Sometimes I feel like part of me is still in Amsterdam. I suppose, with Gabriel still living there, that this is partially true. When I see our apartment on webcam, and hear the sounds of the Amsterdam street through the window, it makes it really hard to feel completely separated from that wonderful city.
When we moved to Amsterdam, I was very adamant about staying positive on my blog, and used that positivity to help me adjust to life abroad. There were, of course, negative aspects about living in Amsterdam, but I was often quick to forget about them. After all, those annoyances and nuisances made the city that much more interesting and real.
Having been away from Amsterdam for 3 months, I can safely look back upon my time there with an objectivity that perhaps I didn’t fully have before.
Here are my top 10 lists of what I really really miss about Amsterdam, and what I’m very content to live without.
What I Miss About A’dam
1. Nights at the Bioscoop – The movie theatre in Amsterdam where we frequented (Muntplein Pathe), served up delicious popcorn that is completely different than in North America. It’s also fun to drink a Grolsch beer while viewing the movie, especially if it’s one that your boyfriend forced you into watching (ie. Transformers).
2. The fruit and veggie stall at the Albert Cuyp – I practically visited this stall every day during the spring and summer. There’s nothing like picking out your meals daily from interesting little market stalls.
3. Fresh flowers on our table – The flowers are just so cheap in Amsterdam that it was criminal to just leave them sitting there in the roadside stalls. We always had fresh tulips, roses, peonies, or daisies throughout our apartment.
4. Cafe culture – The Dutch know how to enjoy a cup of coffee. In a cozy bruin cafe, while the rain softly falls outside, with a flickering candle atop an ancient wooden table. Gezellig.
5. Taking the tram – I didn’t have a bike while I was in Amsterdam, but I did ride the tram almost daily. I miss stamping my strippenkaart and catching the tram at Stadhoudeskade.
6. The shoe stores – I once read somewhere that Amsterdam has more shoe stores than any other city in the world. One trip to the Kalverstraat, and you’ll believe it. The boots are unlike any I’ve seen!
7. Church bells – There were always bells ringing, somewhere, in Amsterdam. I miss hearing the bells from the old church in De Pijp, and especially the melodic sounds of the Westerkerk.
8. Fries with mayo – No ketchup served with fries in Amsterdam! The delicious mayo with crispy frites in a paper cone is sorely missed, although my waistline may be thankful :)
9. The Dutch language – It took some adjusting, with all those guttural G’s, to enjoy the sound of Dutch. Once I began learning, I really enjoyed trying to decipher the language daily. Now it’s gone, just like that, and all of the vocabulary I spent hours learning is going unused. Sometimes my Dad and I will converse in Dutch though!
10. The photo opps – Everywhere you look in Amsterdam, there is a beautiful, interesting, or shocking photo opportunity. One of my favourite (and free!) activities to do was to grab my camera bag and head out around the city. I would come home with hundreds of photos of the craziest people, most beautiful architecture, and quirkiest shops.
What I Don’t Miss About Amsterdam
1. The smell of the canals that would often drift into our pipes and fill our apartment.
2. The mice – They are everywhere in Amsterdam.
3. The grocery stores – I often felt that the grocery stores in Amsterdam left a lot to be desired. With unfresh produce, rotten milk, old merchandise, and yes, mice running around, I really didn’t enjoy that task.
4. Pushiness – Canadians are known for being extra polite. Many times in Amsterdam I encountered especially pushy people, whether it was at the market or the movie theatre, it seemed like the concept of a “line” was a bit difficult for some to grasp.
5. Not being able to drive – It’s so nice here in Canada, with my new car, and a clear understanding of the rules of the road. Numerous times Gabriel and I were caught driving on the tram tracks, or incurring some other traffic infraction. Oops!
6. Pigeons – If you don’t know about my fear, click here.
7. The smell of marijuana – We lived very close to a “coffeeshop” where marijuana was the main item on the menu. Sometimes the smell was so unbearable in the summers when our windows were always open.
8. The public urinals – I always thought these were disgusting, even though they are slightly genius. I guess they serve their purpose, but the older ones in the center definitely have leakage problems.
9. Ordering food via phone – Ordering take-out was my responsibility, and it was so difficult sometimes trying to order food in half-Dutch, half-English. We were often happy if they made it to our house, even if our order was completely wrong!
10. Drunken yelling – We lived in a very popular area of Amsterdam with lots of great bars. At nights, in the summer especially, the shouts from the street below as people parted from the bar were quite annoying. Dutch people like to yell “Doeg!” (bye!) reaaaally loud.