As I sit here this morning with my cup of coffee, admiring my canal view from my Airbnb window, I cannot help but reflect on the past couple days in this vibrant city.
My initial thoughts go to the tragic victims of yesterday’s bomb blasts in Brussels, Belgium. Innocent people lost their lives due to barbaric individuals with lack of consciousness for human life. Amsterdam is a short couple hour train ride away. As a tourist, one cannot help but be on vigilant watch as well as harbor some fright and apprehension. However, for one thing I know security has been heightened and I am safe. In addition, this can and has happened in the states, and can happen anywhere in the world and not just in Europe.
With that in mind, I know I must not let this stop me from enjoying my present surroundings with my two beautiful daughters. With greater awareness of my surroundings I will continue to enjoy where I am and pray for the best. If one lives life from the standpoint of fear one will live a much more restricted, sheltered life. I promised myself I would not be that person. I intend to live life big, and enjoy what has been afforded me. What makes me happy is to travel to Europe and explore new lands, meet new people, learn new cultures, and thus enrich my life.
Out of respect to those who lost their lives, it is difficult to write about all the fun adventures I have had the past few days in Amsterdam. Yet, I know in keeping true to myself and my present surroundings I must. I will however keep this brief.
I love Amsterdam! It is a vibrant city. People everywhere, enjoying life to the fullest. The Dutch have it all in my opinion. From the outside looking in, I notice happiness. Happiness in a sense that people do not look stressed and exude a positive vibe. Like most European nations, egalitarianism is present. I have experienced nothing but warmth, friendliness, and very welcome as an outsider.
Over the past couple days I have had the pleasure of taking 5 trains, visited Delft, The Hague, Gouda, walked more than 20 miles, got locked in a restaurant bathroom, experienced a food hall and outdoor market while enjoying a fresh made Stroopwaffel! We have nearly been run over by bicycles as they whiz by! And we learned there is a vast difference between a cafe for coffee versus a “coffeeshop” for cannabis!
My hosts at our Airbnb could not have been more accommodating. Toyah met us as we arrived and has been most gracious. She immediately made us feel at home. Our home away from home has everything we could desire. She even left us wine, beer and chocolates! She made us feel special.
I promised our new friend Ryan I would mention his impeccable service with a smile at our dinner last night at Mook pancakes. A recently opened eatery with vegan options, fresh ingredients down to the fresh squeezed juices.
Mook is an enchanting place with exceptional service and superb out of this world fluffy pancakes! Ryan’s generosity made our visit special. It was as if Ryan had invited us into his home for dinner. He plied us with food, wine, champagne, and fresh squeezed juices. If we stayed any longer my pants would have needed to expand a few inches! Well worth a visit! Thanks Ryan, you are a special guy!!
In closing, I know without a doubt I will go home a changed woman. I am in a special country, with generous, warm people. I am safe in their hands.
Safe travels, Debbie