The first thing I noticed about Amsterdam was the complete lack of any hills, and the massive abundance of bicycles. I was staying with a local Dutch friend who I also stayed with in Australia and Nicola who’s house I was living in in Italy. I went to Amsterdam once before when I was 8 but I was pretty mesmerised by the prostitutes and the coffeeshops and I didn’t have any time to actually appreciate the city for what it really is. Amsterdam, as it turns out, is a city of contrast. On the one hand you have the Red Light District with prostitutes behind glass windows and coffeeshops selling magic mushrooms and marijuana on every corner. Then on the other hand you have beautiful canals, grand Victorian-style buildings and bike tracks that run through grassy fields overlooking a sprawling network of beautiful canals. So it really depends what you are looking for. Luckily for me I was able to experience both (minus the prostitutes) so that gave me a bit of an insight to how the city really was.
Everyone rides bicycles in Amsterdam and more than 70% of journeys in Amsterdam are made on a bicycle! As a result there is a LOT less traffic as opposed to other bustling world cities, less noise, less pollution and an overall sense of calm. I also got a chance to go to Electronic Family Festival which was AWESOME and had lots of trance music which is always great. We also snuck into the Madam Tussauds wax museum (its pretty easy if you go through the back door) and avoided a 30 min queue and about 15 euros of charge. I’ve always been a good scabber in life and when I see an opportunity I take it! We got to see some cool people made of wax although some of them were questionable (such as Justin Beiber). We also got a chance to see some of the coffee shops which cover the streets and honestly the way that the Dutch government has handled the legalisation of weed is quite sensible. If people want to smoke it, then just let it be? It excels in almost every category over alcohol including death rate and there is no hangover either!
The rest of my time in Amsterdam consisted of trips to nice nature spots (including one amazing one with a lake called Bloomendal), cycling around the city, trying some of the local food which includes pastries and a crumbed tube thing called a kroket and of course a bit of partying too. Nightlife in Amsterdam is awesome and it just seems like everyone in that city goes out to get completely fucked up.
Eventually however, the inevitable happened- my money ran out. The money only lasts so long, and when it runs out its time to rethink your
options. The way I saw it I had 2 main options 1. Get a job working in Europe and 2. Go back to Australia. In order to maintain myself I would of had to get a job, which would involve an extended period of time and effort in the already screwed European economy and I decided it was probably best that I came back to Australia for a few reasons, mainly also because I wanted to go to university and get started sooner rather than later, lest I be the guy getting a degree by the time i’m 30.
So back on the plane I went, and before I knew it I was back where I started a whole 10 months previously.
Well what do I have to say about this trip of a lifetime? I have learned a lot about myself, gained a whole lot of experience and perspective about the world around me, and most importantly had some amazing, awesome experiences. I mean a lot of people ask me what my trip was like and honestly I can’t just sum it up which is why it is all written down in these pages for you to make your own judgements.What does the future hold in store for me? Now that I am back in Sydney, I am planning on studying something in the humanities in university, and putting my travels on hold for a little while. I am thinking the next travel I will be doing will be on exchange, seeing as universities here offer exchange after the first or second year of study. I will always have a passion for travel however for now I feel I have to balance it with other things in my life too.
So this blog will be a little sparse for the time being, but I am planning on posting about some other travels I did when I was a bit younger- when I was 12 years old I sailed in a boat from England to Australia over the course of 1 year and 6 months crossing more than half of the world.
Stay tuned, until next time 🙂