Amsterdam is a destination that had been on my bucket list forever. (Is it on yours too? Here’s a guide to the city) I’ve even been in the Amsterdam airport at least three times without every stepping foot outside of it. I mean how crazy is that? Finally, I got a chance to visit this stunning city. Although I had my pre conceived notions on what it would be like, I definitely learned some surprising things along the way. Here are 7 things I learned in Amsterdam:
There are more bikes than people and you will get hit
Okay okay, you may not actually get hit by a bike but you will surely fear for your life. There were moments when I was just walking, without a care in the world and then the dreaded bike bells would suddenly go off. Shrill and constant, I kind of wanted to grab their handlebars and knock them off. Too dramatic? Well, apparently, they get the ultimate right of way. Cars yield to them. Poor pedestrians are just left to fend for themselves. And yes, there are actually more bikes than people, I’m not exaggerating that part. I’m not sure why someone needs multiple bikes. Show off.
Marijuna is technically illegal
Yes, you heard me. There’s no denying it, when you think Amsterdam you think weed. But marijuna is actually illegal in Amsterdam. So how does this work then? Well, the Dutch have a policy on these sorts of things. As long as there is plausible deniability (it’s a coffee shop. They sell coffee there, right), it makes money (and a ton of it), and no one is being harmed (unless they fall in the canal for being overly stoned), they will look the other way. Smart, right?
It rains. A lot.
But not on your parade. At least, not if you’re dressed for the occasion. We were in the middle of a fantastic walking tour where I was literally hanging on to our guide’s every single word (what can I say, I’m a sucker for history and a bit of a teacher’s pet) when it started to downpour. Our group scattered shrieking (yes I was one of the shriekers) in all directions since, as tourists, none of us were prepared. I mean it was literally sunny one moment and then a storm the next. Luckily, we ducked into this cute little bakery until the storm passed. After that day we knew better and we were prepared for any changes in weather.
Women of the Red Light District are known as “independent entrepreneurs”
Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam (they even pay taxes) and the women who engage in this form of profession strongly deny that they have been forced into the act. Though there are some cases of forced prostitution, most of the women are there by choice. There’s usually police present and the area as a whole is safe minus petty crime, such as pickpocketers. If you’re interested on learning more about the red light district, I highly recommend taking a guided tour when you’re in Amsterdam.
There are more canals than Venice
Yes, this is a true fact. What I really want to know is how many people a year fall into them? I mean they are basically every few feet so some drunk idiot had to have taken a tumble. Seriously though, the canals are beautiful and it’s worth taking a canal cruise to see them from another angle.
Amsterdam is incredibly safe
Amsterdam is among the top ten safest cities in the world! This may surprise you…well you know given the drugs and prostitution. I felt extremely safe during my entire trip. As with anywhere, just watch out for your wallet and you’ll have a grand old time.
The dutch worship cheese. And so will you.
Seriously, cheese is everywhere and it is sooo freaking good. We even had pasta that was cooked in a wheel of cheese. You can’t make this stuff up. You also have to take a cheese tasting. For one, you get to try different types of cheeses (duh) paired with delicious wine. But you also get to see the cheese maker’s (what is the official term for this? Yes, I could google it but I’m too lazy) face while he talks about the cheese. Absolute reverence.
Have you been to Amsterdam? Do you agree with this list? What are some things you learned? Drop a note in the comments.
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