Sometimes, when you visit a globally known city, you come to a depressing realization: Things that were at one point a part of the city’s culture have since fallen to the touristes. Unfortunately, I encountered this experience in Amsterdam. During les vacances in Février, mon chéri and I decided to make our last stop Amsterdam. On this same trip, we also visited Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Before entering Schiphol aéroport, we formed some assumptions. If there’s one thing I learned during this trip, it’s to leave the assumptions on the plane. We (along with tout le monde, I’m sur) knew that Amsterdam had a réputation – after all, there’s a ‘red light district‘ for a reason. However, we were highly disappointed with what has become of this réputation. Honnêtement, none of the locals go to the touristy shops to buy ‘shrooms. I was certain that the ‘shrooms being sold in plastic Tupperware buckets were really just mushrooms produced in a factory and thus having no affect whatsoever.
At one point, I found myself wondering: What touriste buys cannabis at a touriste shop? Maybe I’m just too passionate about experiencing the culture like the locals or maybe I’m just not into buying drogues at touriste shops…whatever the case, I was surprised every time I entered a touriste shop. I was in search for cartes postales holding images of the beautiful architecture and of the canals. It took longer than I expected to get through the amount of boobs, penises, and drogues that covered nearly 90% of the cartes postales in order to find some nice ones of the city to send to my family and friends. Although I prefer to experience the culture through the eyes of a local (and a local is not really going to buy cartes postales), I also need my fix of cartes postales.
So, at this point, you might be wondering: Why did mon chéri and I decide to visit Amsterdam in the first place? Well, we had 3 reasons: 1. We were intrigued by the many canals that made up the city and as a result we anticipated the moment we would cross our first bridge.
2. We discovered that a flight from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Nice plus 2 nights worth of lodging in Amsterdam were significantly less expensive than a flight from Copenhagen to Nice. 3. We had friends to meet up with!
Top 5 BEST things to do in Amsterdam in 1 day:
- Eat Poffertjes (mini pancakes) at De Vier Pilaren. Expect to spend about 10-25€.This is a cute little restaurant that borders one of the canals.They offer menus in several languages including English and French!They also offer delicious hot chocolat!
- Experience the Anne Frank Huis – Anne Frank House Museum. Touring the museum costs 9€. This is obviously a popular attraction touriste and with good reason. Sometimes, you just have to embrace being a touriste…especially when it’s such a part of Amsterdam history. Taking photos of the intérieur are forbidden in order to respect everyone’s various reactions. It’s really the best way to understand the life Anne Frank lived during WWII.
- Admire the colors inside Krijberg Sint Fraciscus Xaveriuskerk – l’église de Saint Francis/Saint Francis Xaver Church. Visiting the church is free.
- Enjoy Stroopwafels. It’s 2 thin layers of crunchy waffle with caramel in between. You can find these everywhere and they’re not that expensive (~5€).
- Warm up in Basiliek van de H. Nicolaas – Basilique de van de H. Nicolaas/Van de H. Nicolaas Basilica. Visiting the basilique is free.
Our trip in Amsterdam was short, but enjoyable. Just a note: If you’re planning on visiting Amsterdam, be prepared to be bombarded by this drogue-red-light-district réputation, but know that it’s not a bombardment by the locals. It’s strictly focused on luring the touristes.But, don’t let this get you down because Amsterdam is truly a beautiful city with a lot more to offer than meets eye. ♦