AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
The gap between my last Destinations post and this post is actually longer than the gap between my reaching Manchester from Scotland and then flying off from Manchester to Amsterdam, which was a mere four hours or so during which I swiftly replaced my luggage with fresh new clothes and had homecooked lunch at Q3 courtesy of Yee Lin and Nicole.
And then the five of us, Ash, Ernie, Jia Yang, CC and I took an Uber to Manchester Airport for our 8PM flight to Amsterdam.
It must be emphasised, before I continue, that the conception of this trip literally appeared out of nowhere. I still remember it was the evening before we went to Old Trafford to watch a football match; it was exactly the five of us having dinner at a Chinese restaurant when Ash suddenly said, out of the blue, “Let’s go to Amsterdam next week” and I actually entertained the idea, because I responded by saying “Let’s go” albeit not expecting a legitimate end result, and definitely not expecting the instantaneous formation of a Whatsapp group and then actually buying flight tickets and booking an Airbnb on the next day itself.
So that…was that. And less than a week later, we were off to Amsterdam.
White wine is the breakfast for champions.
This wasn’t my first time in Amsterdam; I’d been here during spring three years ago and I had nothing but fond memories of this picturesque European city that doesn’t give me pressure and stress the way a lot of cities do (see: London, KL). The city of Amsterdam by day boasted uniquely beautiful Dutch architecture and quaint canals, as well as confusing streets accessible by vehicular contraptions in the forms of bicycles, cars and trams.
Forget spring, fall is literally the loveliest and most scenic season. Not to sound fake deep but the yellow-orange hues of autumn leaves tell better relatable stories of a person’s aged experiences than the vivid multi-colours of spring’s floral blooming.
We had bottomless spare ribs at a “sports satellite” cafe near Centraal for dinner before exploring Amsterdam at night in search for the famous The Fault in Our Stars bench.
Alright, here’s the thing: I don’t think it’s entirely irrational to have high expectations for a landmark bench of a well-known young adult romance movie. After all, they shot a movie here. Here’s another thing, two things, in fact: 1) it may not look like it in the photo, but amazingly, it started pouring when we found the bench, so this photo was taken in a literal hurry 2) the bench faces the canal which means that in order to take a full frontal shot of the bench, you probably need to cross to the other side and be equipped with a camera of rather good quality so all this added up to a not-so-good impression of the TFiOS bench but really, am I qualified to make a statement like that? At least there wasn’t a single dull moment at Amsterdam, and that I can appreciate whole-heartedly.
Amsterdam at night is an antithesis of its day counterpart. You think you know what I’m about to say but I really love how different the canals look at night; when it’s bright out they’re cosy little streams of water but at night, the reflections of streetlights and the glow of signboards off the surface of the canals give off a distinctive vibe of being somewhere else completely different.
I fell in love with Amsterdam three years ago and I fell in love with it again, with different memories and experiences this time around to attribute to one of my favourite cities.
And alright, the city wasn’t the only thing that I fell in love with; I learned that by discovering the addictiveness of adventures and adrenaline, even right to the root of the spontaneous foundation of this trip itself. My default position in life has always been within the range of my comfort zone, and taking chances like this always reminds myself of how rewarding the act of not overthinking things and just doing it can be.
Anyway, verdict: 10/10 would do it again.
(Multiple photo credits to CC and Jia Yang, tq)