Europe,  Netherlands,  Travel

Amsterdam – XXX

Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands – October 2016

Amsterdam is one of the most iconic port cities in Europe!  Famous for its beautiful canals, red light district, and coffee shops, this city was at the top of my bucket list when studying in France in 2013.  A group of international students booked tickets to Amsterdam at the tail end of our Spring Break.  It was super fun, but I was exhausted after a trip to Italy for the first half of break so at that point I was just ready to get back to Paris and relax.  On top of my exhaustion, it rained most of the time we were there!  SO, when I threw together my plans for my holiday in October I was happy to add Amsterdam to the trip!  I am a really glad I decided to revisit the city!

Amsterdam truly is a beautiful city.  It was especially gorgeous to visit in the fall with all changing leaves!  The adorable Dutch buildings lining the canals are endlessly charming.  I must say, even Snapchat had beautiful geo-tags for the city!  😀

During my last trip to this city, I went on my first ever Free Walking Tour.  After enjoying it so much, I began seeking tours like that in other destinations.  It sounds like it’d be redundant, but I decided to start off my stay in Amsterdam with another walking tour!  Same company, but obviously a different tour guide.  I loved it!  Again!  Although I vaguely remembered the tour, it turns out 24-year-old Shelby forgot most of what 21-year-old Shelby learned about this city!

Our guide this time was a very animated Dutch man.  He had no qualms with discussing any questionable topics in front of the elderly tourists in our group.  🙂  It is Amsterdam after all!  He even shared a quick story about a 70-something couple who was visiting the city and asked him for advice in finding a good place to do shrooms!  He was both hilarious and very informative.

Amsterdam barWhat I remembered most distinctly about my previous visit, was learning that prostitution is legal.  One of the first places we walked through on the tour was the Red Light District.  Knowing that it is legal, and in turn much more lucrative and safe for these women, allows for a more pleasant stroll between the full-length windows displaying scantily clad women.  I took this photo of some artwork in a bar I went to later.  I liked how the layout mocked the lights atop the windows in the district.

The price of hostels in Amsterdam changes DRAMATICALLY from weekdays to weekAmsterdamends, so I booked two separate places during my stay.  Another assistant from my program was also in Amsterdam and she joined me at the second hotel.  When we went to check in and drop off our stuff, we met two of our roommates – two nice guys from Austria!  They decided to join us for brunch at a great Australian restaurant we had heard about.  After an amazing meal, they ended up hanging out with us the rest of the day!  I love making travel friends.  🙂

20161029_142148During my last visit, my friends and I visited the Anne Frank House.  It’s incredibly somber and humbling, and very much a Must-See.  As I had already visited that, I decided that I absolutely had to visit the Van Gogh Museum this time around!  Our tour guide on the first day informed us that if you buy your tickets online you can pick a window of time to show up and skip waiting in line.  Plot twist – the online tickets are the exact same price as the tickets you buy after waiting in line!  I’m very thankful he told us about this, because I wouldn’t have gone if I thought I had to wait in the ridiculous line.

The Van Gogh Museum was amazing.  ThAmsterdamey have a huge collection of his works (obviously) and the layout brings you from the beginning of his career to his early death.  I loved reading about his life and seeing how his style changed over time.  The museum also had an amazing exhibition on ‘Impressions of Landscape‘ with Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh.  Monet is my favorite painter, so I was elated to get to see more of his work.  The exhibition had paintings by Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh of the same or similar landscapes all placed together so you could compare the different styles.  I really enjoyed it!  This exhibition is apparently going on until the end of January – so if anyone is in the city before then, I would highly recommend it!

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a lovely city, but it is also pretty small.  Three days tops is perfect for a visit!  I am very glad I returned.  It was the perfect end to my holiday!  This post brings the blog pretty much up to date on my travels!  This weekend, I head to Lyon for the Fête des Lumières.  À tout!

Xoxo

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