Warning for discussion of my struggles with an eating disorder.
So last week I was lucky enough to take a few days with my friend to visit the home of MANY canals, the Van Gogh museum and the red light district (three very different things) … AMSTERDAM! I have always adored the place, finding the scenic canals and parks to be nothing less than stunning. And they did not disappoint! Not only was I able to walk past AT LEAST five canals per day, my friend and I even managed to hire bikes, exploring as much of the beautiful city as we could.
We arrived in the evening, spending the first night taking a brisk walk through the city (and accidentally walking on the bike lane… We got beeped at a few times to say the least…) before having dinner at our hotel’s restaurant! This is when I faced one of my fear foods… PIZZA. As established in my last post, I’ve been trying my best to recover, explore new foods without feeling guilty. There were other options on the menu, options I have catogrised as “safe foods” before, but where’s the fun in that when I can have a delicious margarita with a thick crust?
I devoured as much as I could and got the rest boxed for breakfast. I left that restaurant with nothing but a sense of accomplishment.
For day one, we booked lunch at a cat cafe which was incredible!! The cats were so adorable and we managed to claim a table right next to two cosy ones called Maan and Eleonori! I’m pretty sure I almost had a breakdown over how adorable they were!! That’s where I had my only, well, “normal” brownie of the trip. After the excitement of that, my friend and I went to a coffee shop. But picture this – two awkward girls in dungarees who have never touched a drug in their life, suddenly faced with a heap of different cannabis options. We had no idea what to order or how bad the effects were (I recommend researching beforehand)… so we opted for edibles. Aaaand there’s my second brownie of this trip!! A space cake!! It’s annoying because the actual brownie itself was delicious!! My friend and I demolished it in a matter of minutes (also do not recommend) and we felt nothing until about half way through our walk back to the hotel… our 75 minute walk back…
There are many unknown things in this world, but how my friend and I managed to find our way back to our hotel from the coffee shop will forever be a mystery. Needless to say we did not leave our room for the rest of the night.
The next day we booked a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, one of the attractions I was the most excited for. However, that wasn’t before we sat by a river covered with tulips and took photos near the “i Amsterdam” sign, surrounded by bundles of people doing the same. We had lunch at “Bagels & Beans” where I discovered how delicious hummus is (yep, hadn’t really experienced hummus before coming to Amsterdam…) and then finally I was able to explore the life of my favourite artist. It was an enlightening, fascinating yet devastating experience, seeing the difficulties such a creative and talented man faced. I bought postcards of my two favourite paintings: “The Potato Eaters” (a painting I just simply found visibly intriguing and detailed) and what was most likely the last painting he did, “Tree roots” (You can tell by a few of the missing brushstrokes in the piece that it is unfinished). I left that museum feeling a mixture of emotions.
On our third day of the trip, my friend wasn’t very well. She dramatically announced that she “felt horrendous and was close to death” before opting that she was going to stay in bed all day to recover. This meant I took a day out by myself. I was nervous to do so, being in a city I had hardly explored yet (and considering I have quite possibly the worst sense of direction in the world, I was definitely more than likely to get lost), but I was still willing to make something of the day! This is when I took a hefty hour long walk to Vondel Park, finding a quiet spot by a river to write and read. I’m currently in the process of writing a novel, so I took inspiration from the park for a setting. After then taking myself on a walk through the beautiful area, happily watching all the cyclists and dogs go past me, I went for lunch at a cafe I could not for the life of me tell you it’s name… all I know is that it did an incredible spinach wrap. Like honestly up there in the greatest wraps I have ever had ranking.
After that I started heading back to the hotel, google maps taking me a very scenic route which just added to the joy of my day. On the way, I stopped for a chocolate ice cream and then took a little break at remembrant park, sitting by a tree to read some more. Once again it was very peaceful and beautiful, truly wonderful to relax on such a warm day.
My friend had made a full recovery by our last full day so I was certain we were not going to let it go to waste!! This was the day we hired out bikes and cycled through the city! It was definitely one of my favourite experiences of the trip purely because I had not cycled in years and had forgotten the true joy of it! We went back through those two parks I visited yesterday, over bridges and past busy streets; I wrote in a post last year about my emotions when I saw some light up reindeer in Stockholm, and cycling through Amsterdam created that exact same emotion. Everything was going to be okay. We spent the afternoon visiting the “Amsterdam lookout”, able to witness a gorgeous panoramic view of the city. I was left speechless.
The final day we went to a cute cafe to have a slice of apple pie, something I had always feared to try… and it was incredible. I thought about all the food I have scared myself away from, missing out on delicious tastes and excitements. It’s made me more determined than ever to recover and I’m going to try my best. But hey, I ate pizza for the first time in a while, tried to order foods that I once did not consider “safe”, and witnessed the city feeling fully energised and happy. It’s a start. Food is fuel and I just need to keep reminding myself of that.
So, that was my exciting trip to Amsterdam – cycling through parks, visiting fascinating attractions aaand getting stoned… It’s a beautiful city that’s full of energy and life. I always feel a sense of comfort when I’m travelling, leaving every destination with a new sense of optimism, but this trip in particular has definitely been something I needed. It allowed me chances to challenge myself and explore new opportunities.
Amsterdam? More like amsterDAAAAMn…