After a long, and difficult, couple of months in Madrid, I decided to book a quick getaway to the land of marijuana, prostitution, hot mayo, and waffles. Just a bit of backstory, this isn’t my first time in Holland. I have been once before to Amsterdam and Breda for a very strange reason. I’ll go ahead and share a bit of backstory.
My first trip outside of the United States was back in April 2013. I was but 20 years old and so full of adventure that I actually met someone through the internet. There used to be this website I would frequent called Omegle, where you can literally talk to strangers from all over the world. While most of the people on it were horny old dudes, I would get lucky here and there and meet someone interesting. One evening I spent a few hours talking to this cool dutch video gamer. We became friends, officially through Facebook, and I asked him if I could come visit him after a few months. At first he was kind of hesitant, I mean who wouldn’t be? But eventually he said “Sure, why not?”. It was then I booked my first
ticket outside of the US.
I couchsurfed my way around Europe with a friend of mine from marching band, and we had the most interesting and amazing adventure. When we finally made it to the Netherlands, I was super nervous to get off the train. It all ended up working out fine and it was as if we had already met before. He also brought along a few other friends.
Fast forward to nearly 5 years later and I end up living just next door in Spain. When I said goodbye to them the first time I never expected to see them again, let alone leave the US. When I offered to fly over to see them on a random weekend they were quite surprised. I figured we had a lot to catch up on.
We all met in Amsterdam and spent the evening laughing and catching up. It was amazing to see how much we have all grown since the first time we met, especially their beards. Though, other than their beards growing, they have all grown into such interesting and wonderful humans that I’m proud to have met. Even though we only had less than 48 hours together, it was worth every penny.
We spent the evening having amazing Japanese ramen and Ramen Ya and some pretty exquisite cocktails, like the Vesper Martinis, at Snappers. We walked around the city center and talked about their jobs as big-time game developers, one of them even created his own company, and their lives in general. They also explained the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas as it was about to begin. It was magical walking around Amsterdam seeing all the buildings and trees decorated with ornaments and brightly lit.
The next day, Sunday, everyone had places to go so I called up Giulio’s brother to see if he’d come up from Rotterdam to see me. He was 100% down and hoped on a train as soon as he woke up.
When he arrived we had a coffee and walked around Rembrantplein Square, one of the busiest squares in Amsterdam, and had lunch at this
amazing steakhouse De Nachtwacht. After having been a peasant for so long in Madrid, living paycheck to paycheck, I’d nearly forgotten the taste of good meat. The meat just melt in my mouth like butter. And the fries, omg the fries, just hit the spot. I’m convinced I want to live in this city and never go back to Madrid!
After walking around nearly all of the center of Amsterdam, and trying to burn off all the calories, I realized just how much I loved the city. I have so many wonderful memories from my first time here. Like, for example, when I ate space cakes with a music producer I met at the Hard Rock Cafe, then his girlfriend taking me to a Banana Bar and sex museum in the red-light district, since my travel buddy wasn’t up to seeing anything naughty.
But this second time, just casually walking around enjoying all the city has to offer aesthetically, made me love it even more. The charm of the canals with the boats constantly whizzing by. The rainy, dreary, cold weather making it almost too romantic and perfect for hand-holding 😉. The language, being so interesting and just wanting to listen even though you don’t understand a damn thing. And of course the people and their amazing sense of humor. Like the random lady on the tram hearing me butcher words in Dutch and still trying to teach me new, even more hilariously confusing words.