Sometimes the best travelling stories come from difficulties travelling. Such was the case during my stay in Amsterdam. Leading up to the trip, I was quite puzzled by the insanely expensive prices for hostels over the weekend of my visit. The first two nights, a hostel bunk was around €90 and then dropped to €11 the following night. Hotels were at €350 per night. All the Airbnbs were booked.We later learned that it was a national holiday in Netherlands as well as a music festival. Naturally, my travelling companion and I put off booking until we were in Berlin about to leave for Amsterdam. We found reasonable accommodation for the last two nights, but not the first. Our train got in around midnight and we wanted to get up early to go to the Anne Frank House before there was a massive queue. So we made the sensible decision to just go without accommodation the first night!
On the train, we met four 18-year-old Canadian guys who also didn't have accommodation. We teamed up, arrived around midnight, put our backpacks in lockers at the station and headed off to spend a long, sleepless night on the streets of Amsterdam! Actually, the ambiance was quite similar to Dublin on St. Patrick's Day. We found establishments we could hop between until 5 AM, at which point we walked back to the train station. The station was full of people and guards waking up anyone who was asleep! We waited until around 7 AM and then headed to the Anne Frank House to be one of the first in the queue. It worked; we were amongst the first there and got in a half hour before the opening time listed. When we left, the queue was massive: it probably took four hours or so to get in.
I've read Anne Frank's diary multiple times in school so it was really interesting to see the Secret Annex in person. It was larger than I expected, but way too small for eight people to live. The history of the occupants and Jews in hiding was thoroughly covered.
After sleeping in our hostel lobby for a few hours, we finally got a bed and a few hours of proper sleep. Then, it was time to fight for a spot of the iAmsterdam sign. I claimed the "d."
Amsterdam is full of cute, little museums like the Tulip Museum and Stroop Waffle Museum.
And also the cheese museum.
Which gave a whole new meaning to "blue cheese."
Those of you who know how much I like to have a travel soundtrack will appreciate the choices I had here: "Amsterdam" by Imagine Dragons, "Amsterdam" by Coldplay, and "Blind Man in Amsterdam" by George Ezra.
Amsterdam was much colder than I expected (or maybe I was just used to the sweltering heat of Turkey and Greece) but the city was adorable. I heard that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world and I believe it. About 95% of the people I saw were taller than me and I'm not short. After Amsterdam, I finally returned to London after an incredible two weeks with eight cities, seven countries, five flights, four buses, four nights without lodging, two trains, and two continents!