In today’s non-stop consumerist society it is easy for individuals trying to climb the career and housing ladder to forget to ‘check-out’ and re-charge from time to time. We all know people who claim they only do one hour work from home every now and then but are really always just ‘checking’ the emails on the mobile. It is also true that a lot of us are simply constantly succumbing to social media platforms’ need to be constantly updated with the latest thoughts and photos of our latest outings. It is an understatement to say we’re living in an ever demanding and connected world where social, work and family time all overlap.
I had the fortunate chance of being able to recuperate for a few short days in a busy, major city: Amsterdam. During this break w I completely disconnected from social media and work. How can you recharge from living/working in the Nottingham by going to Amsterdam you may ask? This is a strange statement, I know. Amsterdam is known for it’s hard-partying, weed smoking, drug taking, skirt-chasing antics with people coming from as far away as Japan and the USA to dabble in the country’s’ liberal offerings. But I saw a different Amsterdam from that.
If you look close enough you will find that Amsterdam offers an amazing cultural package, with the city boasting an eye-gobbling 75 museums, ranging from the well-known Rijksmuseum (roughly translatable as the Commonwealth museum) to the lesser known and specialists museums such as the Brilmuseum (Spectacles museum) and the Bijbels Museum (Bible Museum). If you’re looking to travel to Amsterdam, it is worth purchasing the IAMSTERDAM pass which not only offers you free public transport for either 24, 48 or 74 hours, but also free or discounted access to the majority of the museums in the city and much more! We managed to get into the Rijksmuseum, the Maritime Museum (which hosts a replica 16th century Dutch East India company ship which you can access) and the Van Gogh Museum. All three which would have set us back around 10 Euros each if we didn’t purchase the IAMSTERDAM card, so you can see how it is a logical choice when going to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is also a ridiculously international city, with the Dutch living in the city being composed of various background and expats from all around the world living in the city also (it is estimated that around 176 different nationalities live in the city!). Its international reputation is reflected in the cuisine of the city. If you’re adventurous you should try the traditional Indonesian eateries dotted across the city. Any tourist in Amsterdam should try the Rijstafel (which roughly translates as the rice table) with numerous dishes all served up at once on a table. It’s a bit like tapas but with an Asian twist!
Then there are the canals, where life takes on a rhythm of its own. They are the perfect spots to take a break on during your trips to the various tourist sites that. You’ll be mesmerized by the sight of young, old, couples (even with children, although I’m sure that is not the norm) and singletons all stopping at the side of the canals to have a quick smoke, get up and get on with their day.
If you like a good deal, it is worth grabbing a few snacks, a bottle of your favourite drink from Albert Hein (this is like the Tesco of the Netherlands and are literally everywhere) and taking this to a good spot from where you and your fellow travelers can watch the multiple private and tourist boats go by. A great spot we found and spent hours lounging on was just in front of the Amsterdam Central Library, where there is an extended platform which gives you even a better view of the canals and its traffic. It is also located to the impressive floating Sea Place Restaurant, apparently it is Europe’s first floating restaurant and the Chinese food is not to bad either!
For those who want to re-charge in a more elevated location, look no further than the A’DAM Lookout building rooftop restaurant and bar. This building hosts various creative companies, a tourist shop selling quirky ADAM merchandise and to top it off a swing at the top of the building, giving you a sensational view of the whole city!If you do not fancy being swung at the top of the building you can sit and have a drink or snack in the roof top bar listening to a carefully curated jazz and blues playlist. Surprisingly, it is not very busy and the staff are extremely friendly and very passionate about their city, so you will be assured a good time regardless of what you decide to do.
A word of advice: you don’t want to stay too long in the city as it can get quite expensive, so I would recommend limiting your stay to no more than 5 days.
Overall, you can recharge your batteries in a very international city like Amsterdam, you just have to be willing to look for the little things, try new things and get of the tourist path.
Hopefully the above list provides you with an insight into how to recharge in a mega-busy city like Amsterdam. Do you think it is possible to recharge your batteries in a busy, international city? Share your thoughts!