Spring in Europe [Part 5] | Amsterdam, Netherlands

Traveling to Europe from Asia can be quite pricey, but I’ve found that flying with Emirates provides the best value for money as well as good service. We can now fly between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur for about RM2800+ (return) onwards!

My final destination was Brixen, and the closest airport from there is Innsbruck. After extensive research, I found out that Transavia, a Dutch budget airline, flies from Amsterdam to Innsbruck for approximately RM700+ (return). This still added up to be cheaper than any other airlines, if I flew with both Emirates and Transavia, so I snapped that up real quick.

I planned my trip so that I would be able to spend a couple of days in Amsterdam on my return journey. Of course, there were no regrets! We stayed with our lovely friend Iris, and her little cutie pie, Suci, for 3D2N in the first week of April.

Our first day was somewhat hectic, seeing as Iris was in London and would only be arriving later in the evening, so we had to pick up her house keys from a friend.

Having never been to a place where bicycles are the main mode of transport, I was unfamiliar with keeping off the cycling path. This came to an abrupt end as I got a little too familiar and faced a couple of close-call collisions with bells frantically ringing and a shout or two as I jumped in shock, back onto the pedestrian path. Seriously though, watch out for the bicycles!
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After walking over a couple of dijks (water dikes), we managed to find the key keeper’s home, only to find that he wasn’t at home! With no way to contact him without internet, we sat down at Van de Buurt, a nearby restaurant, with intentions to wait (and with hopes that they had wifi). We ended up ordering a plate of fresh salmon and their famous soy burger.

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With some strenuous arm-stretching, we managed to get connected to the world wide web. We contacted Iris’s friend and told him to look out for the two cool cats with luggage, which must’ve been accurate enough as he beelined straight for us soon after.

Keys in hand, we strolled to our temporary home-away-from-home and dropped our stuff off. Getting around Amsterdam is fairly easy, as we traveled around by tram and bicycle to truly experience the local way of living. This quickly convinced me to one day move to Holland and adopt the bike life full-time.

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I especially enjoyed exploring the Red Light District at night, twinkling lights and all. The weather around this time was an on-off drizzle fest, but this added to the atmosphere as the streets glistened prettily in the night. It felt almost a dream, as we explored the city centre over dijks and along cobble-stoned paths. The city felt like a little toy town.

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The Dutch are well known for taking pride in their local artists, there are many art galleries and museums available for an enthusiast’s slow perusal. Luckily, we had enough time to go for two exhibitions.

Housed in a 298-year-old building, FOAM is a gallery and exhibition hall for those with a keen interest in photography. It was here that we were able to see the vibrant works of Richard Mosse. Named ‘The Enclave‘, the rethought war photography exhibition was a multi-media installation consisting of both videography and photography by the renowned artist. His project represented the conflict situation in Congo, shot with infrared film that boasted psychedelic magenta results of armed rebel groups in a jungle war zone.

The other exhibition we were excited to peruse was, of course, the Van Gogh Museum. As Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite Post-Impressionist painters of all time, it truly was a glorious couple of hours admiring his delightful works. There was also a special exhibition of Félix Vallotton’s works, ‘Fire Beneath the Ice‘, which displayed many of his woodcut prints.

Aside from cycling and appreciating art, we also visited a couple of markets (mostly handmade goods) and a windmill (De Otter)! Both of which the Dutch are stereotypically well-known for.

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We were sad to leave after a wonderful couple of days, but bid farewell to Holland by eating a McDonald’s McKroket at the airport. It was the best McDonald’s burger I’ve ever had.

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