Quick Lay Over in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 1 of 7 › view all entries
The beginning of spring can only mean one thing for me; time for a trip. By this time the chill of New York City is getting to me and I need to get out of the stifling city. My friend Noah and I are usually on the same page for travel, but I don’t think that Prague was really ever on his top ten list let alone top 25. Over the past few years when I would ask people who travel what their favorite destinations were in the world, Prague appeared on many of their lists. You can’t ignore a trend after a while. I did some research and asked Noah what he thought; he is an easy sell and agreed to go.
So, we quickly planned the trip and bought the tickets and booked the hotel. While in the Czech Republic, we had decided to go on a few side trips, as well; Amsterdam, Kutna Hora and Dresden, Germany.
Let me just say that the flight was not smooth sailing. We met at 34th street to catch the PATH train that would take us Newark. I am not a fan of Newark as it is out of the way for me; I‘m a JFK girl. Because of this I do not know how to get to Newark and blindly followed Noah. While trying to get onto the PATH train a not very nice woman pushed her way in front of me while I was trying to get my suitcase on and the PATH operator closed the door while a quarter of us were still trying to get on. So, of course I got separated. Long story short, Noah and I were eventually reunited and by the time we got to the airport we had about 45 minutes to check in and go through security for an INTERNATIONAL flight.
Before getting to Prague we had a long layover in Amsterdam giving us three hours to see the city. There was no way I was going to be holed up in the airport, but let me say that three hours is not enough in Amsterdam. It is a unique city and must be seen the right way, not just for a few hours, so please understand that this is not a true overview of Amsterdam and you should spend a few days here at least. I will for sure one day!
The train from the airport to the city center takes about 20 minutes and is very easy to access.
Amsterdam has a very different feel from any other city I have been too. First off, it isn’t a flashy city with lots of tall skyscrapers and with newly designed buildings. It is has a very small town feel yet it is a decently sized city. Many of the buildings are made of brick and are row houses. Also, there are tons of bridges throughout the city which means there is water everywhere. I loved Amsterdam’s charm immediately, it really is very beautiful!
The other thing I noticed was that there are hardly any cars being driven, but there are plenty of bicycles.
I did notice that due to the activity of the people, everyone was extremely svelte as well. I didn’t get to hang around the city and its inhabitants long enough, but I will say that I felt a tiny in comparison to the people of Amsterdam. Noah is 6’2 he was fine, but me, I just seemed to disappear.
Due to our time constraint, we decided to walk around the streets and take in the city. During our walk we came upon a bakery down a narrow bricked alleyway. The baked goods looked amazing and the owner encouraged us to come in and see them up close when he saw us eyeing them. We each picked out an item while he explained that he made everything by hand and was up by 3:30AM almost everyday. I didn’t think it was possible, but the baked goods tasted even better than they looked and they were gorgeous.
Even though we were there for only a short time we were struck by how friendly everyone was. That and that everyone spoke English almost perfectly, which put us at ease. When I travel I like to learn key phrases to get by but our stop was so quick we didn’t get to learn a lot.
In three hours we got what we could out of the experience and even accidently went near the red light district though we did not partake in any of the “fun.” We also, did a drive by of Anne Frank’s hideout where you can take a tour. I have to say I was disappointed I didn’t get to see this, as I have heard it is a very moving experience.
I have to say that Amsterdam is an amazing city from what I could tell and needs more love than a layover. I hope to go back in the near future and enjoy more of it as my sneak peek left me wanting more. It truly is gorgeous!