Updated: Nov 2, 2019
Amsterdam is important to me and I went there in 2017 for 6 days by myself before catching the Contiki tour of Europe. The main reason I wanted to go to Amsterdam was to meet my Dad’s family and see my family history.
The story starts with me leaving Calgary at 6pm and landing in Amsterdam at 8am. My flight was direct, so it took 9 hours in the air. Now one thing I haven’t mentioned in this blog is that I don’t sleep on anything moving, so this gives me a lot of time to try and find something for the length of the trip. On this flight I got some amazing sunrise photos in the air, as I prefer a window seat. Now once I landed that first task was to get hotel and try to check in at 9am.
As I got to the hotel, I got told my room wasn’t ready which I thought was going to happen. At least the hotel was in a mall and I had something to do if I got bored waiting. The one place I landed up in was a coffee shop in the middle of the mall (Coffee post tells you how important coffee is for me) for an hour then landed up back in the hotel lobby after that to relax until the room was ready. Why is this important for you need to know is that, I was supposed to meet up with one of my dad’s cousins in the evening that night and didn’t have any sleep from travelling that day. The plan fell through anyway, as one my dad’s uncles from Calgary had issues flying home this same day.
Now the next day I had some free time to wonder the city being in Amsterdam South (Zuid) I needed to get a train into city center for the day and then that night I meeting up with another one of my dad’s cousins to take me to Ijmuiden to meet the family. We talked about the city and then went for a walk on the beach as the weather wasn’t good for a swim. That was a great night and relaxed in the hotel room for the remainder of the night.
The following day I decided to go for a walk from Amsterdam-Zuid up to city center which took me 4-hours in total to get up to the center and wonder around to find a hole in the wall coffee shop (Coffee no funny stuff). Then I also lined up to meet the one cousin that I was supposed to meet up with on the first day. I had dinner with his family, and we talked for a bit that turned into a bike ride to the AJAX arena to see a tournament game release. Now I know at some point on this trip I was going to land up on a bike but wasn’t expecting a 2-hour ride which was a great work out after a 4-hour walk.
After taking care of the family connections and now having free time, I decided to do some tourist stuff. One thing I wanted to do was go into the Heineken Experience to compare it to the Guinness Storehouse experience. Which I feel both were amazing and hoping to do more Beer tours / Whisky tours in the future. The other thing I wanted to see but I didn’t know if I really wanted to wait in line to see it was Rembrandt’s night watch. The reason this was on the list is because my dad has a small copy of this painting on the wall and he told me that it was a massive picture to see in person. I did get to see it when I was there, as I was just floating around the Rijksmuseum and noticed there was no line. I instantly went in and got my ticket to go into the museum. I looked around at some of the different exhibits to waste some time but the last thing I looked at in the Rijksmuseum was Night Watch.
The last thing, I want to talk about is Netherlands liberation day. Liberation Day is a celebration the country has on May 5th that represents the day they got Liberated from Germans army at the end of World War II. Being Canadian in Amsterdam is a huge honor as Canada was the major part of liberating the Netherlands. I relaxed for a bit to see the King and Queen of Netherlands in the ceremony at The Dam Square. Then I had to head back to the hotel to pack and get ready to check out the next day for fly to London to pick up my Contiki tour.
There is more I did in Amsterdam but that will be another story as it was part of my Contiki Europe Inspiration Tour. Overall this was a great start to the Europe trip with meeting my family in Amsterdam. I would recommend going to Amsterdam to see the Culture and don’t focus all your time on what many people look at in Amsterdam. Yes, all those items are there but the history of Amsterdam in rich and amazing to experience. From the Tulips to how Netherlands has reclaimed their land from the Sea.
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