I’d love to start with a beautiful visual of a sunrise on a quite morning, but my 5am alarm wasn’t anywhere near that glamorous, after a quick job for one of my clients I headed to the bus station by 8, and made it to LA by 4:30. I walked outside the station to meet up with Zack, who ,with his long hair, pastel shorts, and green lens shades, captured the LA vibe perfectly. “Dude, can you believe it, we will be in Amsterdam tomorrow!” yes! but first, back to Zacks place for BBQ chicken quesadillas. because, well, chicken quesadillas A shower, a phone charge, and a short ride later we made it LAX, with enough time to spare to make a some new friends at the gate before our flight to Keflavik. with only a short layover that consisted solely of a delicious bowl of Icelandic yogurt, and a little math to realize I paid way too much for it, (those conversion rates though) we made it to gate 14 and left Iceland and were off to Amsterdam.
By now I had been more or less awake for 26 hours, and should have checked into a hotel for the evening, but due to some miscommunications we had only 1/2 a day in the Netherlands and weren’t going to waste any time. So we stopped for more coffee and began to make our way toward the metro. When we hopped off, we were met with a chilly wind and a nice view of the North Sea Canal. It was cold and crisp and the lights were just coming on all over the city. We headed for the brightest lights we could see which led us to a large ferris wheel and strip of excellent restaurants and shops. We dove into a pizza place for a slice and pulled up a map to see what was next.
We decided that our best bet was going to be somewhat random exploration for the whole night, so we picked a few top spots to see and set off into the night…
The feeling of the uneven cobble stones under my feet and the smell of salty air off the water was amazing, an experience of excitement and freedom like I hadn’t felt before. As I walked by De Waag, (a former city gate built in the 15 century) I could clearly see pride in preservation that would be evident throughout the rest of the city. But there was also a clear embrace of progress, with the old Waag now a restaurant, and the centuries old canals now filled with residence boats. That turned out to be the biggest charm of this city, the combination of old and new.
We wandered our way through streets admiring the architecture for about an hour, with the canals literally everywhere, and just as picturesque as you would expect, it was very peaceful. It was getting late and there wasn’t much going on, but eventually we ended up at the Rijksmseum, which was adorned in intricate marble-work and had a street going through the center of the building which, even at 1am, was relatively busy with people walking around or making deliveries.
This street led us to a small skate park which provided us with excellent entertainment:
After some mild shenanigans we stopped to admire some sculptures around the Van Gogh museum. We had run into someone earlier that recommended a rooftop bar with city views to check out, but alas, by now it was 3am so everything was closed, so we decided to walk back towards the center of town. Fast forward to 5am and we were completely wiped out, so we hailed an Uber and headed back to the airport to catch a nap before our 8am flight to London.
I entered Amsterdam feeling like I had just stepped into a movie, and left with just as much excitement knowing this was just the beginning, we had 3 beautiful cities and 11 days ahead of us. It went by too fast, and some may say its a shame, but I dont regret anything about it, and cant wait to go back and see more soon.
(Disclaimer: Im not proud that a slept in the airport, nor do we deserve any gold stars for our planning in the Netherlands, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing, because I left the U.S. for adventure, and thats exactly what I found… the only reason this trip was possible, is because we saved as much money as possible when doing it, so throughout this series you will see a lot of weird flight times, some Nutella, and some really small accommodations. but thats the fun of it, traveling like this has allowed me to leave my home state every month, and the country twice this year. so stick around and see where we go next!)
p.s. Due to the lack of time (and light) I didn’t take many pictures in Amsterdam. so another trip is defiantly on order soon