Yesterday, I woke up and started walking and I never really stopped. On my way to the Metro station, I decided not to look at Google Maps and just enjoy my surroundings. I came to this green pathway with the woods surrounding it—you could say I was enchanted. How is it possible that just steps away from my hostel, I found this hidden treasure? At the end of the path, I luckily got right to the Metro and even made a local friend. Nevayo was born and raised in the Netherlands and he loves where he is from. He said that people here are indeed always as happy as I have perceived.

He showed me the Dam, or the popular city square, which includes the magnificent Koninklijk Palais (Royal Palace). Once we separated, I decided to make my way (somehow) to the Rijksmuseum which features Rembrandt’s masterpieces. Paris and Amsterdam share this exhibition and it will be available here for just another week. I started getting hungry and saw the Kaaskelder which sells all sorts of Dutch cheeses. I picked up a to go pack of goudas with honey mustard. One of the cheeses in the pack was green with a basil pesto flavor. It was delicious!

Then, I stayed my course to the Rijksmuseum just soaking up all of Amsterdam’s charm. Full of canals, bridges, architectural splendor, and more galleries than I have ever seen, Amsterdam is quickly becoming my favorite city. Everyone here has a bike and cars are scarce; what a relief this must be! It is a city with A LOT of people for its size. If your feet get tired, you are not likely to find anywhere to sit. This city captivates many of your senses, but for me it’s the smell that surprises the most. As you walk through the city’s center, a new corner turns out to be just another magnetic fragrance. Not only is Amsterdam just drowning in everything that’s gorgeous, aside from the occasional poorly kept toilet, one should not get whiffs of anything unpleasant!

I was instantaneously blown away by the grandness of the Rijksmuseum. On the way to get the tickets, classical music bellowed in my ears. Unfortunately, the museum was only open for just a couple more hours and I decided to see the Stedelijk Museum instead. Although I enjoyed seeing some more contemporary art, I felt more immersed in art at the Tate Modern in London.

I will say now that I went out with my friend Joe and I have never partied my ass off like I did last night in Amsterdam. He showed me the Red Light District and that was quite the experience… A place like Amsterdam actually exists… As you walk past the area, a half-naked woman appears door to door to door and the strip goes on for ages. Joe lamented over the legality of this sort of thing, but I’m under the impression that people should do whatever they want with their lives.

Anyways, we started the night at a bar that I cannot remember the place of for the life of me. It was an adorable little spot if not considering the creepy man that sat next to us. He would not stop talking about liquor… I mean he would not stop talking at all! Once we said we were leaving, he immediately said he was leaving too. Then, he offered us what sounded like a “ROOM,” but I really think he meant “RUM.”

We then headed to a nightclub. I really can’t remember the name of this nightclub either. All I know, is there is no shortage of them so wherever you decide to go, I guarantee you’ll have a blast. In front of the nightclub, a homeless English man approached us for money. When we said we didn’t have it, he started saying something strange. It was something along the lines of: “I’m not asking you for pleasure, I’m asking you for money!” Joe and I just looked at each other like, “Did this really just happen? Wait… What just happened?”

The nightclub was jumping unlike any nightclub that I’ve ever been to. Here, people do not care, and they dance however hard they want to. Inside the place, I had to worry about a creepy little old man that would not stop trying to purchase me a drink. I was glad to be with Joe and I don’t think that I would ever go out and about Amsterdam at night by myself. There are simply too many strange folks. If you do ever come here, just make sure you are safe.

Something truly troubling did happen. I can’t stop thinking about a young Polish guy that started playing thumb war with Joe. Speaking Polish to me, he told me he was 17, ran away from home, and speaks with his parents over email. Then, he disappeared into the crowd. I’m really concerned and wondering if I should return tonight to make sure he is okay. I don’t know why but I have the feeling he must go to that nightclub a lot…

As if something out of the film Eurotrip, Joe and I became lost looking for the bus station. Oosterdoksstraat… What? Voorburgwal… Where? To my misfortune, my phone died and the only phone we had was Joe’s. We circled around and around until we realized we had to go inside Amsterdaam Central to take the bus. We weren’t the only ones struggling. At 5 in the morning, Amsterdam is very much alive with people just like us. You’d think I would be mad this happened, but I wasn’t. At dawn, this city is the most beautiful you’ll ever see it. Joe and I plopped down on the floor and watched the sunrise over water. It truly is the most beautiful sight and I cannot stress it enough.

After an unforgettable adventure, we finally got back to the hostel past 6 am.

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