I went to Amsterdam feeling that I knew the city rather well. Canals, the red light district, and windmills; if social networking sites have killed travelling for me, the Dutch capital was its first victim.
Amsterdam is a destination easy to recommend; yet one that I found so hard to love. Obnoxious stag do parties, loud youth groups on their ‘epic’ European travel, or weekend trippers intent on burying themselves in the many welcoming Cannabis coffeehouses, it was never difficult to see where the city’s reputation came from.
But then again, Amsterdam never claimed to be anything else. I scratched deeper and wandered many times into its quiet neighbourhoods aimlessly, its charming meandering canals proving to be my respite.
Lovely architecture line up along the pretty canals, interspersed with bridges I lost count of. Bicycles are a real transportation option, and it was fascinating seeing just how anywhere and everywhere can be temporary ‘docks’.
And as the night befalls, the smoke fills the air and the red lights lit, I saw many of the locals sitting by the canals spending the night living. I wondered what they think of the city as they go around with their daily lives.
Tolerance and freedom are what Amsterdam is made of, and that in the end is what everyone should give a lot of credit to the city for.