The Amsterdam Experience

Amsterdam is like Disneyland. I don’t mean that there are rides and Disney characters everywhere. Although, if you find a good enough coffee shop I’m sure they could make that happen. 

I mean that the city itself felt like a dream. I have been dying to visit Amsterdam ever since I moved to Europe, but this was a place I did not want to go on my own. Everyone that told me about their experience in Amsterdam shared that it would be much better experienced with others. So, I waited and waited until finally, my boyfriend flew over to visit me in London and agreed to spend the weekend in Amsterdam!

I knew that this was going to be the perfect chance to bring my Sign along and hear some travel stories! Now, if you remember, I am too chicken to hold up the sign alone in an unfamiliar location. In FranceI was working and alone with two children, so I chickened out and settled with better safe than sorry. In BratislavaI was violently ill and only managed to hold the sign up in the hotel bed for a quick photo. So, my chance finally came to hold up my sign when I was with my boyfriend in Amsterdam!

We arrived on a sunny, Friday afternoon to the heart of Amsterdam city. The Airbnb we booked was on the outskirts in a town called Zaandam. Honestly, this was such a great decision on our part. The hosts were absolutely lovely! They provided us with bikes that we were able to use to ride to Zaanse Schans (so freaking beautiful!). It was so lovely to be able to get out of the city at the end of the day to a quiet, beautiful, genuine town in the Netherlands. Check out Laura and Angelo’s cosy house in Zaandam here: https://abnb.me/rGzb84lSQV

Another great decision on our part was booking our first Airbnb Experience! I had always seen the option of the Experiences versus the Homes, but it wasn’t until I was planning our weekend to Amsterdam that I finally clicked on it. Boom! Three minutes later I had booked our first experience on a canal tour boat. We would tour the canal’s of Amsterdam for two hours with all we could drink wine and beer. Literal heaven. It was advertised as a cosy and intimate experience with no more than ten others. And that’s when the idea hit me. My sign! This would be the absolute perfect chance to hold it up and hear the traveler’s stories!

The nerves started hitting me about thirty minutes before it was time for our boat experience. Would the others just laugh at me? Would they even have a story to tell? What if they thought this whole blog idea was stupid? What if I made a fool of myself and then had to sit on a boat with them for the next two hours? What if they only had red wine and not white?!

Thankfully, my boyfriend is the complete opposite of me when it comes to anxiety. He’s chill. Don’t get me wrong, I can be chill. But I am definitely not chill right before I’m about to hold up a sign in a new city while trapped on a boat with strangers. He was chill though and reassured me that all would be fine and he’d be there to take photos no matter what. He knows the way to my heart!

We ended up finding the boat earlier than expected and were the first one’s there to meet with the captain! Sjoerd was this lovely man that welcomed us with open arms and a bucket of alcohol. Since we were the first one’s on board, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for a photo shoot with the sign. Thanks, Luke. You’re the best photographer a girl could ask for. I explained my blog to Sjoerd and asked if it was alright if I asked the other’s to tell me stories during our trip. He was incredibly supportive and let me know that he would have some great stories to tell as well!

The first one’s to join us on board were a lovely couple from Germany. They were so dang adorable! It was the girl’s birthday and they had come to Amsterdam to celebrate for the weekend. We got to chatting and drinking and waiting for the other strangers to arrive. I held off on the sign at this point. I whispered to Luke and asked if he thought it’d be better to wait with the sign or just jump to it, and he agreed that waiting and testing the waters was the best approach. So, I waited!

There were a couple sisters from Seattle, their friend from the Netherlands, and two Italian girls that came right at the last minute! Everyone was very friendly with each other and excited to get the experience started. I highly recommend doing a tour of the Amsterdam canals! It was absolutely incredible. I definitely killed my camera battery with all the photos I took, but it was worth it. Sjoerd did a remarkable job with his tour and I highly recommend it for those visiting Amsterdam. The price you pay for the huge canal tour companies is not worth it. This Airbnb Experience had such a better value. You can find the tour here: https://abnb.me/E35AmplVQV

The time was coming to ask for stories and I was stumped with how to transition into it. Luke and I whispered about who we thought would be the easiest to ask. He thought the Germans, and I thought the Americans. I nudged him and said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” I asked them about their study abroad experiences and smoothly questioned if they had any interesting stories to tell, “because I have a blog!” I said a bit too excitedly. This got everyone’s attention. I reached for my sign and started to explain.

The reactions of other’s always surprise me. I always expect the worst to happen. These strangers on this boat experience in Amsterdam were so excited for me! The support that they showed me was incredible and I felt so proud of myself for being brave and starting this journey. The two sisters from Seattle chatted amongst themselves for a bit and came up with such a great story about their time in Greece! Sjoerd also had quite a funny story to tell. There was also a story told about a 21st birthday spent alone in the middle of nowhere Norway with huskies!

All in all, the Amsterdam sign experience was a success. I cannot wait to share these stories with you! 

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  1. Tina

    April 17, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Caro, you seem like such a sweet and bubbly person and I love how your personality shines through your words on this blog! I’m so happy you had fun in Amsterdam, and that you keep facing your ‘fear’ by asking people for their stories. I wish I was half as brave as you! Can’t wait to read the stories 😀 xx Tina

  2. Ashlea

    May 1, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    What an amazing idea, wish I’d thought of it 🙂 ! Good for you for facing your fears and actually doing it too, sometimes just finding that icebreaker is so hard! (I would be totally chicken). Love the way you post it written, very genuine with good amounts story, humour and info! Following your blog now to hear these great stories you’re going to hear!

    1. admin

      May 2, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks girl! That really means a lot. Let me know if you have any good stories to tell 🙂

  3. Erik the Hungry Traveller

    May 13, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Great avenue to face your fears! Amsterdam is on my bucket list. And your post made me even more excited to visit the place

  4. Sinjana Ghosh

    May 13, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    That’s such a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to hear all those stories. The Dutch are so friendly.

  5. Brett

    May 13, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Amsterdam looks amazing. One day I will make it there, definitely worth seeing. I would like to go in May to see the tulip fields.

  6. Bianca

    May 13, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Such a cool I idea. Your pictures really make miss Amsterdam. I am about to go out on a solo trip in about a month. I may actually still your idea of the sign. Its such a great little conversation starter.

  7. Elizabeth

    May 13, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    What a fun story! The Netherlands seems like such a friendly place- can’t wait to visit with our boys someday. Maybe we’ll end up with a fun story of our own!

  8. Lisa

    May 14, 2019 at 10:38 am

    What a unique and brave idea! It shows you that you can always speak to people when traveling, we just don’t do it as much.

  9. SuBhaSun

    May 14, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Ahana! I found this idea of yours brilliant. If someone charming like you would be asking strangers with a cute smile on her face for their story…there is no chance of escape from it. Lol! 😉❤️

  10. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits

    May 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Personally, I have been dying to visit Amsterdam as well, but since I’m struggling with my Visa to get here, then it didn’t happen up until at present. Anyway, you seemed to really enjoy your visit in Amsterdam, and having your first AirBnb experience is truly amazing. I would love to try the boat canal tour if I get the chance to visit here soon. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing experience in Amsterdam.

  11. Caro

    May 14, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    Hello I love this post!

  12. pujarini

    May 15, 2019 at 7:24 am

    Wow! You seem to have had a wonderful time in Amsterdam. The boat canal tour is definitely one of the best experiences there.

  13. Mirela | The Travel Bunny

    May 15, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Oh, I need that sign! I’m always asking my fiance to tell me a story before I go to sleep (yes, even if we’re over 30). He doesn’t always comply, but having a sign like that on my nightstand would set some expectations.

  14. Renata - www.byemyself.com

    May 15, 2019 at 8:40 am

    When travelling Europe, I often think that for US-Americans it must be a bit like Disney World – since many of the things that here are ‘real’ are copied there. Guess we Europeans are lucky to spend our life in a themepark 😉

  15. Cath - Passports and Adventures

    May 15, 2019 at 10:24 am

    This is such a cool idea for a blog series. I think once you get over that initial fear and shyness with the sign you’ll be more confident taking it out. Similar thing happened with my son’s flight logbook. I was embarrassed to be asking the cabin crew to take it to the captain, now it’s part of our boarding routine.

  16. Bernie

    May 15, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    This is such a wonderful way to engage with fellow travelers on the road. So many people have fabulous experiences and are excited to share them. So your sign will open so many doors, and I am glad you had the courage to use it. Now – what did the boatman tell you?

    1. admin

      May 16, 2019 at 1:00 am

      It’s been so fun so far!! The boatman told me a great story 🙂 if you go to my stories page you can check out his tale!

  17. umiko

    May 15, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    This is a nice idea for making conversation with others. I’m still doing it every time we go somewhere. But normally I just talked directly to people that for me looked like they wanted to talk. You’ll be amazed to see how people are actually still like to talk.

  18. Amandeep Kaur @ Light Travel Action

    May 16, 2019 at 3:19 am

    I really loved reading this post of yours. The idea of Sign for ‘Tell me a story’ is so interesting. We all have stories inside us waiting to be shared but often our inhibitions stop us from opening up. I am sure you must have heard so many stories from strangers by now. You appear to be a very sweet and approachable person. If I ever get to visit Amsterdam, will go for boat canal tour for sure.

  19. Rahat Arora

    May 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Amsterdam is at top 5 places on my bucket list and your post made me curious to visit this place soon. Very nice post

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