Student Blogs/Sarah Jane in France

As the author of The Fault In Our Stars John Green famously said…

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”

I was given the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands for four days during reading week with two of my friends from New York City. Surprisingly, this is the first place I have traveled to outside of Paris (considering I have been here since September) as I wanted to familiarize myself first with Paris and its suburbs.

Words don’t do justice when speaking about the aesthetics of Amsterdam with its famous cobblestone streets, cheese tasting tours and aged infrastructure. They all bring a sense of community and belonging to this city, as well as the Red Light District.

Here are a few things I highly recommend doing when visiting this alluring city!

Food Tours

a counter of macarons and cake slices

Dutch bakery

When it comes to cheese tasting tours, I highly recommend pursuing this on your own. When you walk the streets of Amsterdam, you’ll realize that on the corner of every intersection, you will find an artisanal cheese store named Henri Willig.

Every store has the same cheese but 90% of the cheeses have samples in front of them. In addition to cheese tasting, you must visit Tony’s Chocolonely. Focusing on sustainable, fair trade practices, Tony’s also gives you the opportunity to make your own chocolate bar with the packaging personalized with your name. They also have all their chocolate bars open for tasting, so come on an empty stomach.

Snap A Photo At The Famous Wall

Of course, this is a must for Instagram because if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen right?!

The location is nestled between narrow streets where the traffic is limited, making it the perfect, quiet, destination for snapping those photos.

Sarah Jane sitting on a bench in front of a sign that says "Wake Me Up When I’m Famous"

Wake Me Up When I’m Famous

Visit Town Square – Dam Square.

Dam Square is where the free walking tours meet-ups are (which are highly recommended as well as you see the entire city within a day).

The shopping is great, including the trendy Magna Plaza, as well as the historical sights such as the Royal Palace (Koninklijk Palace), Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), and the Amsterdam Diamond Centre.

In summary, the city is always bustling and the locals are extremely kind and passionate towards tourists, making Amsterdam the city to see. Additionally, I found that four days and three nights was plenty of time to see the entire city (some places more than once).

Sarah Jane in front of Dam Square

Dam Square

A few things to keep in mind when visiting Amsterdam…

  1. The “free walking tours” you find online with the meet-ups at Dam Square are not “free”. The tour guides will mention either at the beginning or the middle of the tour that if you are satisfied with the tour and you think the tour guide did an exceptional job, €10-15 is expected as a tip. If you don’t pay, they will pressure you at the end of the tour.
  2. Try the famous Dutch delicacy, pickled herring. Although I didn’t love it, it is a must try. Additionally, their stroopwafels are to die for!
  3. Last but not least, for transportation in Amsterdam I recommend purchasing the GVB metro pass. For three days, the price is €19.00; whereas, the price for four days is only €24.50.

Sarah Jane is a third-year BIB student studying abroad in France.

Thursday, March 28, 2019 in , ,
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