Amsterdam – I Feel Welcome

I am happily enjoying the long-awaited summer holidays and have just embarked on a journey by train to a couple of capital cities in Europe. This is something that I had planned to do in 2020 but Corona got in the way. Anyway, here I find myself, emerging into a city full of interesting architecture and a general sense of busyness.

Last time I was here was in 1998 as I passed through during a University residential trip to The Hague. I remember spending a few hours wandering around the streets, taking in the atmosphere and dropping into a rather peculiar museum about ‘romance’ (at least that is a cleaner way of describing it).

First drink – had to be JD and coke

This time…

On my first wonder around the streets my mission was to buy a new coat, as I left mine at home in the rush to get a taxi. H & M provided a cheap jacket to see me through. After this I grabbed a drink in a lovely cafe, which looked more like a pub. I have come to discover that most cafes here are actually bars. Suffice to say, that first cold sip of Jack Daniels was much needed after a hot walk, seeking out H & M.

It had been a 4 hour train ride from London and I really enjoyed the journey. One of the great things about traveling by rail for me is the fact you can relax and watch the landscapes drift by. Grabbing snacks in the onboard food coach is always a highlight and provides an opportunity for leg stretching. Many people would opt for a 1 hour flight but I much prefer using the Eurostar which creates 13 times less pollution per journey. I guess if you take into account the fact that the journey is four times longer by train then you can say a plane is creating even more carbon per hour. In reality, the train is 52 times more carbon efficient.

Anyway, enough of the greener thinking for a moment. Here are some snaps from my first afternoon in Amsterdam.

The Central Station
I just love the shape of the houses.
The red light district
Pinacolada and Mojito
I wanted to go to this Chinese restaurant but it was full.
Some of the architecture is unique.

I don’t want to bore you with pictures but hope you can tell just how excited I am about being here. The only downside is the constant smell of weed wherever you go. It can be a bit overpowering and has made my clothes stink a bit. It is all worth it though and I am really lapping up the sights and sounds of this fascinating city, nestled in the lowlands of Northern Europe.