It’s sad, I know. Only one day in Amsterdam? There’s a lot to do and see there, I’m kicking myself now I didn’t plan ahead more and stayed a few more days! Despite the brief visit, my first trip to Netherlands was still fun and interesting.
I took the Megabus from Paris, my first experience with the company in Europe. I’ve ridden with them in the US before and it was pretty similar. No thrills or anything special, just a very cheap way to get from Point A to B. It isn’t the fastest way but it’s certainly the most economic way to get from Paris to Amsterdam, costing me only 20 euro.
Upon arrival, I spent a few hours walking around on my own to get a feel of the city. One of the first things which were blatantly obvious to me was that the Dutch have an affinity for bicycles. One of my Dutch friends even joked that they’re all born riding out of their mother’s womb. Everywhere you go, tons of people are out and about riding their bikes. Between all the canals and narrow streets, it’s much more efficient getting around via the numerous bike lanes and paths that weave about through the city. They even have huge parking lots just for bicycles in some places. And this isn’t something exclusive only to Amsterdam, it’s throughout the Netherlands. It helps that a majority of the country is flat, making it easy to get around this way.
After a few hours getting introduced to the city, I took the train to stay with a friend in Arnhem about an hour away. It’s a city in the eastern part of the country that isn’t usually visited by tourists, so it was nice to experience the “real” Netherlands. The following day, we went back to Amsterdam and met up with some more friends and we all spent the day wandering the labyrinth of streets and canals. I really wanted to see the the Anne Frank Museum, but the line was soooo long (the wait would have been a few hours) we decided to pass. Fortunately the weather was really nice so we spent the day outside walking aside the canals, hanging out at the park, and stuffing our faces with delicious Dutch food (I could kill for some stroopwaffles right now!).
Since I was only there for a day, there’s not a whole lot more I can say about Amsterdam other than I liked it enough the first time to want to come back again someday!