In the airport, every sign had Dutch AND English translations, so we were hopeful that the language barrier wouldn’t be too bad. Well, once we hopped on the bus to our hostel, we quickly realized that the city of Amsterdam didn’t believe in English translations! We managed to get off at the right bus stop, and by pure chance, we looked to our left and there was our hostel. If that wasn’t luck, I don’t know what is. We seriously would still be wandering around Amsterdam looking for it if we hadn’t glanced in the right direction at the right time! We checked into our hostel, and all I could think about was SLEEP. After staying up the entire night before, I could barely keep my eyes open. We booked a 10-person room, which was the largest one yet that we’ve stayed in. We soon found out we were in for a rude awakening…anything over 6 beds is almost unbearable. Or maybe it was just because of the particular people that were staying in our room…there were 6 Italian potheads sharing our room. Sweet. Until this point, we had not encountered any rude people…but these people were loud, obnoxious, and *no kidding* , they walked around our room NAKED after showering. With us in the room. Disgusting.
It would be unfair to say that I hated Amsterdam, because I think our hostel situation is what put the damper on our stay in the city. There were a few homeless people who got too close for comfort and begged for money (advice: don’t look like a tourist…they will certainly find you and ask for money). I knew that Amsterdam was a very liberal city, but I honestly didn’t realize just HOW liberal. I guess it was just naivety, but I thought most of the things I’d heard were just exaggerations. However, after taking a short walk around Amsterdam, I quickly realized just how conservative I actually am…ha. I never really considered myself as such, but compared to the Dutch, I found that I am an extremely conservative person. And I prefer to stay that way.
Our second (and last) day in Amsterdam was much more pleasant. We did not encounter any homeless people, and we saw lots of pretty Dutch architecture. If you take away the trashiness of the city, the buildings and the canals are actually strikingly gorgeous. We walked past the Anne Frank House, but the line was extremely long and we decided against waiting to tour the house and museum, in favor of exploring the city a little more. We made at stop at one of the six or seven H&M’s (not exaggerating…there were at least that many) to buy a purse that I can wear across my body, because I was getting wary of carrying my Longchamp bag for fear of it getting grabbed off my shoulder. After that, we found ourselves sitting at a café (NOT a coffeeshop…in Amsterdam, coffeeshops are where you smoke weed…haha) near the train station, a perfect location for people watching. There were definitely some interesting people to see in this city…just about everyone has a unique style. And it’s not all pretty. But here, individualism clearly rules.
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