Many places throughout the world are based on a stereotype. For instance, Amsterdam is known around the world for weed, sex and let’s not forget, The Fault in Our Stars.
Visiting a place because of the stereotype is in no way a shameful thing to do. However, it is important to break away from the stereotype at some point and really discover what the place is about. Keeping this in mind, I was unsure of what to expect from Amsterdam.
My friend, Claudia, and I took a train from the centre of Rotterdam into the centre of Amsterdam. This took about an hour or so. On the train ride their I could not get over the quantity of cities which had such a large magnitude. It was quite an eye opener coming from Australia where there are significantly fewer major cities which are all spread out.
Whilst I found that Amsterdam does fit it’s stereotype of coffee shops, the smell of weed everywhere, and sex, I experienced an alternative aspect as well; boutiques, bikes and galleries.
I did not expect to spend so much on clothes in Amsterdam! After you break away from the main shopping area – full of chain stores, you come across quaint, unique boutiques on the streets off of canals. I fell in love with the location and fittings of the stores, as much as the clothes within them. They provided such a … shopping experience. And if I am completely honest, there is something so satisfying about buying quality clothes from a store or designer which no one from home has heard of before.
Everywhere I go I keep in mind, ‘do as the locals do’. Amsterdam was no exception. We rented bikes for the afternoon and rode along the canals, through historical neighbourhoods, through parks and even stopped for Dutch snacks as we got tired. The experience was equally therapeutic and nerve wracking. It was so serene riding through Vondelpark with the cool breeze, gently blowing through my hair. However, riding on the opposite side of the road, in a foreign country, with trams, cars, buses and other cyclists was insane – such a rush.
What many people fail to remember about Amsterdam is the historical value of it, especially in the sense of art. Amsterdam is home to so many fantastic galleries including The Rijksmuseum and The Van Gogh Museum, as well as many smaller galleries which house small exhibitions. Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit all the galleries but a trip back to Amsterdam just to go gallery hopping would be worth it.