Amsterdam: you've heard about it in countless movies and probably wondered what all the hype is about. I was in a group of about 20 people interning in Dublin and the first thing we did when we met each other was plan our trip to Amsterdam. It was going to be crazy filled with mysterious drinks and night clubs that stay open all night, I was ready for the typical Amsterdam experience; what I got was exactly the opposite.
We arrived Friday night with just enough time to grab some dinner and head over to the infamous "smoke shops." I had done my research before and learned that I had to try 'Bitterballen' which is a traditional Dutch snack that is basically a deep fried ball of meat and cheese. It was amazing. I don't even like ham but there was ham in it and I ate all of them in a matter of seconds.
After the previous night out we had a slow start to the next day. We made the trek over to The Anne Frank house and were greeted by a line 4 blocks away from the actual house. Even the pre ordered ticket line was blocks away. [Note to self: do not visit Amsterdam in August]. We reluctantly abandoned that plan and opted for a more spontaneous one; bikes. You can rent a bike at many locations throughout the city, we chose the cheapest one and got the cheapest options, but it worked. We biked through the city and followed the river to the outskirts. Throughout our bike ride we found a farmers market, grabbed a bottle of wine and a traditional dutch dessert called stroopwafel and went to the park. We finished the night off at a mediocre club and headed back to Dublin early the next morning.
There were no crazy clubs or cultural anything during my visit. The croweds were so large it felt as if the city could not handle that many people at once. The streets were flooded 24/7 and almost every place we went to was standing room only. Lessons learned from this trip: do not go in the summer, rent bikes, take a boatride through Amsterdams many canals.