Amsterdam Guide 

16 November 2017

AmsterDAMN. Okay now that’s out of my system.

I love this city!! May or may not have repeatedly noted how I would move there in a heartbeat. Maybe it was our fucking fantastic hotel or the fact that I was there with one of my long-distance best friends, but it was pure magic.

I’m sure most of you are used to seeing Mel’s name pop up at this point; she has become my constant Euro travel buddy. This trip, however, was joined by one of my best friends, Mady. Her and I met at a camp in the French Alps back in Summer of 2014 (sounds bougie cos it was). Since she hails from Boston, our friendship has consisted of flying over the country to see each other. For example: Last year, I spontaneously bought a plane ticket to Boston so that we could have matching Halloween costumes (she was Dwight, I was Jim. It was pretty amazing). This year, she spontaneously bought a plane ticket to Paris. Since Amsterdam was on my to-visit list and this past weekend was one of the only weekends I had free, she graciously agreed to come along.

At first, we [I] failed to figure out the public transport system (it was a 5:30 A.M. day...I swear I’m not public-transit-illiterate), but we made our way to Volkshotel after help from kind strangers. Part of this trip was made possible due to the kindness of Volkshotel, and let me tell you, my friends and I absolutely flipped out when we walked into our room. No pictures could prepare these excitable 20-somethings for how incredible it was. We quickly blew up the balloons that were gifted to us (along with some other goodies), threw the included confetti on the bed, and opened the mini bar. Even though the room had functional hammocks, we all climbed into the large bathtub (can’t explain that one either). Thanks to a projector mounted over our floating bed, we were able to scream-sing along to Toto’s “Africa” and watch as much stand-up comedy as our hearts desired. It was an absolute dream.

Thankfully, we were walking distance from so many cute lil’ shops and cafes. I dragged Mel and Mady to Hutspot, Things I Love Things I Like, and Cottoncake (with THE BEST brownies) before meeting some other friends at Spaghetteria for dinner. Mady and I topped the night off with some wine, bread, a trip to the Volkshotel rooftop sauna + hot tub, and Bo Burnham stand-up projected onto the wall (duh). I may or may not have been incredibly intoxicated and accidentally wrote an incoherent Instagram caption. Did any of you catch that?? I had a good laugh about it the next morning and was deeply mortified when I checked the insights and saw how many people viewed the post. OOPS.

Saturday morning rolled around, and we went to a restaurant fully dedicated to avocados. It was as glorious and as basic-white-girl as it sounds. After filling ourselves with greens, Mady + I surrounded ourselves with greens at the Botanical Gardens. Part of our friendship is founded on our mutual love of plants (we both have worked extensively with plants/flowers in the past), so any botanic garden is a must for us. Of course, it was magic. They had a suspended walkway that went from greenhouse to greenhouse, and they had an even smaller separate greenhouse that served as butterfly garden. Continuing the theme of plants, we ventured to the Flower Market and wove in and out of the different booths before Mady spontaneously got the sweetest lil’ tulip tattoo. She actually has two of my drawings tattooed on her body! How neat is that!

Food Halls seem to be the staple of all of my travels so far this year, so it was no surprise that we went to dinner at Foodhallen. Not knowing that there were other shops outside of the restaurant area, I spent awhile at a very cool concept shop that sold a lot of work from local Amsterdam makers. Our Saturday evening was not unlike the preceding evening, filled with more intoxication and stand-up comedy specials (we watched Pete Holmes this time around).

On our last morning, we went to the Van Gogh museum. The line was really, really, really long, so I ended up doing the museum solo because Van Gogh is my BABY and it was the main reason I wanted to visit Amsterdam. It was truly worth the wait and I was overflowing with emotions as I stood face-to-face with so many different works that I have been studying for years. The top floor with all of the paintings from his Saint-Remy period and on is what really got me the most. I won’t get into my spiel about my affinity for Van Gogh and his vision despite his life because that would last for pages and pages (not kidding about that because I’ve written a lot of uni papers on his work).

Once I dried my tears, I headed over to Wildernis because that was reason no. 2 for this Amsterdam trip (I’m a slut for plants, can you tell?). Sadly, it was time to leave after popping into Lot Sixty One around the corner for coffee. Like most of the other cities I have visited these past few months, I definitely could have spent many more days exploring the city at a slow pace. I’m now pressuring Mady to study there next fall so that I can have an excuse to visit...not that she needs to be pressured or that I need an excuse to travel. In closing, Amsterdam is wicked fun and the Volkshotel is divine. It is very easy to get lost wandering along the canals and enjoying each unique house that overlooks the water. It reminded me so much of Copenhagen, and I very much appriciated the calm and collected spirit of the city. It was charming, lovely, and all other synonyms. Who wouldn’t love a place filled with bikes, beautiful architecture, and all the Coffee Shops one could imagine?? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

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