Yes, this city sure is interesting, I’ll give it that.
Bill Bryson sums up Amsterdam (or the Netherlands) pretty well. He says, you know when you’re in an argument and realise halfway through that you’re in the wrong, but keep arguing your side simply for the sake of it? That’s pretty much Amsterdam.
I went on one of the free walking tours on my first day, but unlike Berlin I got a bit bored. Sure, Amsterdam has history, but it was along the lines of ‘this is where the ships departed’, ‘this is a pretty church’, ‘this is the smallest house in the city’ and the best was ‘this is the widest bridge in Amsterdam’. Nice.
I also checked out the Anne Frank House with a couple of Australians and an American I met, which was done really well. I’ve never read the full diary (I only remember reading a picture book version many years ago) but just about everyone knows the story. They also had a great interactive section on human rights that we spent ages in. Also visited the Heineken Musuem, which was a lot better than the Carlsberg one. Didn’t taste as good though, but they had rides!
Amsterdam seems to be a place where everyone on long trips goes, as well as plenty of people by themselves. The sheer number means that I’ve met plenty of strange cases (who don’t seem to step outside of the hostel) but everyone’s very friendly. A large group of us went for a wander in the Red Light District (we all didn’t want to go by ourselves) which was, well, interesting. What was more interesting was the number of families having dinner in the same streets.
Tomorrow I’m Belgium-bound, but today I’m off to Delft and The Hague, to finally see Vermeer’s hometown and his famed ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. This book is still haunting me four years after VCE. I need closure.