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Friends in Amsterdam

As I mentioned in my very boring previous blog, I had a couple of people visiting me this past week. Needless to say: we had tons of fun! Amsterdam is such a wonderful city and to get to experience it with some of my favourite people just makes it even better. I love showing people around and exploring new areas together, so this has been a fantastic week. Let me tell you all about it ­čÖé

On Monday morning, I set my alarm early for a good start of the day. I got to Skype with someone I met during my travels last summer, who happens to be in another timezone. Of course this was a fabulous start to my even more exciting day. At about 10:30, I hurried my way to the metro station near my house and hopped on the metro. I spent my time on there reading about the horrible news regarding the Vegas shooting, on my phone. I cannot believe how inhumane some beings can be. Either way, a short journey later I got out and was greeted by the beautiful building that is Amsterdam central station. I fast walked my way to the piano in the big hall of the station and awaited my visitors. I quickly spotted two familiar faces and was introduced to two new ones. I guided them to a defect ticket machine (again, I am sorry), and then proceeded taking them to the metro, to buy a ticket at the (working) machines there.

Sundown and I immediately started messing around together and I cannot even describe how happy I was to see these people. Like I said before, people always tend to say that they will come visit me here in Amsterdam, but no one (from another country) has actually done so. Instead, I always end up visiting them, which is alright by me. However, I do like to show people where I live and what I do here and all, so it is nice if people come visit me here (so please do so!). Anyways, I took my four tourists for the week to their hotel to drop of their belongings. After quickly showing them where I live and everything, we went to the city center again. Since the majority of the group was a bit hungry, I took them to the Vlaamse Frieten place near central station. I am aware that this is a very touristy thing to do, but they had never tried a kroket before, so they left me no choice.

I showed them some of the main sights of the city, that were at a walking distance from there, such as the Royal palace. I also took them up to Restaurant Blue, for a beautiful view of the city. I tend to take people up there a lot now, because they have delicious lemonade, a wonderful interior and a fantastic view. After walking around the city a bit more and showing them some hidden gems, I brought them to the Anne Frank House, where they had booked a tour. This is where I went back home for the night and got ready for another day filled with fun!

I met them at their hotel (Hotel Lowell) around 10 am and was welcomed with a nice cup of coffee. We then discussed the plans for that day and off we went. We decided to have breakfast at a little cafe (Oma Ietje) next to the metro station, which was really lovely. We then popped into the city again, starting of heading east of central station towards the library. This probably sounds super lame, but that library has a fantastic view and happens to be a public library, so is pretty much open to anyone. I took them all the way to the top of the OBA (as this library is called; meaning Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam/Public Library Amsterdam) and enjoyed the view. I have seen this view a couple of times now, but I still consider it stunning, as did they.

After the library we walked around for a bit, followed by a visit to one of my favourite ‘attractions’ in Amsterdam: House of Bols. I Absolutely adore this place. It’s a small genever experience/museum, in which they explain all steps of the brewing process of world famous genever. Now if you are not Dutch; Genever is basically where the English Gin derives from and is also how the saying ‘Dutch courage’ got it’s name. This experience is super interesting, interactive and also delicious. Believe me when I say they don’t pay me to say this, but I would HIGHLY recommend visiting this place to anyone over 18.

After two cocktails each at House of Bols, we made our way towards the Hard Rock Cafe. I had never actually eaten anything there before, so they HAD to introduce me to it. Did I mention they are American before? That might explain it. I absolutely destroyed my burger, or well; half of it, and didn’t even get to touching my fries. I was absolutely stuffed, but it was amazing. I then suggested all getting onto a tram towards Dam square, since two of them wanted to go to Body Worlds. We then all got out and Sundown and I started messing around a bit more. We would just suddenly stop walking in the middle of Dam Square and start pointing at the sky, while saying “look at that!”. We called it our ‘social experiment’ to see if we could make people look up. It worked. Sometimes.

We then went to their hotel to drop off their bags, after which we went for a little stroll through the area around their hotel. They then dropped me off at the metro, where I went home. The next day I had classes, so when I was done I quickly made my way towards central station again, to wave them goodbye. This time it wasn’t a very sad goodbye, because I will see them again next month, if all goes well.

Thursday was another super exciting day, because now it was time for Ben (remember that guy that read me recipes as bedtime stories in Leeds?) to come over to Amsterdam. I picked him up from the airport and shortly after, we were back at mine. I had the pleasure to show him around the city the entire weekend! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great so it was a bit annoying going out and about, but I think he has still seen a fair bit of Amsterdam. Of course I showed him the main things like the beautiful Museum district (the Rijksmuseum tunnel is wonderful, especially when there are street artists performing, the acoustics in there are great), the red light district, dam square and of course Restaurant Blue; to see the city from above. Like I said, it was rather rainy so we didn’t really walk as much as I would usually have, but that’s alright.

On Sunday we got up early, because his flight left in the morning. We hopped on the metro and I took him to the right train station, where we said goodbye. It was wonderful getting to spend time with him after not seeing him for about half a year. Even better is that it was finally in MY city, the place that I call home. For now.

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