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 France, I was working and alone with two children, so I chickened out and settled with better safe than sorry. In Bratislava, I 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!