“Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that I’m feeling” -Bob Marley
Amsterdam was the country I looked forward to the most (shhh, don’t tell anyone). For years, this place has gotten a bad rap for being a “druggies” paradise. But did all the rumors have some truth to it? That’s what I sought to find out.
When we arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, we were amazed by its beauty. By far, this was the best airport we’ve been to all trip. The charging stations immediately captivated Taurie and I. In order to charge your phone you had to pedal a bicycle to get “juice”. We stayed in the airport for at least an hour roaming around.
We found our hotel without a hassle because it was at the airport. Citizen M was the best hotel ever. Everything was high-tech and contemporary. I checked in using a touch-screen computer. The room was controlled by a single remote. The vibes in Amsterdam were so far, all good!
When we went downstairs to figure out how to get into the city’s center, the concierge gave us a map and told us we had to take the bus because the trains were under construction. I studied the city’s train system but not their bus system and was afraid we would get lost. Luckily, it worked out all in our favor. We caught a bus and got off at Museumplein, which was ways before we should have gotten off but allowed us to see the IAMAMSETERDAM sign and the Van Gogh Museum.
Later, we took a tram to Central Station and sought to find the Red Light District. It was still light out, but walking through that district scared us. The beautiful women in the windows just ready to be sold for sexual favors was discomforting. We were on our way out of the district when Taurie asked if we could stop at the Bull Dog coffee shop because she was super tired and needed an espresso shot. I laughed so loud and exclaimed:
Ky: “Girl do you know what coffee shops stand for in Amsterdam”
Taur: “Coffee right?”
Ky: “No, Marijuana”
This time we both laughed so hard we could barely contain ourselves.
The Anne Frank Museum was a must-do while there. This museum single-handedly changed my life. I’m not trying to sound cliché but it shook me to my core. Just being in that small attic was overwhelming. Only 70 years ago, this young woman was forced to hide out in an attic because she was Jewish. However, she didn’t let her enslavement shake her. She had dreams and high hopes that she would make it out alive. Anne was a writer, and one day hoped to become a famous journalist. She wanted the basic freedoms that we too often take for granted. It’s amazing how God works sometimes. Anne’s dreams came true but she never reaped the benefits of it in life. I am inspired by Anne Frank because I am Anne Frank. I went on this trip searching for the same freedom of living life on my terms, just like she yearned for. I too, want to be known for writing amazing books. I want to be free just like she wanted to be free, to travel the world and experience different cultures. She inspired me to keep dreaming and keep doing. I left that museum a changed woman. The world would be mine.
Something that was extremely commendable about Amsterdam is that no matter how far they’ve come from their dark history of Nazi invasions and mass murders, it still brings that past, which made them stronger, into their present and future. I actually saw a billboard by a library that had a picture of Dutch people from the past (circa 1930’s ) and Dutch people from the present which further reinforces the importance of blending periods as inspiration for progression.
I realized that as human beings, we too should never forget where we came from on the path to bettering ourselves. I couldn’t help but be reminded by how far this city and all of the European cities I visited have come. One of the many beauties of Europe is that they preserve remnants from their past in the midst of modernizing their present which is something we all can appreciate and why millions of tourists are drawn here annually.
The Dutch people are some of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve encountered. They sang songs loudly as they rode their bicycles throughout the streets. The serenity that I received in Amsterdam was one that can only be experienced by visiting this city.
Ky Verdict: Amsterdam is one of the most amazing city’s in Europe and I just fell in love with its beauty. From the cool trams to the canals and lofty buildings, it’s just one of a kind. Mercedes Benz Taxi Cabs alongside bike riding enthusiasts is just one of the many disparities that only makes sense in Amsterdam. I just wanted to be there a little longer. Amsterdam is not the city filled with stoners and prostitutes as some people believe it is. It has a laid back, no worries kind of vibe and the Dutch people are so friendly. On my flight to The Netherlands, I sat next to a Dutch woman who was completely maternal. She took care of me the whole ride making sure I had food and drinks because she knew how exhausted I was. She made small talk and just was a pleasure to be around. I knew from that moment my experience in this country would be one of a kind. I think I discovered my nirvana.