walking in a dam circle
Amsterdam was exactly the break I needed after our jam packed days in London. Arriving at Rose's apartment I finally felt like I was home, even if only for 6 days. It was amazing to be able to rest and not feel guilty that I wasn't out seeing every inch of the city. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that you can't see everything and although you have a hunger to explore, your body and mind both need a rest from time to time. Our days in Amsterdam were the perfect balance. We toured the city for hours, ate all the quintessential Dutch foods, sipped coffee next to canals, stepped back in time in the Van Gogh museum, and went clubbing until sunrise. But we also laid around the apartment, sat outside in the park, and wasted hours doing absolutely nothing. It was perfect.
I had been dying to get to Amsterdam for months after meeting so many Dutch people in Asia. I developed a mini obsession with Dutch culture and find them to be the most laid back and at the same time forward thinking country. I'm not sure exactly what it is but I just love the Dutch! That love has grown since visiting the country firsthand and I found myself wondering how I could feasibly move to Amsterdam. It was cool to feel like I lived in the city, learning the back roads to and from the apartment. Although once in the city center we found ourselves constantly walking in circles. I'm usually a very capable little navigator but Amsterdam quite literally threw me for a loop. I let Meghan take the reigns one day and after one too many right turns we realized we were standing in the same exact place we had just tried to leave. I resumed my leadership role shortly afterwards but can't say I was much better at it.
Our last full day in the city was spent eating. We had a list of essential foods to tick off of our list, mainly French fries, cheese, and chocolate. Amsterdam supposedly has the best French fries in the world behind Belgium. We googled the best fry shop in the city which can be found down an inconspicuous alley with a line around the corner and practically bulldozed through the crowds to get there. They offer an array of condiments and toppings; we went with mustard, pickles, and onions. Genius? Maybe.
The Dutch do not mess around when it comes to cheese. You can find a cheese shop on practically every corner in Amsterdam and they have everything from herbed goat cheese to lavender flavored smoked Gouda. We got ourselves a nice brick of smoked goat cheese to take with us on the train to Berlin. Three days later and we still have cheese left over. I wish I could bring myself to give it away to someone so that I'd stop eating it but it is way too good. And have I mentioned stroopwafels?! They just might be the most delicious cookies I've ever had. They are more or less mini waffles filled with syrup. They are what I imagine heaven must taste like.
Sadly, our time in the Venice of the north had to come an end and Monday morning saw Meghan and I on a train from Amsterdam Centraal headed to Berlin..... With a block of cheese, a bottle of wine, crackers, chocolate, and Dutch cookies. Why not travel in style right?