Amsterdam Travel Diary
I woke up at around 2 am to catch the connecting flight to Istanbul and then Amsterdam. It was quite cold but thankfully it wasn’t snowy or foggy. I am not afraid of flying, in fact, I love it when the plane takes off and how it is pushed upward towards the sky. It sort of feels like it’s the closest I can get to challenging gravity and being away from a force that constantly draws us toward the center.
Anyway, I had to wait for a couple of hours in Istanbul so I found myself a nice spot, a filling sandwich and a cup of coffee. Traveling alone is amazing because you get to be completely quiet and responsible for yourself only. I spent an hour or two catching up with my favorite comedy TV Show Modern Family and being entirely oblivious of my surroundings.
Fast-forward. I was sitting in a plane from Istanbul to Amsterdam when the flight attendant came over asking if I wanted coffee. I would have absolutely enjoyed a cup, but I chose not to because it was 3.5 Euro and I was not going to pay that much for a 0.5ml cup of coffee. Opportunity cost, you know. I had my SOS snacks and bottle of water with me so that was fine. Five minutes later, the flight attendant comes back with a cup of coffee and offers it for free. Faith in humanity, restored. Beleshi, enjoyed.
After arriving in Amsterdam and meeting with my best friend who was also flying from Helsinki to Amsterdam, we checked in the hotel and went outside to enjoy the rest of our day. I had never been to Amsterdam and found it very beautiful, especially the canals and the bicycles. I also thought it looked nothing like other European cities. It felt cozy, quiet and chill. People were also extremely nice, tall and friendly…and handsome.
AMSTERDAM FEELS LIKE CIRCLE.
I love to explore new cities with locals and see the city from their perspective. Luckily I had my friend with me who had been to Amsterdam a few times before. We got to see almost all the best spots of the city. We started off the day with a very simple but breakfast at our hotel, and continued our exploration. Exploring the city made us hungry. We were looking for a place with traditional dutch food but ended up eating a baked potato filled with salmon and hummus on the side. Amazing!
LOOK AT THIS! HEAVEN.
Amsterdam has this thing of making you feel like you are walking around and around and arooound at the same place. No matter how many turns you take, you somehow end up at the same place. Weird. We had this great energy going on the whole time. We just walked and walked and walked and found some cute vintage shops for clothes and books and got really inspired. The camera was capturing the whole time, it was just impossible not to take a picture of everything. Plus I felt extremely happy that I finally had someone who could take good pictures of me.
These people are hard to find, if you find them, never let them go. Feste, you’re my person.
TALKING. REALLY TALKING.
We spent two full days exploring the city, eating fries, walking around and protecting ourselves from unexpected bike hits, and then took the train to Den Haag. Hague was beautiful. We found a big Christmas Fair and sat at a cozy table, bought some snacks and two cups of ginger tea. The most cozy thing ever was the serving of the tea where they had put everything in the back of a car. In addition to that, there were lights hanging in around the spot and the tables were arranged perfectly close to bundles of fire. We probably spent an hour or two just talking and catching up on everything. It felt like I hadn’t really talked to my best friend in ages, and now here we were, just the two of us in Hague.
HOSTEL FAVORITE – THE SWAP SHELF
The next day we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in our hostel and took the train to Breda. By the way, the hostel we stayed in had this SWAP Shelf where people had left stuff they couldn’t fit in their luggage, and I took this book called Der böse Ort and also found a picture of the previous book holder inside the book. I found it so special. We also thought about leaving something, a book or a note, but then forgot.
WE FOUND UTOPIA
Back to Breda. Breda was an EXTREMELY quiet city that we happened to visit while trying to get to Baarle Nassau (the coffee in between the border of Holland and Belgium.) Because it was extremely quiet, we got really suspicious and stopped a stranger to ask:
“Excuse me sir, why is it so quiet today?” asked Festa.
“Well, it is Monday. We like to extend the weekend and start working at 13:00.” replied the man.
We were like whaaaaaaaaaat? Did we just arrive in Utopia?
DRINKING COFFEE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE
When I was little I used to watch A Walk to Remember every single day. I remember Jamie Sullivan (aka Mandy Moore) who had a wish to be at two places at once. Festa and I accepted this challenge. To be honest, Festa was the one insisting we visit this place, and I am glad she did.
We travelled from Breda to Baarle Nassau to a cafè that was located in between two countries, Belgium and the Netherlands. At this cafè you could walk through one door located in the Netherlands and walk out through another one in Belgium. We even saw a house sitting in the middle of these two countries. Imagine people living there saying: “Oh well, today I woke up in Belgium, ate breakfast in the Netherlands, brushed my teeth in Belgium and left for work in the Netherlands.”
BRUSSELS AND HUMMUS
We arrived in Brussels at around 19:00. We left our luggage and headed out immediately. Because I visited Brussels before, I knew where to go and what places to see but we didn’t have time to explore it in depth because we were leaving for Skopje first thing in the morning. However, our energy was drained and we needed food. The supermarkets in Brussels are seriously amazing, or maybe we were just hungry. Ordering food felt like a long process, so we decided to buy all types of hummus and some vegetables and snacks that we could use to dip into the glorious hummus. We paid for the food and went outside to sit at a comfortable table in the city center. This is happiness. The little things.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, although a very long one.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, may you be happy, healthy and successful every step of the way!
With a warm heart full of love and wishes,