Tag Archives: amsterdam

A Getaway to Amsterdam

My favorite city that I visited during Forum Europe Summer 2017 is Amsterdam, Netherlands. My friend and fellow classmate, Coley, and I had planned to visit Amsterdam because both of our parents told us how neat and interesting of a place it was. In addition, we both had a lot of friends who told us Amsterdam was a “must” if traveling to Europe during the summer. We stayed at the Pulitzer Hotel, which we both LOVED! It was located right on a canal and only 100 yards away from the Anne Frank House. I really enjoyed the layout of the area we stayed in. Every block we walked took us to a new canal with shops alongside them.

Two of the most interesting things we did on this weekend excursion were tour the Anne Frank House and visit the Red Light District. First, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Anne Frank House. A family friend had told us they sell out extremely fast but to check every night since sometimes they will put out a few tickets for the next day. We checked on Saturday night with other Forum-Nexus pals, Ashley and Victoria, and there were tickets available for all of us to go on Sunday morning! Our tour was a very moving experience. We were able to see the Annex the Frank family lived in when hiding out during World War II. The house had been preserved extremely well. There were marks on the wall from where they measured their heights, and pictures on the wall Anne had glued on. Moreover, we were able to see sections of Anne’s diary and other writings she had during her two years in the Annex. Overall, the Annex was not as small as I had expected it to be, but living in there for two years could easily change my opinion. Next, we went to visit the Red Light District on Saturday night. My older sister has visited Amsterdam before and she told us it was a “must see” part of Amsterdam. Interestingly, I felt pretty safe in the Red Light District. There were thousands of people, mostly men, walking around staring at the prostitutes in the window. Coley, Victoria, Ashley and I held onto each other tight while trying to walk through the busy crowds. Visiting the Red Light District was definitely a “one and done” experience, but it was interesting to see how their government has made prostitution legal only in one area of the city. Photographs are not permitted at either location, so we were unable to document these two areas.

While in Amsterdam, we ate a lot of great food, though I’m not sure any of it would be considered specific Dutch food. We ate at two restaurants that we loved – Pancakes and Café George. We had breakfast at Pancakes on Saturday morning, where they only serve Dutch and American pancakes. A Dutch pancake is one big, flat pancake, compared to American pancakes, which are thicker and usually served in 2s or 3s. Coley got a Dutch pancake with almonds, bananas, and Nutella, while I got an American pancake served with bacon and maple syrup. On Saturday night, Coley, Victoria, Ashley and I all ate dinner at Café George. It was a diner type setting with excellent food. Coley and Victoria ordered chicken, Ashley ordered steak frites and I ordered pasta. All of our food was excellent and paired perfectly with a bottle of rosé!

In conclusion, I would recommend future FN students to plan ahead early so they can get Anne Frank House tickets (they come out 2 months in advance), walk around all of the canal streets (since there are tons of excellent restaurants and shopping), visit the Red Light District (just for the experience), and stay more than 2 nights if possible- it definitely was not enough with how much you could do! After my trip, Amsterdam has become one of my favorite cities in Europe!

 

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A Mesmerizing Weekend in Amsterdam

Although I have fallen in love with each and every city, I would have to say that Amsterdam was my absolute favorite. From the centuries old architecture to the winding canals, I loved every second of it.

After leaving Paris on a weekend trip to Amsterdam, I was nervous that I would miss out on experiencing the Parisian lifestyle. However, the second that I stepped off of the train in the city center of Amsterdam, I was mesmerized. Miles upon miles of canals stretched before my eyes filled with boats of people enjoying the Friday night sunset.

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After a delicious breakfast on our first full day in Amsterdam, we headed straight to our number one sightseeing activity, The Anne Frank House. Although there was over an hour wait, this was an activity that I had been dreaming about seeing for as long as I could remember. Inside the house exceeded my expectations and made me feel emotions that I wasn’t expecting to feel. Being able to experience such a huge part of history firsthand was an aspect of my time abroad that I’ll never forget.

After visiting The Anne Frank House, my group of Forum-Nexus friends and I decided we should wander along the canals and find a nice place on the water for lunch. There, we discovered the best smoothie and salad I had ever had along with a view I won’t soon forget.

As the day progressed and the sun began to set over The Netherlands, we went to check out the IAMsterdam sign. This huge sign was a tourist destination that I was longing to visit as I had seen it featured on my favorite television show, The Amazing Race. The sign itself was overwhelming huge and proved to be a challenge to climb the letters, however we all attempted to climb atop to make for the perfect photo op.

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That night, we went out and experienced some of the nightlife of Amsterdam. The friendly people and inviting atmosphere made for a completely unique environment and some of the best memories that I’ll take away from my weekend trip.

The following day before our train back to Paris, my longing for a feline companion got the best of me. This led to my friends and I hunting down a Cat Café. Although the café was a little out of the city center, the drive proved to be worth it as we sat and enjoyed a fresh glass of iced tea while playing with the seven resident cats in the café – a truly unique experience!

Overall, my time in Amsterdam was some of the best days of my entire European adventure. Not only was the city and food amazing, but the group of friends I traveled with made the experience one of my absolute favorites.

By: Kelsey Norvell, 2015 Forum-Nexus alumna

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