Friday, October 30, 2015

3 days in Amsterdam & around

After my short visit of London I flew to Amsterdam and spent 3 days exploring the place. It was awesome experience - quite a contrast from London on many levels. Sharing some highlights.

Amsterdam is unique in many ways - historical buildings, more canals than Venice, more density of Museums than anywhere else in the world, more bikes than population, friendly and relaxed environment and perhaps most liberal city you will visit with legalized recreational drugs, same sex marriage  and euthanasia! 

For my stay I picked a hotel near Schipol Airport. Amsterdam city is about 15 - 20 mins train ride from the airport. You can buy 3-day Amsterdam Travel Ticket (25 euros) that allows you unlimited train, tram and bus rides. 

Day 1
Spent the first day (afternoon) just walking around the canals and historical buildings and other popular tourist areas near Amsterdam Central Station.

Day 2
Took train and visited Rottardam. On the train I met couple of American tourists going the same way and decided to tag along. Just short of Rottardam we took break journey to make a short stop at town called Delft. 

Delft is a beautiful small town with ancient canals, historic squares and famous china pottery called Delftware. Unfortunately, being Sunday shops were mostly closed and there were not much activity happening. Still it was worth the visit waking around beautiful canals and walkways.  

Rottardam is quite the opposite of Amsterdam. It was almost completely destroyed in world war II bombardments (you can still find markings on the payments in the form of small lights in the shape of red flames) and rebuilt ground up. It consists of high rise builds with iconic architecture, shopping plaza, sidewalk cafe and the waterfront. From tourist center at the train station we bought the walking tour guide that lays out about 10 km route around main attractions. It took us about half a day to cover route and would say probably the best way to explore the city. 

Day 3
Spent first half my last day visiting the famous Museums in Amsterdam city - Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. In the afternoon took a bus to travel to a small town on north experience country side and see real windmills. 

Overall, loved the relaxed and laid back environment. The countryside looked very beautiful - lots of greenery, canals and windmills. Loved dutch french fries with special cheese, Stroopwafels and Candies. People seem very friendly and tolerant (would not scream at you if you accidentally venture into into bike lane) and the environment very relaxed. 

The two cities I visited in span of one week could not be more in contrast. Compared to London life is generally slower paced - people move slow, trains are slower - heck even sliding doors open/close slowly, people more friendly and it is less expensive to live. Anyways, each place has its charm and uniqueness and great to offer and you leave with rich memories.  


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