The 5 best things about my trip to Amsterdam, in random order:
1. The city: My mother and I spent most of our days strolling through the city streets, making our way down various small alleys and discovering little shops and amazing architecture along the canals. It was a great way to see so much of the city and get lost a bit, though my mother was ever the best navigator with her trusty city map. I think only once did we have no clue where we were going, but since we weren’t on a schedule and just enjoying our time together in the city, it didn’t matter that we were a little lost.
2. The museums: I have a bit of a confession to make. I work in the museum field, but I’m not a huge museum fan. I know, blasphemous. Mostly, this is the case for history museums because that’s what my background is in, so if I do go to museums while visiting a new place, they tend to be art museums. The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum were extraordinary- Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters and at both museums I was able to see some of his great masterpieces that I have studied for years, as well as learn of some of his Dutch Impressionist contemporaries who had equally stunning work that I found inspiring. It’s hard for me to fully describe how I felt at The Anne Frank House & Museum– it’s something I’ve wanted to see for over twenty years & the experience well surpassed my expectations.
3. The tulips: Long on my life list has been to see my favorite flowers in bloom in Holland. Prior to our leaving for Amsterdam, I had read that the tulips weren’t in full bloom yet because of a particularly dry spring, but I had high hopes anyway to see the flower fields and Keukenhof. And they were extraordinary. I think I took over 100 flower photos and just loved the day roaming through the flowers and finding so much beauty, color, and greatness.
4. Having a trip with my mom: My mom and I are very close, something I cherish even more as I get older. When I decided I wanted to go to Amsterdam as a way to celebrate my 30th birthday, I couldn’t imagine sharing the experience with anyone other than my mother. She had not been to Holland since she was a teenager and had never seen the tulips either. We had lots of great conversations, laughs, and made many memories that will last through the years.
5. The countryside: On the last day of our trip, Amsterdam was quite crowded too. Alkmaar was crowded too, but then after we left the cheese market our tour took us to a Dutch windmill, now a museum previously a water mill. There is a windmill at one of my organization’s public sites so it wasn’t so much the windmill that excited me but more the quiet and lack of people.