The Netherlands: Amsterdam

Life ain’t been a friend of mine
Lately I’ve been feeling kinda low
And she looked back over her shoulder
Pointed at the sign hanging up on the wall
It said

Everything’s gonna be alright
Everything’s gonna be alright
And nobody’s gotta worry ’bout nothing
Don’t go hittin’ that panic button
It ain’t worth spilling your drink
Everything’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

(Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, David Lee Murphy)

We picked Amsterdam because we wanted to get out of the mess and stress we were in!

Due to complications from Kepi’s first brain tumor surgery, his surgeon said he needed a second surgery to fix the leak in his skull. It was a few weeks before Christmas and there we were saddened and burdened with another health issue. The Christmas Spirit was almost lost in us. That’s when we decided to travel during the holidays and get our minds off from the present situation. Since Kepi’s second surgery won’t be until January, we decided to just pick a place, pack our bags and go.

We did some research and took into consideration the following: (1) time – where can we go that would allow us to explore for a week; (2) not too far that we spent more time flying than exploring; (3) fits our budget; (4) great for Christmas experience; and, (5) a place we’ve never been.

Amsterdam seems to fit all our criteria!

Here are the highlights of our Christmas week in Amsterdam:

1.) Wandering the canals, bridges and getting lost.

There is something exciting and adventurous in exploring a new city. We wandered the city’s canals and bridges with no sense of direction. The crossing of every bridge or canal offered beautiful scenery and photo opportunity.  To be lost in Amsterdam is a travelers’ delight, a perfect opportunity to explore, and good therapy to the stressed. It’s a means of letting go and letting it be.

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The canal houses.

2. Shopping! Whether your looking for Tulips at the Floating Market or something else at the Albert Cuyp Market.

There’s quite a variety of Tulips to choose from, but if you plan on taking them home to the US or your respective country, make sure it’s certified that it’s OK for export. Of course, you’ll also see Cannabis starter kits available here. It’s all part of the Amsterdam experience.

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Pastry seller at the Albert Cuyp Market. The Albert Cuyp Market offers shoppers a hodge podge of clothes, shoes, food, appliances and more.

3. Eating something Dutch and savoring every morsel of it!

Stroopwafel, Dutch Pancakes (from The Pancake Bakery), Poffertjes (from Carousel), Oliebollen (from Lanskroon) and Pot Belly Stampot. (Clockwise)

In fact for Christmas Day, we had Dutch Pancakes and they were delicious. We also tried several places that sold Oliebollen but nothing beats those freshly made Oliebollen at Lanskroom. The Oliebollen at Banketbakkerij Lanskroon comes with currants, and they are my favorite.

4. Rijksmuseum

We can only speak of the Rijksmuseum as it’s the only museum we visited. Still, it was relaxing, refreshing as well as awe inspiring to see the great works of the Dutch masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt.

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The iconic “I Amsterdam” letters are at the Rijksmuseum. This was quite disappointing and I think you can see why. It is NOT easy to get a decent photo here with all these people trying to climb the letters and block your photos. Also, I was hit with a snowball while we were here, and some giggling girls at my back said that “It wasn’t them.” I’m not sure if they were telling the truth.

5.Night walks

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During our visit, the Amsterdam Light Festival was going on and it was lovely to see the lights at night. We also visited the Red Light District and it was a good experience to see and know the history of this place. The best time to explore the Red Light District is at night, 10 pm and after. Also, when you’re there, please RESPECT AND DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS of the women working there.

Although the nights were chilly, it felt pretty good to see Amsterdam in a different shade. It’s actually more crowded at night and people do bet more boisterous. Still, it’s a good experience and quite refreshing.

In January, Kepi went through his second surgery and he recovered well. He still needs to see a specialist, but as the song says, “everything’s gonna be alright.”

Linking with Worldless WednesdaySkywatch, Our World Tuesday.

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