I’ve stayed in hostels before. Airbnb. Cheap hotels. And although I would like to say I don’t mind it… well, I do. I like the good life, I like luxury, I like the good stuff. Ok? It’s nice to be pampered, to have an amazing view, to be treated well, to have silence and peace, polite people around you, great food. If you don’t like that kind of stuff, fine. You know, everyone has their own preferences. And it’s fine. I think a lot people forget about that. That we are all the same, but actually different. That we all have different lives, aspirations, backgrounds… Respect is something so rare in this world nowadays and people have become so engrossed in themselves to the point that they think their opinion is the only opinion to have. The only one that counts. But hey. Let’t talk about Amsterdam. ;)
So we arrived late morning on a miserable cloudy day in Amsterdam on January 4th 2016 for our three day holiday. The guy at immigration hands over my passport and says “Obrigada” – I wanted to say to him that he should have said “Obrigado” but then I remembered that I hate those people who correct grammar thinking that because they do that they are so much better than other people. In the end of the day, who cares? So I smiled and thought of all the times that happened to me in all the countries I have been to. Brazilians are liked in most places. Sometimes for the wrong reasons, but hey, if I am getting a smile and “obrigada” or “obrigado” I am taking it! Especially when I had no idea how to say “thank you” back in Dutch! Shame on me! And it was actually so easy! Duh! “Dank je” – very similar to German. Ok, never mind.
Next we got the train to town, so easy and convenient! Not to mention cheap! (Hello England – learn something with the real Europeans, won’t you!!!) Then we got a tram (which was actually not really necessary since it was only a 20-minute walk to the B&B) and walked across one of the canals and voila, we arrived at the amazing Kamer01 B&B with views to the canal, near the 9 streets, Jordaan neighbourhood and the most amazing cookie shop which sells just one type of cookie – dark chocolate with melted white chocolate in the middle! Our hosts are so nice (Peter, Wolter and Tommie the Beagle), there’s only three bedrooms and a gorgeous breakfast room where we spent our mornings and evenings watching the cyclists pass by. I could not recommend this place enough!
Amsterdam is a very relaxed city – probably because of all the marijuana smoke in the air. You don’t even need to smoke one in this city just walk in one of the many streets with “coffeeshops” and you will get high just with the smell! By the way, “coffeeshops” is where you get the stuff, “koffiehuis” or “coffee house” is where you don’t get the stuff and so can actually breath “normal” air and stuff your face with delicious cakes which are not space cakes, if you know what I mean…
Now, we are not very “museum-type-people” so we didn’t bother visiting them. But Anne Frank‘s House is definitely worth a visit, especially if you know her story, her diaries, etc. It’s a very emotional journey going around the house and imagining that this family lived there for two whole years to then being discovered, taken to concentration camps and then all die but the father! This poor man had to live the rest of his life knowing their family were all killed. And this teenage girl who wished to be a journalist one day, a famous writer, who is described to have been someone full of life and hope… It does break one’s heart. And makes us think how lucky we are to have been born past these horrendous wars. That we cannot ever really complain about our lives today. At least us, people who live in lands with no wars and no real life threats. And there I am, looking at her diaries, deep in thoughts… and a stupid fat kid passes by with his iPad playing games on the screen, shouting at his parents and parents not even bothering. Has the world become any better? I always wonder…
Then there’s the red light district. Women in bikinis and lingerie with neon lights, awkwardly dancing?! on glass windows. Groups of guided tourists passing by, groups of sleazy men, and weirdly enough, lots of couples just like us who were too curious not to go and see what was it all about. Well, let’s say, one look was enough. I was slightly disappointed that they were not topless and my husband was just too embarrassed to make any eye contact with them or their boobies – so he says.
But Amsterdam is not just pot and boobies. The beautiful houses all of different sizes and shapes, with no gaps in between them, facing manmade peaceful canals… The beautiful Dutch people who are so good with their English and so polite it makes you want to cry of happiness. Why aren’t we all like this!! The independent shops and the many markets and cafes. And the bikes. The really cool city bikes everywhere. Definitely a very relaxing city break.
And as a true breakfast lover, the highlight of our trip was our breakfast at Kamer01. The setting, the food, the company. All so perfect. And mostly organic and local – double points! The husband made really well choosing this place. I can’t wait to go back one day.
Trip back home: 20 minutes walk to station, 15 minutes on the train, 45 minutes flying, amazing 2 minutes wait at immigration in Luton airport (I’m still shocked!), and one hour drive home!
Worth it. :)