As you probably already realized, I’ve spent most of this week in Amsterdam, Netherlands. And as some of you already know, that was my ever second trip to that European city. My first time was back in April of 2008, and I’ve blogged plenty about it – have a look at the Amsterdam tag archives of this site.
Both trips were just for a few days. Both were for a professional event – a conference and a training. Both were roughly the same time of the year – late March and early April. Both, I’ve enjoyed a great deal. That’s pretty much where the similarities about them end, and the differences begin.
My first trip was paid by the company I was working for. I stayed in a really awesome Movenpick Hotel. And I spent most of my free time walking east of it. That was enough for me to like Amsterdam city, but not enough to actually feel it.
Well, this time, it was quite different. I stayed in a cheap hotel, right next to all the tourist attractions, with crowds of people moving between bars, coffee shops, and food joints. My room was smaller than most people bathrooms, and it was tricky to find in, what I understand to be, a traditional Amsterdam house. I’ve also took the opportunity to boat around a few of the famous channels, learn a thing or two about the history of the place, and visit one of the many museums. Also, as part of both my training seminars and after, I had the opportunity to converse with a few locals. All that combined gave a much better feeling of Amsterdam than my last trip.
I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot. I like Amsterdam even more now and I definitely want to come back. I’ll never be able to live there, for a variety of factors, but I know now how to enjoy an occasional visit.
If I had to pick three memories from this trip, they would be:
- Making my way through the labyrinth of the Beursstraat Hotel, trying to find my room. In reality it probably took about five minutes, but it triggered such a massive train of thought and association, that I’m sure it’ll be with me for a while.
- Thursday snow. The two days before it was very windy and cold. But on Thursday the wind calmed down and it started snowing around lunch time. I was in the room with no windows for the most part of the day, so it was quite a surprise when I stepped outside. Large snow flakes, calmly falling down and melting immediately on the ground. With no wind, it wasn’t that cold no more. So it was quite magical. Something I haven’t seen in a long long time.
- Atmosphere at the bar of the Hotel Internationaal. It was cozy, yet energetic and fun at the same time. I’ve met a few good people, and enjoyed an almost unhealthy amount of Guinness there. It was so good that I spent not one, but two evenings there. I’ve also got a new nickname, which haven’t happened to me in a long time. They called me “Tiny”. :)