A Dam Good Trip

Some of my friends wanted to go to Amsterdam in the final days of the Easter holiday to experience King’s Day in the Dutch capital, giving me the perfect opportunity to go and live out all my Miniaturist dreams.

Amsterdam turned out to be just as interesting as I’d expected. With pretty streets book-ended by sex shops, overflowing tulips, and the smell of cannabis in the air, it’s such a beautiful and chaotic place.

Travelling to Amsterdam from Mannheim only takes around six hours via train so we got there quite quickly, and we’d booked a six-bed room in an A&O hostel which was perfect for our group.

The trip got off to an interesting start with dinner at a bizarre restaurant called Burger Bitch and a disastrous attempt at a photo shoot with some Amsterdam letters we’d found near our hostel.

We woke up early on Friday and spent the whole day exploring Amsterdam. From the Rijksmuseum to the Cannabis Museum, we walked past tonnes of museums as well as lots of canals and cute buildings that reminded me of cardboard cut-outs.

There were hundreds of souvenir shops selling an overwhelming selection of every type of souvenir you could ever want, usually adorned with a cannabis leaf, windmill, or bicycle. However, my personal favourites were the wooden clog souvenirs, I thought they were adorable.

One of the things I wanted to do in Amsterdam was to see tulips, and that wasn’t hard at the Bloemenmarkt, the city’s famous flower market.  

We also went in a few small pubs which were really cute, it felt sort of like we’d stepped back in time.  I tried a Dutch beer called Grolsch and although I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste, I enjoyed the Dutch experience.

One thing I did enjoy the taste of was the vegan burger I had for dinner. We went to an amazing vegan place called the Vegan Junk Food Bar where I had the best burger I’ve ever tasted. The faux-meat burger was realistic, the vegan cheese was so good, and the chips were perfect. We also got to sit outside in the sunshine which was lovely. 

Saturday was King’s Day, a national holiday in the Netherlands which celebrates the birthday of the king. Everyone wears orange, which is the national colour; in Dutch they call it Oranjegekte which translates to “orange craze”. We’d all bought orange shirts in preparation for our Amsterdam trip and on Friday we bought orange garlands and feather boas to make ourselves even more festive.

King’s Day in Amsterdam was really an experience. There were parties taking place all over the city, they even stop public transport for the occasion. There were masses of people celebrating; the crowds were crazy and all the pubs were packed.

Oranjegekte really had taken over; every street was festooned with tangerine decorations and looking for any of my friends in a crowd became a nightmare because everyone was dressed in similar gaudy orange garms.

It was mostly rainy, but we had so much fun just wandering and dancing and we were given free cardboard crowns by a Heineken man on a bicycle which made us look and feel even more festive.  

After checking out of our hostel on Sunday we didn’t have too long in the city centre before having to catch our train back to Mannheim. However, we still fitted in a vegan café called Vegabond, a pub, and sight-seeing at the oldest building in Amsterdam. In the vegan café I managed to score some vegan Stroopwafels and white chocolate Vego. I also bought a Dutch apple pie which was amazing. It was served with vegan Slagroom (it means whipped cream and was our favourite Dutch word) which was delicious.   

By half ten on Sunday night we were back in Mannheim, tired but so happy with our successful trip. We all loved Amsterdam and I for one have a new fondness for wooden clogs, Dutch apple pies, and the King of the Netherlands. Heel erg bedankt for a great time, Amsterdam.

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