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The charm of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most famous cities in the world. It is a stop on almost every “grand tour” of Western Europe and has a lot to offer tourists. I found, however, that upon spending a few days in Amsterdam the real joy of the city is to simply be. There are so many hidden scenes waiting around the next corner that eventually, walking around (or biking) takes precedence over seeing the tourist sites. The Anne Frank House, markets, canals and museums are world class, but the daily life is what really sets this city apart as a destination where I could really spend a lot of time.

While the Dutch are not known internationally for their cuisine, the onset of a more globalized world has meant that more diverse flavors are creeping into restaurants in Amsterdam. The six days I had in Amsterdam were filled with great restaurants, highlighted by a delicious three course meal shared with my good friends Megan and Alfred who made the trip from Frankfurt, Germany to spend a few days with me in Amsterdam.  Accompanied by a great bottle of Austrian wine, the meal started off by a delicious starter of a whole roasted artichoke, was followed up by perfectly cooked duck and was finished off with a delicious vanilla ice cream sundae with raspberries, peaches and chocolate.  The food was refreshing, modern, pleasing to eat, stylishly presented and consumed with friends, in short, a perfect encapsulation of Amsterdam.

The other highlights of Amsterdam presented themselves in unexpected places.  The unique shop tucked in a stretch of residential buildings, the cafe with fantastic views of the canals, the quiet neighborhood and the delicious snacks found in a convenience store.  This was the most time I have spent in the land of my ancestors.  The more time I spent there the more I wanted to stay, finding the hidden charms, enjoying just being in this great place.

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