"The World Spins in Circles" Amsterdam by acemj
Amsterdam Travel Guide: 10,233 reviews and 21,443 photos
There is something mesmerizing about the concentric canals of Amsterdam. As you stroll along their edges, you almost feel as if you are being pulled into the city itself, as if you are slowly becoming a part of it. While it is certainly not the most authentically Dutch city in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is undoubtedly charming. The tacky souvenir stores selling mini windmills and wooden shoes do nothing to diminish the smell of aged Gouda in the air. Turn down another street and you'll smell tulips, hear the splash of the canals and see impressive surviving examples of the Golden Age of architecture.
Amsterdam is very accessible as are its citizens. The inescapable sight of locals biking around make it feel like a big neighborhood and not a big city. I'd recommend walking as much as possible in order to really soak up the atmosphere. Distances are not too great and there's always something interesting to see along the way.
Amsterdam is well-known for its sex and drugs and for attracting the grungy, backpacking crowds that only barely resemble the hippies that once made it the capital of European Free Love. The city is still known for being very liberal and accepting toward tourists seeking these kinds of enticements, but what I noticed more than that, was the cosmopolitan nature of the place. The city is at once small, walkable and charming and at the same time is extremely educated, multilingual, and global in perspective. It's hard to run into too many people who don't speak English and there are great ethnic restaurants all around town. Historical preservation efforts have made many of the old buildings glow again and the local business community is attracting investments from all over the world. In short, things are happening in Amsterdam and visiting really made me feel like I was a part of a city that has really hit its stride . . . or I should say, a city whose wheels are always spinning.
Make sure you bring a rain jacket and comfortable shoes for walking since Amsterdam is easy to explore on foot and the... more travel advice
Make sure you try a Pannekoeken, which is the Dutch version of a pancake. It's actually more like a French crepe, except... more travel advice
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