Amsterdam for Easter?

8:09 AM


Amsterdam for Easter? A bit atypical, one might say. This was the thought that was racing through my mind after purchasing my bus ticket to Amsterdam. After all, it seems a bit atypical to spend Easter weekend in one of the most notoriously known cities for partying in Europe. However, I can now testify that Amsterdam is a safe and, dare I say, family-friendly city.

Amsterdam, like any other city, is whatever you make it. You choose the adventure that you wish to take. Yes, it is true that coffee shops and other businesses of that genre are found on most corners (depending on what area of the city you are walking in). The city seems to get a bad rep for these things, however you can find some amazing stores, museums, food and gardens too.

My friends and I opted for the 'art and culture' side of Amsterdam. We visited the Van Gogh museum, the Keukenhof tulip gardens, and the dutch countryside in lieu of the stereotypical tourist activities. Here's the story of the weekend!

On Friday, my friends and I journeyed from across the map (UK, Paris, Nantes) to our hostel. We stayed in a Christian hostel, which was designed to be an alcohol and drug-free haven of sorts. The staff were extremely personable and knowledgeable about the city and opening hours of museums. All rooms were filled, which made for a cozy experience in the dining and bedrooms, but it was still a clean and spacious place to be in.
Shelter City Hostel, the decor reminded me of my time in girl scouts :)
Once settled in to our rooms, we went out for a stroll to get some fresh air and to get ourselves oriented with the city. None of these things happened. Why? I forgot to mention that our hostel was literally in the middle of the red light district. The air wasn't exactly 'fresh', and the city looks like another creature at night. Strolling through the masses of people hovering around the red light district was experience. I tried to keep an open mind, but I'll be honest: it was hard not to judge people and well... to unsee everything. First of all, I couldn't help but notice the gender ratios going on. I don't think I've ever seen so many guys in my life. There were packs of men, young and old, maneuvering though the crowds while giddily scanning the store windows. Others stood off to the side of the street to get an undisturbed view of the women, going back and forth with their friends (daring one another perhaps?) try to work up the nerve to approach a lady of the night.

the signature neon lights of the Red Light District
We hastily exited the red light district and were pleasantly surprised to find a 'calmer' Amsterdam. It was only in this area where we could speak to one another and synthesize everything we just experienced.

We retreated back to the hostel in order to rest up for an early morning photography expedition, and in order to beat the crowds at the museums. We woke up early only to find that the city was virtually empty. I'm not sure if it's just a Dutch cultural thing to wake up late on Saturdays, but it appears that everything is closed between the hours of eight and noon in Amsterdam. We were the only ones outside, except for a few delivery men on bicycles. We didn't mind though because it felt like we had the city to all to ourselves.



By the time lunch time rolled around, things became more lively. The Dutch were out and about, savouring their afternoon coffee in the sunshine.




We walked past a spoken word house. This city just oozes creativity and light-hearted fun!
Walking or biking around the city is no chore. In fact, I could walk around this city for ages. It's so easy to be sidetracked by the bicycles, beautiful buildings, and boats docked in the canal.


Apparently the hooks at the tops of these townhouses were used in the 17th century for transferring packages from boats to the desired floor (or onto the rooftop)!
The Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank Huis, and Van Gogh Museum are a must-see
I loved Amsterdam. The waffles and stroopwafels alone are reason to come back.

I'll be back!

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