Amsterdam {A Declaration of Love}

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Amsterdam. Few cities make us feel so right about being right. In the right place at the right time – that’s what best describes our spontaneous stay. Rarely have we been equally enthusiastic about the architecture of the city, the atmosphere and the mentality of the people. It fits here, we feel at home here. As we walked the streets, we made plans to live here one day. That’s what Amsterdam did to us – in just 3 days.

We lived in a very enchanting apartment in the middle of the city center, in the top floor. So wonderfully sun-drenched – you just have to feel good here.

We cannot and do not want to give you classic sightseeing tips for Amsterdam here. Amsterdam is too beautiful to reduce to hotspots. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some wonderful museums and exhibitions here. There definitely are. However, we did not visit them, we were too busy with ourselves and our relationship with this city. The only really useful tip we can give you: Let yourself drift! And that also means: Walk as much as possible! Observe the people who turn their tiny front gardens into oases of well-being! Soaks up the open, friendly mentality! Enjoy every minute! Try to avoid hectic sightseeing scours as much as possible! Honestly, this is the best you can do! And then you will love this city as much as we do.

If you walk through the streets like this, you will notice that there is something is fundamentally different than in Austria or Germany: the people don’t hide, they open the huge windows and push the curtains aside. They don’t barricade themselves within their four walls. In Amsterdam you can watch people in offices and apartments from the street. One can get inspiration from the interior design, watching people cooking or watching TV. All of this has an equally fascinating and disconcerting effect on us citizens of Central Europe. You feel like a voyeur, a bit like an intruder. And yet we can get a lot out of this peculiarity: The open windows radiate the cosmopolitanism that we miss so much among the people here in Austria.

Something else is different: bicycles. Bicycles everywhere. Small, large, young, old, everyone is out and about by bike. The city appears lively and yet decelerated. More bicycle traffic means less car traffic. You get the feeling that the bike for the people of Amsterdam is a bit like the car for the Viennese: all the pride. Everyone takes care of it, makes it pretty, puts it on display. Flower chains here, stickers there, low-lying, foldable – there is certainly no lack of creativity. The many wheels give the city flair. Within a very short time you get the urge to do the same as the others.

Okay, here comes the obligatory To-do list (We don’t want to disappoint anyone): First of all there is the 9 straatjes (wonderful neighborhood full of wonderful shops) , the Jordaan district (nice mix of cafés, bars and shops) the area around the Albert Cuypmarket (bustling, Wusel, Wusel), Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerijk (lively neighborhood with lots of vintage Shops), the Vondelpark (very green, very beautiful, very many people), the well-known I-Amsterdam -Lettering at the Museumsplein (even more people), the Anne Frank House (we really liked it on our first visit a few years ago) and last but not least: the red light district.

Visit the latter is mentioned in every guidebook almost required. In our eyes, the red-light district is nothing more than a more or less spectacular photo motif for the Japanese tour groups equipped with professional Nikon cameras. It is strange to walk through the narrow streets and to see men and women photographing the ladies in the shop windows. The red light district looks staged, arranged, like a sight. Well, it’s a sight. But we don’t mean that in a positive way. It’s nicer, quieter, more pleasant at night in the canal belt. You can’t ignore the red light district, it’s still there in your mind. Every now and then you have to fade out the strange, but the unhappy faces of the young women are still there. In our heads. Out of sight out of mind. And then we think back to our Amsterdam, pick out the best. After all, sometimes you have to be selfish. Now we are selfish. We love our Amsterdam: the one where we only meet friendly people and where the sun shines all day long. We are aware that everyday life looks different. And yet travel can only ever touch a part of everyday life. Our excerpt from Amsterdam was great!

2013Have you ever been to Amsterdam? 20132013We look forward to your tips and comments!