I’ve been to Amsterdam a lot. Most of the time it was simply passing through the airport, but often times I had several hours layover … enough to go into town for a visit. So, oddly, I have accumulated quite a lot of time visiting this city without ever having stayed a single night. While this might sound somewhat silly, it actually a great idea when you consider that the alternative is to sit around in an airport.
Amsterdam is an easy train ride from the airport, and doesn’t take long at all. I often would go into town for a quiet breakfast at one of the local cafes, before strolling along the picturesque canals, shopping if needed, and then jumping on the short train ride back to the airport.
Many years ago I nearly moved to Amsterdam to live on a houseboat, but choices were made and other paths pursued (like many watershed decisions we make throughout life). However, I think there’s something intriguing about the idea of living so close to the water, somehow separate from the very heart of the city where you may reside. It seems peaceful in many ways (like on the quiet mornings I would visit), yet it also seems that it could be loud and noisy from a vibrant city life (I am speculating). Perhaps I missed my calling, or perhaps I would not have liked it at all – I cannot say.
Did I say that there were a lot of bicycles in Amsterdam? What an understatement … they were everywhere! I liked that there were so many different types, representing the different character of the local residents. If I had been staying for any decent amount of time, I absolutely would have planned on renting one!!
To some the city has a reputation for certain activities, however, I found that morning life in Amsterdam started much the same as anywhere else in the world – with promise of adventure.
Get out of the airport if you have time on your long layovers! However, make sure you have enough time to get through any customs, immigration and security protocols … so check these things out ahead of time (if possible, ask someone who has done it before).
P.S. Don’t do what Matt Barnes and I did one visit – to take tons of photos, then lose the camera before downloading the greatest pictures ever seen!!