My time in Amsterdam was mostly spent on foot/tram, exploring the city neighborhoods, and have a coffee at the cafe (NOT a coffee house – which is where you go to smoke pot, if you want actual coffee go to a cafe) and watching the world pass by. It was nice to not rush and rest after several days of pushing through city sights. Shortly after I arrived in my room in the hostel, another traveler appeared staying in the bunk above me: Patrick from Germany.
I got lucky as he’s in town to look for an apartment rather than to party, so a pleasantly calmer travel companion than I was expecting from Amsterdam. We ended up having dinner together and then heading back early to sleep, so that we could get up early for a full next day.
The Flying Pig is definitely a fun party hostel in Amsterdam complete with a bar and smoke room, but the rooms are air-sealed so that it was quite quiet at night.
They also offer a free walking tour, which I enjoyed thoroughly as our tour guide was fantastic! We went by the palace, the red light district, through the parks, and over the canals.
There’s always a long wait at the Anne Frank House, so I decided to go to the Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum) instead. They had a very good presentation of the events surrounding World War II and the the occupation of the Netherlands.
May 4th is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, where they pay their respect for the victims and fallen soldiers of WWII. They hold a moment of silence for 2 minutes at 8pm, and the whole country stands still (trans and buses stop, people are quiet, and nothing moves). In the central square (Dam Square) royalty, government officials and military personnel gather to lay flowers at the monument and remember. The square was packed with thousands of people, all quiet. There were speeches (in Dutch) given by those alive at the time to share memories and to express the effects the war has had – urging us to remember and learn from the past.
May 5th is Liberation Day, and following the relative still of the previous day, this is a day of partying! I will, however, be on a train to Brussels. Also, Patrick is joining me! He’s waiting for a contract for his new flat and has never been to Brussels, so he’s joining me there for the day. It will be nice to have a buddy for Brussels, as I won’t meet anyone tonight (hotel instead of hostel).
I’m looking forward to tonight. I’m staying in a hotel (due to recent events things are a little cheaper here right now) and have the whole room to myself 🙂 So spoiled!!