Believe me or not, but Amsterdam is one of my very favorite European cities. As I walked through its streets back in summer 2013, I soon found myself falling in love with its gorgeous canals and stunning architecture.
I suddenly dreamt of having an Amsterdam apartment with a canal view and thought excitingly about how I’d bike to and from work each day alongside the thousands of other cyclists. It’s spring 2015 now and I’m sitting in front of my laptop in a cozy and lovely cafeteria in Amsterdam, sipping my skinny latte and typing my next blog post. Life is full of surprises and dreams do really come true…
Moving to Amsterdam was a big change in my life – exciting, but also overwhelming. Suddenly, my whole life has changed. I moved to another country, I got back to university and started my Master’s programme in New Media and Digital Culture at UvA, I started a new marketing job, met enormous amount of people. Everything was new and time flew by fast. When visiting Amsterdam for a holiday in 2013, I tried to discover an alternative side to the city.
I generally avoided the top rated tourist sites and instead sought out weird and offbeat sites such as a cat sanctuary on a boat, the city’s vibrant street art scene and even the brand new Tattoo Museum. Now I live a local life here. I wake up in the City of Venice every day visiting hidden spots of still undiscovered Amsterdam. I am surrounded by amazing people who inspire me and experience a typical Dutch atmosphere thanks to my lovely boyfriend and his hospitable family.
Although I have been living here for over 6 months, I still remember my first impressions of Amsterdam. As you know, every city leaves an impression on you. You remember what it felt to be there, what it smelled like, what it looked like. Each and every impression involves a highly unique personal experience. Here are my first Amsterdam impressions:
The Beauty of Amsterdam
The whole city seemed so gorgeous to me. Buildings here are old, but not that old, and there are lots of shops and cafes and restaurants.
Moreover, I was simply blown away by Amsterdam’s view at night! When I visited Amsterdam for the first time, I was able to explore its canals, walk through the bridges, see locals riding their bikes and experience its modernity with a solid historical background. It felt amazing to stroll down the streets of “Venice of the North”.
It’s All about the Sandwiches and the Spread
I have never eaten so much bread in my life! A typical Dutch lunch involves a lot of dairy, a lot of bread, and a lot of smearing. I must admit that the Dutch are actually incredibly creative in the “spread department”.
Lovely Flea and Flower Markets
The flea and flower markets are my favourite thing in the city. Shopping in Amsterdam’s colorful and lively markets is a great way to clinch a bargain while picking up a few Dutch souvenirs, flowers, fancy second-hand clothes and a lot of organic food.
The love for the city’s market culture led me and 5 fellow students from UvA to create an illustrated eBook called “Markets of Amsterdam” that will help travelers, students and new residents of the city to get a one-stop information about the colorful and lively market scene of Amsterdam. It is individual and exclusive series on different types of markets, aimed to showcase places where to shop on a budget – the series 1 being on Flea Markets: Albert Cuymarkt, Dappermarkt , IJ-Hallen, Waterlooplein, Noordermarkt. The eBook has relevant descriptions in a friendly and relatable narrative style, with a sprinkle of video bytes, and original illustrations along with images.
Transportation and Cycling Tradition
The first thing I have to say is that, especially for its size, Amsterdam has the transit thing figured out. Trams run regularly on a schedule and I have not seen one be late yet. The subway also runs very regularly and is easy to figure out. Moreover, Amsterdam is a small city, so it is easy and fast to get around. I have been doing a lot of walking and cycling that keeps me active and healthy.
Cozy Cafes and Bars
Amsterdam offers a limitless supply of cafes and bars, somewhere around 1500. Every street side, corner, canal, nook and cranny has something to offer your taste buds and mood. For such a big coffee lover, this city is just a heaven!
I am so glad to be here, in a city known for its creativity, entrepreneurship and international trade with so many great opportunities for travel bloggers and students. I simply cannot what for what Amsterdam has to offer to me in the upcoming months!