One Day in Amsterdam - Part I

Some time has passed since my last post. I intended to upload this sooner, however I didn’t find the time to do so, like always. I should stop starting every blog post like this.

Two months ago a friend and I decided spontaneously to go on a day trip to Amsterdam. The last months before that were really busy  and exhausting because of exams and essays. I didn’t have the chance to go on vacation with my family last summer and I really miss travelling, even though we always go to the same destination in Spain. So I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy myself once in a while. It takes about two to three hours by bus from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam, depending on the traffic. It is pretty close since we live close to the border of the Netherlands. We booked a ticket to travel with the company ‚Flixbus‘, which is known for their cheaper prices. We considered taking the train to Amsterdam, but this would have been way too expensive. So we bought a ticket, which allowed us to take the bus to Amsterdam and return to Germany on the same day and paid about 45 Euro for it which is pretty cheap I think.
Of course we had to leave Düsseldorf pretty early. That way we would have had enough time to explore Amsterdam. The company always demands their passengers to be at the bus stop 15 minutes before the bus arrived, so they can depart on time.

I think I left my apartment at around 6 o’clock in the morning and it was raining. I hoped for a better weather in Amsterdam. Since it was so early in the morning, it was also the first time that I was alone in a tram. That situation doesn’t normally occur in a big city like Düsseldorf and it was a little bit strange.

Do you know that feeling that occurs, when you plan something with someone, that causes you to be afraid that something will happen which hinders one of you to come or which makes you have to cancel all your plans? I always get a little paranoid. While driving to the main station I looked at my phone and saw that my friend had called me and I thought that something had happened, since we usually never call each other, we just text. It turned out that she just pushed the wrong button. My friend and I were there on time, however the bus was running late and that really annoyed me because that meant that, we would have 1 hour less to spend in Amsterdam. Even if the company is known for their cheap prices, they certainly aren’t known for their punctuality. If you go on a one day trip, time is really precious.

The bus was already full of passengers when it arrived and we were lucky enough to get two seats, where we could sit next to each other. Unfortunately we were also sitting next to the toilet which was getting full on the way to Amsterdam, so one of the drivers had to clean it up. The smell was not pleasant and I avoided going to the toilet on the bus. So I waited until we reached the station in Amsterdam.
When we finally arrived there, we had to ask for a way to get to the city first. The guy at the information center was really nice and helped us to find the optimal way. We had the possibility to get to the center by train and drive there around by tram. However we decided to buy a ticket, which cost about 5 Euro, only to get to the center of the city and back, since we thought that we would see more of the city if we went by foot.

If I remember correctly, it takes about 10- 15 min to get to the center. The main station in Amsterdam looks very impressive once you see the exterior. The architecture is really beautiful. Overall, Amsterdam is a city full of amazing architecture and buildings.

We had set two goals beforehand for that day and we intended to see at least two destinations. The famous flower market and the Albert Cuyp Market. I downloaded a free app a few days before with a map of the city, so that we wouldn’t get lost.

However, the city is so big, that we didn’t even know in which direction to go first, so we asked two people who looked like they knew the city. We thought that they worked at the station, but they were people you often see on the streets trying to teach people about Jesus and God. They were nice and showed us the direction we should go to find the flower market. There was much to see on the way and I didn’t know where to look first.

Since the Netherlands are famous for their tulips, almost every small souvenir shop sold tulips bulbs. I didn’t know that they were known for their cheese, too, because every once in a while you could see cheese shops here and there and they all looked the same. It took us quite a while to get to the  flower market because we were distracted by a lot of things that we wanted to take photos of. I was looking for blossoming tulips because I didn’t want to leave Amsterdam without taking at least several photos of those.

We spent some time at some large flowerpots full of tulips and then took interest in a building on the other side of the street.

We wished the weather was better, because photos look so much better with a blue sky as a background. Since the city was too big, it was necessary to ask for directions again and my friend went looking for someone who was not a tourist (which is a bit difficult, because almost everyone looked like a tourist).

While I was still busy taking photos, I suddenly was approached by a group of girls. One of them was holding a camera and was trying to say something to me. It wasn’t English, I think, because I didn’t understand what she was telling me and I thought that they were asking me to take a photo of them. I then comprehended that they wanted to take a picture with me and I was quite surprised and just agreed. Until now I don’t know why they wanted to take a photo with me. Maybe they mistook me for someone else, but I wouldn’t know for who. My friend didn’t notice any of all those things happening since she was too busy herself. When she came back to me, I told her what just happened while she left me alone. She also couldn’t come up with an explanation. It was really bizarre. If it has been a comic scene, you probably would have been able to see question marks popping up above my head.
Putting that aside, we went on searching for the flower market and just went straight, passing through the city as the people told us to.

Since we were in the center of the city of course we saw all the mainstream stores, you can see in every big city.

In between, there was a sweets store and we went in there for a few minutes. We just wanted to take some photos, but then we also considered buying some sweets, because the Netherlands seem to be famous for their sweets, too.

They even sold Japanese sweets, which were even more expensive than in Germany.

Yet we wanted to go on and either find another store to do some sweets-shopping or come back later to this shop to do that. We noticed later that that was the wrong decision, because we neither passed by another store nor did we have the time to look for that particular store again. One lesson we learnt during that trip is to buy the things you see and want immediately because you probably won’t have the chance to do that later during the day.
Since we went by foot, it took us a while to reach the flower market, but every step was worth it. That way we could see so much of the overwhelming city.

I felt like Amsterdam has the most beautiful flowers. The flower market consists of a street with many different stalls set up next to each other, selling all kinds of beautiful flowers. I really enjoyed it there because it gave me the opportunity to take many photos of colorful flowers.

Even though the flowers were just arranged in simple flower bouquets, it still looked much more astonishing than the flowers I see being sold here in Germany. The flowers were remarkable, not one flower was withered.

They all looked so flawless, I wished I could have bought some for my mother.

They even sold such colorful cacti I didn’t even know existed. I had a lot of fun taking photos of those. When we saw another cheese shop again, we decided to take a closer look at the things they were selling. They had many different kinds of coloured cheeses with all kinds of flavours you wouldn’t normally see in a normal cheese shop or a supermarket.

It also seemed that the people there eat those with mustard because the shop was also selling little jars of different flavoured mustard which I found interesting.

I then decided to buy some for my parents as a souvenir since they like to eat mustard, unlike me.

Another thing I regretted not buying were these Stroopwafels in a package. They are so delicious, I wished I would have gotten several of those.