Having met Anders in Hungary (we shared a studio) and becoming really great friends, he invited me to Amsterdam and offered to be my guide. Well, you know I can't pass up a free local guide, so here I am! Anders met me at the airport, which meant I didn't have to walk around for 10mins figuring out which train/tram/bus to get on. Within 20mins we were in the heart of the city center walking up to his rented flat above this Portuguese restaurant.
Steep, 6-in steps winded around up to the entrance of the flat. He had warned me about Dutch stairs being narrow and steep, but my imagination hadn't pictured this. I carefully made my way up, opening the frosted glass door to a wonderful 1 bedroom flat. A small kitchen and porch greet you as you make a sharp left after walking in; Coming out of the kitchen at the end of the tiny walk way is the bedroom. Just big enough for a double bed, two end tables, and a modest love seat, it had a cozy feel to it. From the bedroom were two doors in the hall, one being the toilet and shower divided by a half tiled wall, and the other door being a sink and vanity. Through a door-less frame you come to the living/dining area. The idea of a fireplace stood in the middle on the left with an exterior heating furnace in front of it. On both sides of this fireplace were entertainment equipment: TV, DVD, Stereo, etc, and shelving. A cute love-seat couch rested under the huge bay windows spaning the whole wall and an extra chair on the opposite side was separated by a low table. Behind was the dining table/desk and closet for storage. Immediately, I fell in love with this space. A lovely space in the heart of Amsterdam, what better accommodation could one ask for! How long am I staying??
Unloading my things, I then took a much needed shower and nap, while Anders went and did some work before coming back to show me around. Having an extra bike we hopped on making our way like all natives in Amsterdam, by beach cruiser! What fun this was peddling around the city, weaving in and out of tram tracks and tourists.
The city is completely laid out with bike routes for the thousands of bikers who peddle their way around each day. The vibe you get in Amsterdam is much like N. California. I felt like I was home, but with an old Dutch-town feel. Getting a quick look at the city and some food for the evening, all I was thinking about was a home cooked meal that was hot! Shoving Anders out of the kitchen I got to work conjuring up a delicious (Kerry friendly) meal. I must say it feels good to be cooking and staying a place you could call home.
The next few days were going to be jam-packed: resting, sleeping, watching movies, oh and some sight seeing!! In total I had 6 days to spend in Amsterdam and although there are a lot of museums and things to do and see, I really wanted to relax and not have to run around like I usually do. I also wanted to spend time with my dear friend and have him show me the ins and outs of the city. It was going to be a great time, I could feel it.
Breaking up my projected trip with a few days spent in Amsterdam was exactly what I needed. I worked it out to come at the half way point in my backpacking Europe because I figured I might start getting a little tired and would need a nice clean (non-hostel) place to stay. Sure enough, I was right!