A Weekend Away: Amsterdam VersionParis, Summer 2012

Amsterdam is a grungy city full of 20-somethings sporting Chuck Taylors and sleeve-tattoos, listening to house music remixes, and eating extensively garnished pancakes that could easily feed an entire family. But it’s also a relaxed city of parks and bikes, quaint town squares, and a population that seems to be immune to the stresses of daily life. Or maybe everyone there just embraces the legality of cannabis.

It’s what the world would be like if the nineties never ended. Yep, now you’ve got the image in your head.

I took my first excursion outside of France last weekend to the quaint city of (drumroll)…Amsterdam, and quite frankly, I fell in love. But not just in love with the city. Oh no–this love was multi-faceted. However, that wasn’t the case initially.

When I first arrived, it was cold and rainy. The language, which I had to stop myself from laughing every time it was spoken, was foreign. Oh, and I was hungry. While I was ecstatic to be there, I didn’t see the canals and old-fashioned bikes that Google Images had SWORE to me existed in Amsterdam. But once my three friends and I took the tram to Leidseplein, stepped into Hotel Inner, and found ourselves giggling at the hostel’s “cannabis walking tour” event description, I was in better spirits.

That night, we ended up going on the “Ultimate Party Pub Crawl” (don’t judge me) and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the best nights of my life. How can you have a bad time when you’re dancing all night with people who, like myself, have come from various places around the world to celebrate what Amsterdam has to offer? That, and the plethora of foreign, disheveled backpackers were aesthetically appealing to my ragged alter-ego that surfaced during my three short days there. I mean, an actual Argentinian taught me how to tango. How often do you get the chance to do something like that?

As for Saturday and Sunday, the time flew by. I experienced the best moment of my food-eating-career when I bit into my first poffertjes (which wikipedia describes as “Dutch batter treats” but I know they’re actually made by angels), I visited the Van Gogh museums and saw some of my favorite paintings in person, and I also made a trip down to the Red Light District around 1 a.m. Saturday night. I could write an essay about that last experience, but I’ll save you the time and sum up the experience in three words: interesting, disturbing, scary.

When it was time to go, I was sad. I found myself saying “I never want to go home” (which is Paris, which makes me sound like an ungrateful brat), even though I was going to see Jay-Z and Kanye in Paris the next day (yes, I repeat, an ungrateful brat). But there’s just something about Amsterdam that bewitched me that I can’t exactly put my finger on. Maybe it was those poffertjes, or maybe it was a hidden message in all of the house music I found myself dancing to. Or maybe it was a combination of everything.

So after spending three weeks in one of the biggest cities in the world, Amsterdam’s leisurely nature was exactly what this small-city-girl needed. So thank you, Amsterdam, for one of the best weekends of my life. I’ll forever think of you when I hear a mediocre house music remix.

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