I Amsterdam..

I have always wanted to visit Europe. Truth be told the continent has always fascinated me. And even for the reluctant traveler in me, Europe has been right up there in my must visit list, and it still is. Opportunity presented itself in the form of a work assignment for S in Germany this year and I grabbed it with both hands. I followed him there within 2 months of his posting and we traveled, whenever possible, to tick places of interest off my wish list.

Amsterdam was one, which I must admit, we almost missed out on due to dollops of lethargy that we have in abundance as a couple. But fortunately better sense prevailed and we hopped on an ICE that whizzed us away to the Venice of the North.

Beautiful. Mesmerizing. Magical. I don’t really know what adjectives I need to use to describe it. All I can say is that as we walked through the streets and cruised through the canals we fell in love with the city.

The first thing we did after reaching Amsterdam was a cruise through the canals. Tulips everywhere, it was the end of April and I loved it. As the boat maneuvered through waterways lined with boathouses, I couldn't help but wish to live in one. We were there only for a day with our return tickets booked for that very night. So with no time to spare we set off on our journey to discover Amsterdam.

We squeezed in Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Rembrandt House Museum, and the Red Light District, Heineken Experience, Science Centre NEMO and toured the streets lined with beautiful houses and canals in one day. Not too bad I must say. Of-course, we missed out on Keukenhof, which was disappointing. But then there’s always a next time, right?

I think, for me, Amsterdam was all about its waterways. The canal cruises to be specific. At one point I remember the boat facing a number of bridges, all in a single line. It was as if the bridges aligned, all together in a queue, to greet the tourists. If I remember correctly we had taken the Blue Boat tours just after reaching since it was raining. This was the perfect way to begin, see the highlights, even those we wouldn't have time for later on in the day. It helped us gain some perspective about the city, especially since we were there just for a day. It helped us see every tourist attraction on the map at a glance and then decide how to go about exploring the city for the rest of the day.

Given a chance I’d go there again. There’s something alluring about Amsterdam that stays with you for a long, long time. And I must say, if you have the chance, do go and explore this beautiful European gem of a city. Trust me it will be truly worth it because for me it totally was.