Welcome to the second part of my trip to Europe with my two best friends. Check out Part 1 in Paris if you haven’t already! We left off on the train to Amsterdam…
The train to Amsterdam from Paris was convenient and quick. There was a mishap when the man sitting behind us had his things stolen from the overhead compartment. But the three of us made it safe and sound.
Lindsay hosted an exchange student in high school named Maartin who is from the Netherlands. He gathered us from the Amsterdam Central Train Station and took us for pizza and wine in Vondelpark. The weather was great and the park was filled with people. Everyone was picnicking, listening to music or playing soccer (well, football). It made for a really chill and lighthearted atmosphere.
We stayed at Hotel Espresso. A new and what I would consider “hip” hotel. The room was smaller than our Paris hotel room but it was more modern and luxurious. The location was great. Right in the City Centre and just a quick walk to Leidensplein and Vondelpark. Shout out to the front desk receptionist, Veronica, for being so welcoming and accommodating. The free espresso in the lobby was a nice touch as well.
On our second day, Maartin acted as our tour guide. We first went to the Anne Frank Museum. I was told it was a must-do when in Amsterdam and even though it might be considered a “tourist attraction” I’m so glad we went. It was a moving and eye-opening experience. I was in awe of how amazing Anne Frank was and deeply saddened by how her life ended up. I’d definitely encourage anyone visiting Amsterdam check it out.
We then rented a small boat and spent a few hours cruising the endless canals and eating Dutch snacks that Maartin had picked out for us. Floating through the canals gives you a chance to admire the charming (and slightly slanted) architecture that you might not notice when on foot. Plus we felt really cool driving our own boat instead of riding around in a tour barge.
Last thing on the Maartin Tour was to hop on a tram to the Red Light District. We wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Yea, there were sex shops and half naked women in the storefronts but it was mostly filled with people just like us. Tourists. Having a look around.
Later that night, we went to a dance club on Maartin’s recommendation called Paradiso. It is located in an old church building. It was exactly the club we had hoped to find. Good music and filled with 20-somthings just like us. We had a great time and danced ’till we dropped, exhausted from an eventful day.
Since we failed to do some decent shopping in Paris we decided to try again in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, as soon as we arrived at the outdoor market it began to pour. The rain quickly dampened our clothes and stifled our excitement. After we dried off and warmed up at the hotel we went out for some comfort food in Leidseplein. I had a delicious goat cheese salad and some Heineken (of course) from the Grand Cafe Heinekan Hoek.
We woke up early, said goodbye to Veronica and left to catch our flight to the final stop of the trip, Copenhagen!