Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
I only had a day and a half in Amsterdam and so I had to make the best of it. So, I thought I do something that I never do and that is to take a TOUR. I hate taking tours as I don't like to explore something according to someone else's pace, but here I though "what the heck". I took the famous FREE walking tour provided by Sandemans's New Europe company (www.newamsterdamtours.com) and it was probably the best thing that I could have done. It was a 3.5 hour walking tour through the streets of Amsterdam all the while teaching you the entire history of the city and the famous sites. Our tour guide (Basilio) was really cool, funny and extremely knowledgable in all things Amsterdam.
Most foreigners, when they think of Amsterdam, only think of legalized marijuana and prostitution. While those two things are great if you are into that kind of thing, it does not define the city and the people of Amsterdam but does give you an idea at the attitudes and the culture of the city. The people of Amsterdam are very nice, quiet, hard-working and have a very relaxed opinion on what others should and shouldn't do. Still it's funny how we had our tour at noon on a random weekday and we walked by a window of a prostitute who was already working at that hour and it was as if we walked by any regular store.
The great thing about the city is that just a few blocks out of the Red Light district (which is only a few blocks anyway), you see what "real" Amsterdam life is like. It is very peaceful and quiet. The only noice you might hear is the sound of a bicycle horn telling you to get out of its way. The tour guide took us to what he called "probably the best place to sit and people watch" at Spui Square. Here you can just sit there for hours sipping your coffee and watching all the people pass you by... a simple yet very fulfilling experience.
Unfortunately, I only had 1.