Before coming to Spain this time around I made a bucket list of all the places I wanted to go and of course Amsterdam was high on that list. It's one of those cities I was told you have to visit while in Europe and I kicked myself upon returning from study abroad because I hadn't. From the beautiful snow to the tragic yet inspiring experience at the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam lives up to its reputation as a must-see tourist destination. With only 48 hours, two friends and a carry-on I began my whirlwind weekend in the city of biking all year-round (yes, even in the snow).
Since I didn't have many days to see Amsterdam, no time was wasted. I was told by my sister-friend Mo that drinking Heineken was essential when visiting the city, so the first stop was The Heineken Experience. I didn't really know what to expect despite my experiences wine tasting and beer isn't my normal alcoholic beverage of choice, but I went in with an open mind and ended up enjoying myself. It was a self-guided tour that is basically a museum about Heineken while also explaining the process of making beer, the Heineken way. It is a tourist spot so expect to see many people willing to pay the 16 euro price tag that I would say is worth it. You can go at your own pace, read as much of the info as you want, and you get 3 beers (one after the beer process simulation and two at the end of the visit). The building itself is an old brewery and it has a more relaxed feel than wine tasting, which is no surprised since it's a more laid back drink. My favorite part was the beer simulation process where everyone was on a moving platform as if we were the beer being brewed and bottled. It felt like small-scale amusement park game!
Next up, the Rijksmuseum! Well, we didn't actually go to the museum, but this is where the famous "I amsterdam" sign is located. It was only right to have a photoshoot in front of it, the snow was an additional plus. Food wise, I always love going to more diverse cities with an international population because that means there's a variety of food available. I loved Logroño, but I do miss Asian, Mexican and Indian cuisine. Thus, my friends and I indulged in Thai curry, spicy Singapore noodles and my personal favorite: pancakes! My tummy was happy.
The one place I was most interested to see in Amsterdam was The Anne Frank House. Her story and how it put a face to the Holocaust is one area of history that I remember in detail from elementary and middle school. It was surreal to be in that space, read parts of Anne's diary in her handwriting, look at her life in photos and listen to the words of her father who was the only family member to survive. I definitely got choked up a few times thinking about the eerie similarities between the events leading up to the Holocaust and the current rhetoric in U.S. politics.
After going to The Anne Frank House I was in need of comic relief so my friends and I headed to the Sex Museum. It was insanely overcrowded which made it difficult to fully enjoy. The exhibits are hilarious and include one-of-a-kind from photos of sex positions to an analysis about the sex symbol herself, Marilyn Monroe. Going to this museum was the perfect way to lighten the mood before dinner and a night out that led to our early flight out of Amsterdam on Sunday. I would most definitely come back in the Spring or Summer when it's warm to ride bikes, go for a canal ride, visit the Van Gogh Museum, etc. because there is still so much more to see!
What's your favorite thing to do in Amsterdam? What attractions would you take the time to see?
I'd rather splurge on a good meal than a nice hotel, wine than water and plane tickets than club covers. Traveling and eating are my two favorite things, so follow my journey to see where I go and eat next! I'm just living my best life.