Eurotrip 2015 - Amsterdam
01.09.2015 - 08.09.2015
Amsterdam, wow. Where to start! Such a crazy fun city to start my Euro trip!
Amsterdam is a stunning city filled with so much history and so so many bikes! It’s definitely refreshing to see everyone out being active and cruising around the streets on bicycles instead of clogging up the city with noisy cars. One of the stand out things that I noticed was the obvious lack of obesity, the Dutch are already gorgeous looking people, but with all the daily exercise of biking instead of driving, even 60 and 70year olds were cycling past me looking like retired athletes and models! Australia should definitely take a leaf out of their book!
I was also fascinated to learn that the whole of Amsterdam is actually about 7m below sea level!! I know right, crazy! The Dutch have a whole heap of different infrastructure in place to ensure that the ocean doesn’t creep back in, and it totally explains why the city is filled with canals and cobbled streets and paths with barely any grassy patches! The whole “lets build our city in the ocean thing” was done because the Netherlands is so small that they need all the space they can get. The houses also have to be super efficient on space so they’re all really skinny townhouse type houses or apartments that go up about 4 storeys each. To save space the stairways are also super steep and narrow - I actually have no idea how the really old people manage! But again great exercise doing all the stairs! The houses also tend to lean forwards slightly because it’s too hard to get furniture and things up and down the crazy steep stairs, so instead they set-up rope pulleys out the front windows when they need to transport stuff up and down! They think of everything!
Aside from bike riding, I also managed to score some rollerblades from the hostel that were great for a bit of morning exercise lapping the big park out the front of my hostel (Vondelpark).
I felt pretty trendy cruising round on the blades and thought I was doing pretty well until a 70something year old guy zoomed past me on his rollerblades, hands behind his back like an absolute pro! I hope I can be a trendy rollerblading granny one day too! Ha!
The hostel I stayed at was also a hub of activity and I pretty much had a fresh set of new mates everyday. I was also really excited to catch up with my friend Marijke who is from Holland (we met in India a few years ago). She took a train 2hrs to get all the way across the Netherlands to come and catch up with me for a day! Big thanks for the huge effort chicky and for such a fun day exploring!
To be honest I really didn’t get around to seeing too much nightlife as the first half of the week I was too jet lagged and kept passing out by about 9.30pm at the latest, or had done that many day activities and started drinking far too early. I think something to do with turning 25 also gives me this uncontrollable urge to feel comfortable and well rested at all times, I have no idea what happened to the old Kristina that used to sacrifice as much sleep as humanly possible if it meant more time for partying! However by the end of my first week I did manage to muster up some extra energy and improve my stamina in order to stay out past my bedtime .
I spent one day touring the red like district which was actually super interesting, my highlight was definitely the prostitutes museum - no there were no actual prostitutes there - but lots of memoires and mock rooms made up to give people an insight into their lives. At one point you even got to sit in a chair with a pretend window in front of you that had a screen in it with a video on repeat of people walking past a prostitutes window and the different looks and reactions they would have! Fascinating stuff, although I think I’ll stick with my Physio career
The food in Amsterdam is also waaaay too good to pass up! It’s a good thing I rode my bike around all week because with the amount of waffles, ice cream and other junk that I scoffed I really feel like I should be at least 5kg heavier! Amsterdam is definitely prepared to cater for stoner munchies! But that’s another story …
After my action filled week here in Amsterdam it's time to pack up my things and move on to Germany! I'm taking a train this arvo to cologne to catch up with Hannah and stay the night with her and her boyfriend. It's been a challenging morning getting ready with the first hiccup being the painful realisation that I packed a stupid amount of luggage (struggling to zip up my suitcase in week 1 of a 3 month trip is definitely not cool!). The second surprise was walking out the front of my hostel to unchain my rental bike so I could return it, only to realise the bike seat had been pinched!! Having opted to not get theft insurance on my bike, (I had figured the bike locks were enough), I knew I'd be in trouble trying to return the bike without this vital component. Now I'm not entirely proud of what I did next, but in these circumstances some ethical boundaries need to be stretched. It just so happened that there was a rental bike from the same bike company tied up just meters away. A quick loosening of screws and I easily managed to relocate the seat onto my bike, before making a hasty getaway and successfully returning my rental!! Eeek I just hope the other bike owner bought the insurance!!
Now onto Germany - the part of my euro trip I’ve been most excited for! Can’t wait to get back into my German and catch up with a heap of German friends along the way!
Sending my love to all my family and friends back home!