After an amazing couple of weeks in Germany, my next stop was Amsterdam to visit more friends that I met in Thailand. Maikel kindly opened his doors for me and allowed me to stay the week with him and explore the Netherlands. The first day I arrived from Germany, we headed to Kinderdijk which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases 19 windmills that were built in the 17th century. It was interesting to walk around this small town, where people still live in these ancient windmills and learn about this town and why it is so famous in the Netherlands. These windmills were also no joke, Maikel and I went into one of them and they have a fully functioning kitchen and a couple bedrooms in there.
That night after exploring the oldest windmills in the Netherlands, we headed out to all you can eat sushi with a friend from Thailand, Rody and their friend Ricky. I completely overestimated myself and ate way too much sushi for my own good so I was not feeling too hot when we left the restaurant.
The next day, we drove into Amsterdam to explore the town. Of course we did all the touristy attractions like the red light district, admire the beauty of the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum and relax in the Vondelpark. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get tickets in advanced for the Anne Frank house so I will have to come back to Amsterdam again! While walking around all of the canal ways in Amsterdam, it was beautiful to see the houses lining the canals and how beautiful the architecture is. Unfortunately, the houses were all slanted due to the fact of poor construction 300 years ago. The houses were built onto of wooden poles in wet soil to avoid the houses from sinking into the ground. Every now and then, construction workers have to check the foundation of these houses to make sure they aren’t sinking too deep into the earth! We also explored some of the coffeeshops (aka where you can buy marijuana and other edibles). It was crazy for me walking around the streets and smelling marijuana down every alley! I may or may not have tried some while I was there…
That evening we went out to a couple bars around the town where Maikel is from. I enjoyed the music they played in their bars and clubs and had a wonderful time meeting some of Maikel and Rick’s friends! Safe to say, the next day we layed low and went to the gym and watched many movies. It was nice to finally have a relaxing day after the month I spent in Germany. It was also nice to catch up on some movies that have been released recently.
The next day since it was beautiful outside, Maikel and I went to Giethoorn to rent a boat and go explore the different canals in northern Netherlands. The views of the houses and the canals were gorgeous….up until it started POURING on us. We did not have any idea that it would be raining that day so we got absolutely drenched in the middle of nowhere. We still had another hour until we reached the boating rental agency so we just embraced mother nature and had a blast in the torrential downpour!
After getting home and showering the rainwater off, we headed into the city to experience the Heineken Tour with Rick and Rody! This was one of my favorite tours that we did in Amsterdam because I learned so much about the brewing process and obviously got a couple samples to try out. I specifically enjoyed this tour because it allowed me to learn the history of the Netherlands, sports history and of course about how Heineken started. It was also a very interactive tour that was self-guided so there was no need to stay with a tour guide for an extended period of time. If anyone is heading to Amsterdam soon, I would highly recommend this tour!
Before leaving for Greece the next day, Maikel and I went to the park to ride bikes and get a good workout in….especially considering I needed to be in a bathing suit for Greece, I was trying to still look semi decent! The past week in the Netherlands with old friends and new friends was perfect and Maikel really showed me around the whole country rather than just Amsterdam. Maikel, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me a place to stay and being the best tour guide ever – you are the real winner!