72 Hours in Amsterdam

Last weekend, I spent my nights sleeping in a bunk bed pod in Amsterdam. 

I visited Amsterdam with my Masters program, a school trip that was originally headed for Venice but,  due to a cancelled Ryanair flight, was changed at the last minute. We ended up making Amsterdam the new destination, booking everything within a week or two before departure. We had originally wanted to go to Amsterdam but found it too expensive, but with the last minute switch things just fell into place. 

I had no expectations of what it would be like, I didn't even Google the city to see what it looked like, and perhaps because of that I had a truly incredible time. 

We travelled by bus, taking the 12 hour Flixbus ride from Dijon to Amsterdam. We passed through Luxembourg and Belgium, and I woke up just in time to see Antwerp, text Amanda in excitement, and then fall back asleep. 

We arrived bright and early in Amsterdam, making our way to the hotel where we would promptly shove our bags in a locker and begin exploring the city. 

We got the 72 hour Amsterdam pass, allowing us free entry into attractions, museums and public transport for a flat fee of 110 euros. It was more than worth it, and after a few museum stops it had already paid for itself.

The weather was amazing. It was a bit on the colder side on the first day, so I was glad I packed my fluffy green jacket. As the time passed it got gradually warmer, but the nights were always cool and crisp.

On the second day, we went to the Windmill village (Zaanse Schans) about 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam by bus. Seeing the little green houses made me green with envy, it was so beautiful I was blown away. The small village had no shortage of shops and souvenirs, and an old chocolate museum to the far right side. 

People of all different nationalities walked the tiny bridges and streets connecting all the shops, going inside a few windmills and snapping pictures. It was warm and picturesque, and I found myself alone on a stroll, silently appreciating the view. 

I know I've fallen for a place when I find myself googling 'house for sale' while I'm there. 

The exorbitant prices didn't surprise me, the village was a tourism hotspot and I'm sure everyone else who walked these dirt roads had fallen as hard as I had. We spent almost the entire day there, soaking up the sun.

Going back to the city, we visited museum after museum, snapping photos all the way. I really enjoyed the Moco museum, which housed mostly modern art and sculptures. There was a teamlab exhibit in the basement, and I was excited to see it as I had wanted to visit one in Odaiba, but didn't have the cash. 

Despite being a diehard Miffy fan, it had completely slipped my mind that Miffy's birthplace was The Netherlands, and I didn't remember until a member of my class pointed out a stuffed Miffy doll to be in a random shop window. 

Then it clicked: if there was any place to get Miffy merchandise, it was here. I wasn't planning to stock up on souvenirs, but once I saw that doll I knew I'd be spending more than I'd planned in Amsterdam.

I actually went to the official Miffy store, the only in the entire country of Holland, to look at all the Miffy items. I had my expectations sky high, expecting to see an array of Miffy items as far as the eye could see. I was disappointed to find it was mostly plushies and baby items, the few interesting items actually imports from Japan. I bought two keychains and walked out a bit unfulfilled, but glad I got to take a look. 

Though I was only in Amsterdam for 3 days, I had an incredible time. 

The streets were wide and clean, the staff in stores and restaurants were very friendly, and the public transport easy to navigate. Before boarding the bus back home, we rode the Lovers Canal boat tour and oo'ed and ahh'ed at the array of houseboats, bikes and people along the canal. 

It was such a relaxing way to end the trip, I highly recommend taking tour of the canal! It was included with our Amsterdam pass, another way the card truly paid for itself.

Despite it being a big city, life felt quite slow paced and quaint, just the environment Guillaume would like best. I hope to be back in Amsterdam soon, and fall in love all over again!