Amsterdam and Lovely Northern Island

Trip to Netherlands began in November in Zagreb. When I arrived, I jumped from the airplane into the train and drove north for another two hours to city called Groningen. I didn’t have to worry about accommodation because I was visiting my friend, who studied there.

I only had 4 days and the plan was to see Groningen, visit northern island called Schiermonnikoog and then return to Amsterdam for 2 more days of fun. Quite a bite, right? Before I tell you more, I truly recommend visiting Netherlands in spring or summer because I was chilled to the bone and came home with fever and blocked up nose.

Groningen

Groningen is a smaller version of Amsterdam. It completely dazzles you with its huge buildings, little bridges, domestic zoo, record stores and sweet cafes. However, you can be a bit shocked by the prices – if you are from Slovenia and southern. Many young people are sitting, drinking tea and reading books in the city because Groningen is known for its majestic Universities that take your breath away. Overall, it is such a lovely city filled with positive energy and kind people.

Schiermonnikoog

Wauuuu and simply wauuu!

This is the most beautiful island I have ever seen. From endlessly long meadows to sand beaches this place truly fulfills your expectations. It looks like a small village where everyone knows everyone and if you moved there, the neighbors would probably welcome you with fresh baked cookies and pies. – Really!

With its magical little houses and wonderful nature, you get the feeling that you’ve just walked through a closet and entered Narnia itself. If you don’t follow the path, no worries, you will find yourself walking on soft moss, among jumping rabbits accompanied by fresh air of sea. At the end of long wooden trail, that leads to the sea, awaits a bar or restaurant. You can only explore the island with bike or by foot (cars are only allowed for locals) so you don’t have to feel guilty if you are going to eat something delicious – and by delicious I mean something that wouldn’t be listed under healthy food. So, if you want to relax, meditate, spend few days in the nature, listen to birds, engage in leisure activities and feel the power of North Sea this is the place for you.

Amsterdam

Well, that’s something you don’t see everyday. As I stepped out of the train my nasals were immediately filled with the scent of marihuana. Well, makes sense since it’s legal here. Here and there the coffee shops (a place, where you can legally buy it) open the doors and let out a huge cloud of smoke that fills every corner of the street. In a big city my routine is always the same. First I just want to take a walk, see the buildings and the streets, and feel the heartbeat of this amazing place. With the corner of my eye I saw a sign saying “10 euros for an hour of Ride on river Amstel”. Our captain was an elderly gentleman who told us many interesting things. Did you know that each year the city submerges just for a few millimeters and that’s why some buildings don’t stand straight anymore? – That a house on a river costs way more than an apartment? – That in order to get the furniture in the higher apartments one must use hydraulic lifter because the stairs and the corridors are too narrow? – That staircase in front of the door was a sign of richness? Interesting, right? Don’t worry, he also told us many typical touristy things. Next stop was a famous Amsterdam sign, which is completely overrated. Tourists jump, climb and basically torture the letters. So if you were planning to get that perfect Instagram photo, forget it.

However, what is definitely worth visiting is Anne Frank House. I came there in the evening because I didn’t make a reservation and only waited for 15 minutes. It lasts for 2 hours and you learn many new and interesting things, but at the same time it is really sad because of all the suffering that her family and families alike have been through. If you read The Diary of a Young Girl, you know what I’m talking about.

Then we took a walk on the Red Light District. Prostitution is among many other things also legal, so girls can rent a room, offer themselves through a window and then trade sex for money. I have to warn you to put your camera in your backpack while walking here. If you take a lot of pictures, you will end up with wet clothes and many Dutch curse words. My trip ended in a famous coffee shop named Bulldog, but I won’t tell you how it was. Maybe this secret will persuade you visiting it for “a coffee”.

PS: I stayed in an Urban Lodge hotel, which is 5km away from the city center and 10km from the airport Schiphol. Public transportation is, as in every big city, great –  so basically waiting for a bus or a train doesn’t exist.

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