Amsterdam- the most liberal city in the world
Amsterdam - a place with a vibe of freedom.
As we promised, the new blog post about Amsterdam is right here. We have made a short trip there in November and finally found some free time to share the impressions. So is it worth to travel to Amsterdam in autumn or winter? We say "Definitely, yes". Even the strong winds and rain can not take its charming vibe and breathtaking beauty. But if you want to enjoy your city tour, better to be prepared for unpredictable weather changes.
If you are travelling to Amsterdam, you know that it`s plenty of water around, and therefore the humidity is everywhere, especially in winter. So when packing for the trip, try to put in your list these items:
- waterproof wind jacket with warm lining/puffer or raincoat(you can wear it on top of your non-waterproof coat). Try to choose one with a hood- believe me, the hat will get wet very fast if not covered on the top)
- water-resistant boots(for instance rubber ones) or simply apply water-protector spray to your daily shoes.
- an umbrella is a must-have, but bear in mind that the wind may be strong, so better to have a cheap one that you will not feel sorry for if it breaks. You can get one from any tourist shop for less than 10 euros.
- a couple of warm sweaters.
- thermal underwear(in case if you are not super sustainable for cold, like us:)
- waterproof bag or backpack (or put inside a waterproof pocket-envelope to keep things from getting wet).
- water-friendly smartwatch
- warm hat, gloves and scarf.
- protective lip-balm, thick nourishing creams(moisturizing ones are not good for cold and wind).
- water-protective cases for your camera and smartphone.
So let`s start with a shortcut for the trip. We have arrived in Schiphol airport on 08 November 2018 around 4 pm by Transavia airlines, and the landing was very smooth with a beautiful canals view. The first trip with this company left only positive emotions(everything on time, nice food on board, polite staff) and we definitely will use their service again.
Actually we were not super lucky and almost all the week of our stay was rainy, but we caught two days of sunny weather to take some nice pictures around the city.
The first thing that was admiring in Amsterdam is how many bikes you see around. The locals ride very fast and it`s dense bike traffic here, so be careful and mind the bikers around you. If you rent a bike in Amsterdam, make sure you have a safety lock to park it, otherwise, it can be easily stolen.
On one of the rainy days, we were staying in different coffee shops and cafes to keep it warm. Highly recommended place to eat - Broodje Bert at Singel, 321. It`s kind of a sandwich bar, but incredibly fresh and delicious and cheap(we paid 16 euros for 2 huge portions of freshly made sandwiches and salad). For a quick and healthy snack, you can stop at any of Maoz restaurants- they make good falafel and vegetable salads. If you are seeking for meat or fish- you can go for Argentinean(for their famous steaks) or Indonesian restaurants (Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony until 1956). Personally we do not recommend to try Japanese cuisine here, as it is far from the original.
As we already wrote in a blog about Haarlem, the supermarket Albert Heijn is the best choice if you rent a flat and prefer to cook your own food.
If you are looking for coffee shops in Amsterdam to spend some hour, take in consideration, that the most famous and well-advertised are usually very crowded and it`s hard to get a seat at any time. Take a look at smaller shops further from the city centre, and check them up on TripAdvisor in advance. For us the good one was Free I coffeeshop- there was a spare seat even on Saturday night! The staff was friendly and helpful, and we loved the stylish and cosy interior.
By the way, in winter it`s a great time in Amsterdam to visit multiple clubs and concert halls. One of the best clubs with a concert area is Melkweg(Milky Way). We booked tickets for Nightmares on Wax live concert on 10 November online and it was absolutely great- the vibe, the sound and people around in the club.
Multiple 400-years old canals in Amsterdam are kind of a symbol here along with gingerbread-looking houses and tulips and windmills. You can take a walk in picturesque canals circle called Grachtengordel (Singel+ Herengracht+ Keizergracht+ Prinsengracht) and Jordan areas to take great pics, just catch a sunny day:) You can take a boat tour if the weather is good and check out from the water bridges and canals. One of the best bridges is the Python bridge(Pythonbrug), which deserves to be seen, as it`s a monument of modern art.
Since the name of the blog is about the freedom vibe, we would like to share what exactly made us personally feel like that about this city. First of all, you all know how that smoking marijuana is legalized here. But on the contrary with some conservative opinions, there is no increase in criminal records or heavy drug addiction. It`s so safe and friendly here, that you forget sometimes that you are in the country with so much freedom of choice. You see how the government is respecting its citizens and they pay back the same. You are hypnotized by how this freedom changes the people's attitude- it`s much calmer and tolerant and kind. By the way, if you see someone smoking weed in the middle of the street, most probable it`s a tourist- for locals it`s unlikely to act so impolitely.
The Netherlands is also a country with big respect for homosexuals. Here gay marriages are allowed and gay parades are often taking place as well.
As a conclusion, we say- if freedom and respect are given to people, they will make better choices for their lives. Happy citizen is a better member of the society, who will most likely not spend his time on getting addicted to drugs or misbehaving, threatening his own and others lives and health. We believe that Amsterdam, for this reason, is one of the best cities in the world.
Definitely you`ve heard of Red lights district(De Wallen) as a place with many sex-industry attractions. For most people, it`s kind of fun to pass this street just to see it with their own eyes. Taking pictures of the girls is strictly prohibited, security is watching carefully for those who abuse these regulations.
We were not so much interested to see this district, but there`s one statue in De Wallen, that we were inspired to meet. It`s a monument to Alida Bosshardt, the officer of the Salvation Army in De Wallen (also during the 2nd World War). Absolutely amazing woman with a big heart and high moral settings. You can check her story here.