Well, I’m back in the U.S.A. I had a pretty fantastic two weeks in the Netherlands. My final days in Amsterdam are a bit of a blur, but not for the reason that some might suspect.
Mostly I was a bit too busy being a tourist there: Van Gogh Museum, markets (i.e. shopping), a bike ride through Amsterdam central/Red Light District, Rijkmuseum, boat tour, more cycling (guess which bike was mine while in Amsterdam ), walking, eating, beer… A gal can get tired!
But it was fun to experience the city. It certainly had a different feel from the (true) village of Wageningen. A lot more energy, more tourists, more canals. Less livestock…
Amsterdam isn’t as big as I expected. The population of the metropolitan area is ~2 million, but it doesn’t feel like that many people. It is certainly busier near the center of town, but if you bike just a few minutes outside the center it feels like a nice neighborhood. And you can easily bike all over Amsterdam in a relatively short amount of time. I covered quite a lot of ground in just the two + days that I was there…
I worried a bit that the canals would result in a stinky town (I’ve heard that about Venice, but I don’t know if it’s true (yet )). But Amsterdam is open, lovely, and the air is typically sweet with the smell of flowers. Window boxes like the one in the picture are quite common all over town.
A Netherlands native I met while breakfasting described Amsterdam as an international village. I really like that description. Amsterdam has so much diversity and history, yet it still maintains a small-town feel.
This trip has reinforced how important traveling is to me. There are so many things I learn every time I travel to a new place. This has been true for both international and domestic trips, and it has been true for lessons about myself and lessons about the place I travel to. I have been making strides in making travel a bigger priority in my life, and I’m already planning my next trip (anyone want to go to New Orleans over Yule break? ).
But I am still thoroughly thankful for the opportunity to go on this trip. All throughout it I had a strong feeling of being on the right path… And it feels really good to feel that way when you are thousands of miles from where you live and from your comfort zone.
Here’s to living and traveling daringly!