Amsterdam was never on my bucketlist but I am glad I visited it. Even though I think spring would have been a better moment to visit the city, doing it in january was pretty good too.
I spent eight days there which for me was a little too long but I don’t regret it. First thing I observed when I arrived there was how relaxed people seem, how friendly they were when I asked for directions and that almost everyone speaks english fluently.
It was the first city that I visited which made me feel that it is almost totally characterized by the locals. People in the city are active and relaxed, while diversity and acceptance seem to be two words that are perfectly describing Amsterdam. The city has a positive vibe which makes you feel great. Dutch people are friendly and kind, they are happy to help you with any kind of information. As I said, they are very relaxed and this is a thing which you can tell by the way they dress up and how they act. They prefer sport, casual or smart casual outfits and I have to say that they look beautiful and classy in a very elegant and efortless way.
I think people from Netherlands in general are happy because they know how to enjoy life and how to get the best out of anything, thing which I am working on to be able to do it. They know when and how to disregard the routine of everyday life and to reconnect with nature. The city is a really green one and it is fascinating how the ecosystem is integrated into the urban landscape. I was really surprised when I saw a big bird, which later I found out it was a heron, strolling through the city center and I was happier than a kid in a candy shop when almost every night when I was returning to the hotel I was walking past a bridge where there were a lot of fluffy bunnies.
The city is calm even though there are a lot of turists and the traffic isn’t chaotic. I was surprised by how many bikes I saw even though I knew the dutch people love to ride them. I rented a bike for a few hours and, except the fact that my hands were freezing because I didn’t have gloves, it was perfect: it is very safe to ride your bicycle through the city and it is a great way to explore the neighbourhoods if you are new there. As for public transport you can choose between bus, tram, metro and train. I never used the metro and my favorite was the train because it is the fastest, but mostly I used the bus. You can buy transportation cards from GVB company which allow you to travel by bus, tram or metro: for four days you have to pay 21,50 € and you can travel as much as you want.
Five random yet interesting facts about Amsterdam:
The canals that go through the city are longer than 100 km
Some say there are more bicycles than people who live in the city
There are approximately 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam; some of them are occupied by residents but some are available for rent to visitors
Amsterdam’s buildings are supported by wooden poles that sink through the mud and are fixed in a sandy layer
Some people say Amsterdam is home to highest number of nationalities out of any city in Europe