What’s the first thing Amsterdam evokes in your mind? Depending on the type of person you are there are two common answers – red light district & weed, or bikes and canals, or sometimes all of the above. The first thing that crosses my mind though is tourists. Amsterdam is an amazing, yet incredibly touristy place nowadays. There’s a catch though – you are literally one block away from the numerous tourists, which is Amsterdam’s true charm.
Amsterdam definitely pleases the eye with its typical architecture and vivid colors.
Bikes of any type, for any age. There are approximately 800,000 bikes and only 263,000 cars in the city. In the city centre, 48% of traffic movement is by bike and people bike like crazy. Your biggest mistake while there would be to jump in the way of a cyclist. First, they will give you a bell warning that feels like the most arrogant command to move over. Then they will hit and run over you. Then you’ll both fall on the ground. Then they’ll curse you bad, dust off and leave the crime scene undisturbed.
Amsterdam has 165 canals with a combined length of 100 km. Besides the fact that many bikes and occasionally some cars end up falling in the canals, the big deal about canals are the boat tours. Locals and tourists alike love them on a sunny day and they seem to be the perfect place to get drunk. Which is why the thoughtful people of Amsterdam have divers on call 24/7 to save your drunk ass in case you fall off the board.
The large “I Amsterdam” slogan on Museumplein is rather iconic for the city and one of the most sought-after picture opportunities. Pro and wannabe photographers reinvent photography to catch the ginormous signs with their beloved little models. Meanwhile, Tina is fooling around with the kiddos scaring the shit out of them and spoiling their shots.
Despite the crows of tourists, you only need to make a left or right on the next block and you’ll get lost in the small streets with little cafes and cool locals. The contrast is quite stunning and it’s impressive how quickly you can escape from the endless noise and feel the real positive and tranquil Amsterdam vibe.
The best escape from the beaten path is Amsterdam Noord. It’s worth a full day walk as you’ll see some of the city’s cutting-edge architecture, artist studios, festivals and lovely hipster-ish cafes with sun-bathed terraces.
When Amsterdam gives you the perfect lights, one can’t miss the opportunity of a quick Tina photo shoot regardless of how much she protests.