September 18, 2016

Amsterdam Update!

I am currently writing this from a bus in Italy! I'm feeling a bit behind on keeping you all updated, so I figured now would be a good time to catch up on some posts. Since the last update, I have been to Amsterdam, Germany, and Switzerland, and I am halfway through my trip. So crazy how fast this trip is already going, but at the same time London feels like it was months ago! All is still going well, and I am falling in love with the world more and more each day. I am amazed by this world of ours! 

I promise I will be posting updates for every country, hopefully sooner than later, but for now I'll start with Amsterdam! To be honest I had no idea what to expect from the city of Amsterdam.  All I knew about it was a bit from The Fault in Our Stars, it's somewhat wild reputation, and things my friends have told me. I got mixed reviews from different people, some who loved it and some who found it underwhelming, so I was excited to finally check it out for myself! 

After exploring the city for three days, I can confidently say that it is an amazing place. I loved it so much more than I expected I would have, and it is a city that pleasantly surprised me. There is a good chance that I will be back to visit again someday! Until then, I will share my experience in the Netherlands with you all. Enjoy!

My first day in Amsterdam really wasn't a full day, as a large majority of it was spent traveling from Paris. Since the trip was quite a few hours, we stopped in Ghent, Belgium to have lunch and explore a little bit of Belgium. It was honestly I the cutest town, and I felt like I was transported back in time. When in Belgium you have to try both the waffles and the chocolate, so that is exactly what we did and both were amazing. It was the perfect place to relax and explore before getting back on the road for Amsterdam. By the time we finally arrived in Amsterdam it was around dinner time, and a friend of mine and I decided to explore a bit and grab a bite to eat. The area surrounding our hostel was super cute with a ton of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. We ate at the most picturesque little restaurant where we enjoyed tapas and wine, while dining al fresco of course. It was pure perfection! 

Our first full day in Amsterdam was spent exploring the city! First on the agenda was a trip the to Anne Frank House. It was an extremely surreal feeling to be in the exact place that Anne Frank and her family hid away for all that time. Winding in and out of the rooms where they lived was emotional and absolutely made me stop and think about things for a moment. It put life into perspective and made me extremely grateful for the life I am lucky to live, one that many people are or weren't as lucky to have. After touring the Anne Frank House, I wandered around the streets of Amsterdam, completely in awe of the beauty and quaintness that was found in a busy city. The canals add a special something to an already friendly, fun, and unique city. In the afternoon we had a guided walking tour around Amsterdam, where our local guide showed is all the ins and outs of the city and gave us a brief history of how Amsterdam came to be. After the walking tour a bunch of us from the group did a canal boat cruise, which was so much fun and provided a different perspective of the city. Wine & beer were provided along with bread & cheese, and it was a great way to relax with new friends and a beautiful view. To end the night a few girls and I grabbed a Heineken at a local bar before taking a nighttime stroll through the red light district.. I think bizarre is the only word that adequately can described that experience. We grabbed French fries with mayo, because yes that is what you do in Amsterdam, before calling it a night. Wonderful day if you ask me! 

I enjoyed a slower start to my last day in Amsterdam by grabbing a latte and croissant at a local coffee shop by the hostel. It had quite the coffee house atmosphere and I spent a few hours just sitting there catching up on some journaling and blogging. Such a perfect Sunday morning. Around lunch time, I headed into the downtown Amsterdam area to do a little bit of shopping and to check out a few more area a little bit more. I came across an art festival in Rembrandt Square, which featured artwork from local artists - so cute. I picked up a couple little things before making my way to the shopping district. Throughout this trip I have tried my best to explore new shops and things that are not offered at home. I haven't wanted to waste any valuable time shopping in places that I can easily get to in the States. With that being said, I came across some of the coolest stores while exploring Amsterdam. All Saints, Scotch & Soda, and American Vintage were some of my favorites! They all had such unique pieces, but that could be easily incorporated into anyone's style. I definitely suggest checking them out! All that shopping can make a girl hungry, so I grabbed a quick bite to eat at a cafĂ© before heading back to the hostel. For our last night a few girls and I headed into the city center to experience what nightlife Amsterdam had to offer. It was interesting to say the least, but ended up being a ton of fun and definitely something I'm glad I experienced! It was such a perfect day to end a pretty great three days in Amsterdam. 

xo. G

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