on our own. We also had free time to get lost on our own! After being dropped off at the Anne Frank house, it was up to us to make it back to the hotel on our own! Three wrong turns later, we finally managed to find a bus stop that went all the way back to our hotel.
Later that night we met up with some of our group to go into town for our canal boat cruise. We managed to fit ten of us into a cab (don’t ask me how!) and took it all the way into the center of town. I couldn’t wait for our canal boat cruise!!
It was such a great time. Sure, the complimentary wine helped But this was our first time all together as a group with no outside distractions (besides the beautiful sites of Amsterdam ) and we had a blast getting to know one another! Because we all had such a great time together, we continued our party from the boat cruise to the streets of Amsterdam It was our own private pubcrawl, and I can honestly say I had one of the best nights of my life!
The next morning rolled around way too soon, but before I knew it we were packed up and heading to the bus to load up for our journey to Berlin – but that’s a tale for another time
And in case you missed it:
- Tales of a Travel Addict: London
Let’s Talk – Have you ever discovered you loved a city after thinking you’d hate it? Have you visited Amsterdam? What did you do there?