Staycation: Amsterdam and More…

I became friends with people from all over the world, while I lived in New York. Some of them were planning on staying in the States for years and others, like myself, were only there for a couple of weeks or months. I spend these incredibly special months with them, but when I left I didn’t know if I’d ever see them again. So, when my friend from Sweden told me she wanted to visit me, I was super excited. She booked her ticket and arrived in Amsterdam a week later.

Friday May 12th 2017

At 8AM, I saw my friend at the airport. We greeted each other with a long hug. It was amazing to see her again and also a little strange, because we were in such a different setting than in New York. We had never even been to each other’s place there and now we were going to spend a long weekend together.

After dropping off her luggage at my place, we took the train to Amsterdam. We walked across Museumplein to the Rijksmuseum. Of course, we had to see Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Even though I live in The Netherlands, I had never been to the Rijksmuseum. Or most of the places we visited to be honest. Later, we went to Dam Square and the Royal Palace (one of the few places I had been to before), before going to the Anne Frank House. For which you apparently need to get tickets a few months in advance, which we obviously hadn’t done. So, we had to wait in line an hour and a half to get in. It was strange to see where she and her family had lived and where she had written her famous diary.

We ended the day on a happier note at a typical Dutch pancake house. A friend of mine from school met us there and we had a great time eating pancakes and talking.

Saturday May 13th 2017

Every Saturday, there is a market in Leiden. Stands, selling all different kinds of things line the canal. You can get fruit and vegetables, fish, cheese, flowers and more. It’s always super busy. I go there almost every weekend, so I really wanted to take my friend there. We got “kibbeling”, which is fried cod, it’s a Dutch snack.

Next, we went to Keukenhof; the famous Tulip Garden. We walked around for a couple of hours admiring all the different flowers and taking pictures. Some had weird names like Ice Cream. It was late in the season, so a lot of flowers had already started to wither, but there were still more than enough to see. We got another Dutch snack called a “stroopwafel”; a delicious caramel waffle cookie. Nothing beats a fresh hot stroopwafel! (Seriously, you can wake me for it in the middle of the night!)

Sunday May 14th 2017

On Sunday, we went to Rotterdam. Unfortunately, most places were closed, because of a soccer match. However, we did get to see the Cube Houses, the Old Harbor and the Erasmus Bridge. I really wanted to go to the Markthal, but it was closed. It would have been so cool walk around there and see all the different stands.

Monday May 15th 2017

We decided to go back to Amsterdam and go on a canal cruise. They told us about the history of Amsterdam and gave some fun facts about the city. Afterwards, we went to the Albert Cuyp street market, where we both got souvenirs and my friend got a lot of stroopwafels to take back to her family. Then we wanted to see the Red Light District, so we made our way there.

After going shopping for a bit on Kalverstraat, we came to the conclusion we were both exhausted and we went home.

On Tuesday May 16th (which is my birthday by the way), it was time for my friend to go home to Sweden. We had had a great time hanging out these few days. It was fun for me to finally see some places around the Netherlands I hadn’t seen yet and to be a tourist in my own country.

Love,

Merel

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