You guys, this post is going to be lame. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Here’s the thing… surprisingly, Amsterdam did not inspire me much. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful time, but there’s just not that much to write about. We walked around, took some photos, stopped at a café for a snack, and then went back to the ship. I went back into town that night with some friends to celebrate a birthday and we had this amazing meal that was shockingly reasonable in price and we walked around some more. Not a lot to tell. It was fun, but I don’t have a great story. Very interesting city, but, surprisingly it’s not at the top of my list in terms of places we have visited on this contract, and thus I don’t have much of a desire to go back.
All my ship friends who have a strong connection to Amsterdam probably have real issues with this, but what can I say, not every city is for everyone.
In an effort to reduce the lameness of this post, I’ll list off some things I noticed about Amsterdam:
1) Everyone speaks English. Everyone. Speaking Dutch gives you little to no leg up like it would in most other cities in Holland.
2) They are all about the tulips. You can buy bulbs at most souvenir shops.
3) I don’t know why but I did not expect it to be as international as it was. There were people from all over the world there visiting, and at times it felt very much like New York City (which makes sense since NYC was originally known as New Amsterdam). Since I love NYC so much, it’s odd that I did not feel the same about Amsterdam (and, to be fair, I’ve spent much more time in NYC than Amsterdam, and I really only explored a small portion, so my judgment is probably quite unfair).
4) The restaurant scene was also quite international. We saw Mexican, American, and Argentinian restaurants. We ended up eating at this little hole in the wall Spanish tapas place. The owners and waiters spoke Spanish, so we were excited for some authenticity. We ordered tapas of chorizo, mushrooms, olives, empanadas, and then we shared seafood paella, sangria, and we even got a cold crawfish on the house as an appetizer. Probably one of my favorite food memories from working on ships because we were 2 Americans, 1 Dutchman, and an Aussie in Amsterdam, eating at a Spanish restaurant. That’s ship life, folks.
6) It’s very easy to accidentally wander into the edge of the red light district during the day… because you can see those red lights much better at night. And that’s when you learn the difference between a coffeehouse and a café.
7) Yes, Amsterdam really is quite permissive.
Have you been to Amsterdam?