The canals separate the tiny one way roads that are filled to the brink with people, bikes, and scooters zipping down streets that look as if no one should driving on.
I sat on the outside patio of a restaurant with Den drinking a true Heineken, taking in the overwhelming amount of sensory stimulation from the bustling city. The sun was setting and we were eager to walk around the to see what Amsterdam is much known for. We paid the bill and set off for a stroll through the streets.
As dusk fell red lights began to aluminate the brick roads and hidden alleyways. In near by windows and behind glass doors, red curtains were pushed to the side so that the women clad only in their undergarments could be seen. The woman behind the glass looked out to the city to potential paying customers while some played on their iPhones much like any other 20 something year old. Somehow, I wondered how they got to be there and all the stories they mostly likely could tell; ones that could only be imagined. Den and I passed by along with like all the other tourist in wonder of what else this city had to offer.
Amsterdam, a place so different from my own had an air of uncontrollable excitement and freedom, a place that almost seemed to lack any judgment toward others. Coming from a conservative country, the U.S, compared to the Netherlands, the atmosphere felt as if it was a forbidden treasure that I could only observe from the outside looking in.
People filled the streets, with what seemed to be mostly tourists on tours with their guides, but Den and I just wondered on our own after a long day getting to know the city.
Earlier in the day we tried to walk from our hotel, the Radisson, to you are going, but eventually we ended up renting a bike. One of the great things about the Radisson is that they rent out bikes. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan very well and had to rent from someone else, but the Radisson was really good about pointing us in the right direction. Of course I wanted a tandem bike, that we got from Rent A Bike, because of my lack of biking skills, and the heavy bike, pedestrian, and car traffic.
Later we biked to the windmill among many of our other adventures throughout the day. Unfortunately, Den and I only got a short weekend there, but it is a trip I will never forget as well as one I’d like to make again soon.