First things first. If you haven’t noticed yet, this post has nothing to with sweet desserts or sweet things like the rest of the posts you may find on this site.
Wait. I’m completely and utterly wrong.
This post has everything to do with pure sweetness. It’s about Amsterdam and Amsterdam is the absolute definition of SWEEEET!
But you get my point. After all, you wouldn’t be able to glaze the city in ganache or cover it with Italian meringue or apricot glaze. Actually, after visiting the city, everything could be possible in Amsterdam.
Once in a while I like to throw in a post or two about random thoughts or inspirations that don’t necessarily showcase a dessert. And this is one of those times. I hope that is alright with you.
So this is the story. I bought flight tickets from Spain to this incredible city (which at that certain point in time I didn’t actually realize how incredible the city really was) to spend three days there. The original plan was to meet with my other half, Mark, and spend those three days with him, since he’s currently touring Europe with his band Periphery and Amsterdam was one of their stopping points on tour.
So yes, the plan was for Mark and I to meet in Amsterdam on the first night I arrived in Amsterdam and spend plenty of time together (if you consider three days to be plenty of time, that is).
Well, in Spain there is a certain saying that I think summarizes the whole situation pretty accurately. It goes something like this: “El hombre propone y Dios dispone.” It translates into “Man proposes and God decides/arranges.”
To make things short, his band’s tour bus experienced a bus fire while they were in Great Britain on the same exact day we were supposed to meet in Amsterdam. Needless to say, our rendez-vous got pushed back. The band was still stuck in Great Britain while I was already in Amsterdam!
One thing led to another and the result was me having to spend two days alone in Amsterdam. How tragic…(Can you note my sarcasm?) After walking through the historic canals in Amsterdam Centre for less than five minutes on my own, I was completely captivated and drawn to the city.
Just joking. I really did miss him, but I was also ready to experience this city on my own. Thus, the adventure began. After walking and biking through the streets of this captivating city these are the observations I made about Amsterdam. I present to you a brief list.
1. Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles. You may already know this but really, in Amsterdam there is an abundance of bicycles and the locals use this two-wheel device more than any other mode of transportation to get around. They dominate the roads and the urban lifestyle of the Dutch. I witnessed locals biking while texting, eating, listening to music on their headphones, and I even saw a couple holding hands while biking across town.
Warning: Look twice and up to four times before crossing the streets if you are in a crowded area in Amsterdam or you may just go down…or maybe not. It seemed to me that the locals are so used to tourists’ state of awe that they have mastered the art of navigating through and around them. But just to be extra safe.
2. Speaking of bicycles…getting around the city in one is not as easy as you would probably imagine if you’re a tourist…You may be better off walking to get to your final destination. Trust me.
3. Amsterdam if freaking beautiful! This might be completely obvious to some, but really. Out of all the cities that I have visited in the past, this city might easily win #1 prize for having the most mesmerizing sceneries and life style. I could walk through the historic canals endlessly if it weren’t for potential cramping and tiredness of leg limbs among other bodily discomforts. But I mean, really. Have you looked at pictures of this place? If you have, great. But as you have probably heard many many times, pictures won’t really do justice.
4. People in this city look fit and healthy despite their age. I did not see a single overweight person and if I did, he/she was most likely a tourist….Even elderly people look fit and seem to be blooming with life.
5. Walk along and you’re bound to find nice neighborhood bakeries with fresh pastries…Yummm, pastries. You know how much I enjoy those. And I’m not talking about those super special “coffee shops”. Although you’re bound to find plenty of those too.
6. People seem/are free-spirited and opened-minded. You want to tie yourself in chains and saran wrap while cussing like a sailor? I say you do it. This Australian guy did and people left him completely alone. Amsterdam is the place to live your wildest dreams.
7. You don’t speak Dutch? No problem. Everyone (EVERYONE) speaks English.
8. The Flower Market is an unbelievable place. So is the Amstel River. So is Vondelpark. So is Zeedijk Street. So
is are a lot of places in Amsterdam.
9. Anne Frank continues to be one of the most inspiring figures in our life time. Many people, including myself, already knew that, but visiting Anne Frank Huis only reinforces such fact. It allows you to become even more familiar with the tragic life events that she and her family endured during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and with the strong and determined personality she had as a child. The visitor learns what Anne wanted for herself, for her family, and for humanity. She had a dream and a goal, despite her young age.
10. You will not leave Amsterdam without dreaming of returning back in the very near future. This place can be magical.
It was for me.
And yes, this story has a happy ending. I finally got reunited with Mark on the third day. He’s the one wearing the olive-green shirt towards center-back stage. His body is turned back and out of focus because he’s jumping around like a maniac onstage. As usual.
Did I mention that he has the power to make me laugh uncontrollably? Well, he does.