a’ dam lot to see

a m s t e r d a m …

treated me TOO well, and i could probably write a book on this place. everything about this city completely fascinated me… and i feel like i need at least a yearly visit now just for the pure joy it brought me !!!

that being said… 5 days is WAY TOO LONG to stay. 3 full days would be really ideal (trust me on this one). before going all i knew was i wanted to see everything (mainly a lot of art)… so i booked for 5 full days… you will get too tired (like i did) and you will literally see everything… (it is not nearly as big as you think it is… or i thought it was) … annnnd you’ll run out of money (20000% guarantee… i paid 8 euro for a bottle of water… $10) …

ALSO, i was so into being completely immersed in the city that i wanted to do some solo travel there… my dear friend, N, who studied in madrid last summer mentioned traveling alone a little to do things completely on your own time… this sounded so appealing to me (also a major confidence boost to country hop all by yourself) … and just so happened to work out with scheduling that my friend, E, would join me 2 days into my 5 day trip… best of both worlds !!!

near the pancake bakery my favorite spot for dutch pancakes …

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SOLO TRAVEL …

was an incredible decision!!! with that being said, when it came time to go by myself… i was terrified and seriously considered backing out lol …

i got there really early friday morning (4/20 completely… COMPLETELY on accident)… i am naive. regardless, 4/20 didn’t really change much, except i think it was generally a lot more crowded because of it…

also, the weather was not typical at all. the entire 5 days it was 75-ish and sunny (SO lucky) ! tons of locals out on their boats in the canals (most locals own boats), cafés filled with people sitting outside, in parks, just about anywhere to soak up some vitamin d !

rejvik museum and iamsterdam sign (there are 2)…

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i did a free walking tour before i could check in at my hostel… (free walking tours are amazing, and i 100%… 10/10… HIGHLY recommend !!!!) …you learn so much and get an initial feel for the city.

highlights … (feel free to skip this section to the next bolded part if you’re not interested in history, learning, ya know…etc) !

the netherlands is the country… holland is a region of the netherlands that the dutch built with dykes and windmills… hence, CANALS. there are more bikes than people… EVERYONE rides a bike… and you’ll probably have to dodge them… a lot !

amsterdam in a pic…

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prostitution … traditionally, the dutch are known to be very tolerant people. therefore, prostituion is a long running practice. it began (tbh probably was happening way before this too) with sailors hiring prostitutes during the 17th century (aka dutch golden age)… the dutch were worried that if they interfered with the practice the sailors would harm the virgins of the town… (true story) therefore, tolerance !!!!! the red light district grew popular overtime and is actually situated around the oldest church in amsterdam (also known as the old church)… the church took part and became a very large church ($$$ !!!!) by granting the sailors forgiveness for their sins (before and after they committed them). today the red light district is separated by alleys based on preference… down to height, weight, hair color, etc … “big mama alley” surrounds the old church and there is even a pre-school situated in the middle of it all. a woman’s rent for a booth can range from about 80-200 euro for a 10 hour shift (with 2 1 hour breaks) based on location (more hidden booths are more expensive because the customers feel more discrete/comfortable… are you surprised?) … the women on average see 16 customers a day for a time-slot of 30 min, but the average visit lasts about 6 min. in 2000 prostitution was officially made legal. with legalization, they were able to place regulations on the practice because amsterdam had become a huge hub for human trafficking. with regulation, the women are their own bosses, they have a panic button by their bed, the payment is placed in a safe that they do not have the key to, etc.

religion … catholicism was banned for 200 years in amsterdam; however, the whole tolerance thing came into play again. our lord in the attic museum was used for the span of the ban…the top 3 floors of a 7 floor house were used as a church. these hidden churches were scattered all over the city … definitely recommend a visit !

legalization of marijuana … it’s actually not legal (fun fact lolol) ! during the 60’s amsterdam was a hot spot for hippies… john and yoko hung out for a month in the amsterdam hilton in protest… a bed-in… lots of drug use, lots of free love and experimenting !!! then opium came from asia and changed the game. by the 70’s through the 80’s the hippies had become heroin addicts and the streets of amsterdam (especially the red light district) were really really really dangerous… like not ok to walk down the street dangerous. the government then decided to be more tolerant of soft drugs in an effort to lessen the use of hard drugs (aka heroin) … and it worked! amsterdam has one of the lowest drug crime rates in the world. the red light district that you couldn’t walk down 40 years ago is perfectly safe now. the government allows for 5 grams of marijuana to be bought daily from coffeeshops… coffeeshops are taxed 58% of their profit, and the government has nothing to do with the delivery of the product to the coffeeshop… hence, not legal but tolerated for purchase and usage. coffeeshops are called “coffeeshops” after asian tea houses (they weren’t really drinking a whole lot of tea there) !!!

if you can’t tell… i learned a lot… walking tours are worth it. and tolerance makes for a really interesting communal dynamic.

proost !!!

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the MOCO and a canal cruise…

my 2nd and last day of solo travel… i went to the MOCO. i can literally spend hours in museums, and i LOVED this one so much (so ideal being on your own time doing something you love)… it features banksy and lichtenstein, and if you ever get the chance… you must go !!!! must must must!!!

canal cruise is also a must because you see so much that you wouldn’t otherwise from a completely different perspective too… another fun fact… the buildings along the canals are so narrow because they were taxed on the width… there’s a hook at the top of each because furniture had to come up through the top window (front door was/is still too narrow), and the houses are called “drunk houses” because they’re built leaning forward… that way when bringing furniture up it doesn’t knock out the windows… and there’s a tiny bit of extra space… each house is also built on about 40-50 trees… the land was so wet (they created it…) that to keep it from sinking they used trees to hold up the houses…

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and then E came to explore amsterdam with me!

we did the heineken tour, canal cruise, and lookout point… all comes in a joint package!

sweet shops are EVERYWHERE… so much super super super indulgent food… not complaining… we ate lots of nutella and strawberry crepes and dutch pancakes with more nutella… etc etc… go big or go home !!!!

anne frank house and jordaan district…

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NEVER too many flowers…

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and last but not least !!!!…. my favorite spot of them all! the van gogh museum !!!!!!

i’ve always loved art so much, and being in europe for an extended amount of time has allowed me to explore my love even more. going to the van gogh museum was an absolute dream come true for me, and it is my favorite museum i’ve ever ever ever visited. there are literally no words…

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and after !!! ……..

THE AVOCADO SHOW… (google or insta… everything is made with avocado !) so actually heaven on earth…

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e randomly found these spots!

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……a super long and sentimental post for a city i LOVE a lot. really really strange and interesting… it was quite a complex place, and if you still can’t tell i was utterly fascinated.

note… 

amsterdam is the most filmed place in the world… like big brother style… so most everything is on a honor system… trams, recycling, etc. also important to recognize that if you are seen abusing any sort of anything you will 100% get called out… E and i started calling it “classic dutch confrontation” … not a bad thing at all! but be aware (you will literally get away with nothing, promise) !

such a unique… modern way of living being…

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p.s. literally feel like i just wrote a love letter to amsterdam… PROOST to the most liberal and diverse city in the world !!! ily ily ily ily… !!!!! forever.

p.p.s. you’re welcome for your crash course in dutch history !!!!!!! ……..

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