I was able to spend the first two days of my time in the city by myself fighting off jet lag and walking around the city. Amsterdam feels like a small city, the many small tight streets and bikes all around keep cars out of the city center. The small streets absent of cars allow the shops to be tighter in giving off an air of coziness. While this type of urban layout is seen in Boston it doesn’t sprawl out over the entire city like it does in Amsterdam.
A common theme I noticed was the lack of cars. While most American cities are built around infrastructure for cars, Amsterdam is not. The canals occupy the space a road normally would. Making the city more dependent on walking. Giving the city a relaxed feel as cars are not speeding by.
Another key feature of the city is its age. It is apparent everywhere, the city on a system of canals. Houses are right up to the canal and packed tightly together. Reminding tourists of its past as a former bustling hub of industry. The bright exteriors and massive windows make the houses on the canal picturesque.
The one gripe with this incredible city is the weather. A city, known for clouds, rain and wind it lives up to its reputation. Forcing visitors to come prepared for the elements. Intermittent rain, clouds and the occasional burst of sunshine have kept me on my toes with clothing. I look forward to spring when sweatshirts and jackets aren’t needed. And a warm rainshower is welcome.
A great part about my trip is my accommodations. I am staying at The Student Hotel Amsterdam West. A 25-minute metro ride from campus/Amsterdam central. The area around it is occupied by normal Dutch people working in and around the city. Giving the area less of a tourist feel and more a local feel instead. With a full-size restaurant and bar in the main lobby, staying in the dorm feels more like a prolonged hotel stay than student accommodations. The newly renovated hotel is designed to be appealing to young people. Featuring a gym, laundry facilities, a large study area with private and group areas. Along with ping-pong, pool, foosball and a living room all in the lobby there is plenty of entertainment. Not counting the many events and programs run by the staff. They make it hard not to love.