By Kendra Julion (instagram @k_cinique)
To be honest, given the whole pandemic that’s happening (A.K.A the Rona), I was considering changing the topic of this blog post and focusing on things our fellow stir-crazy travelers could do until its time to roam this world again. I thought about it and remembered how happy traveling to Amsterdam made me, and decided to share what I loved about it to provide you something else to read, give you a (very) brief escape, and/or persuade you to put Amsterdam on your travel to-do list.
I will tell you right now that Amsterdam was never on my travel list. I saw how cute it was, saw a bunch of our diaspora traveling there and raving about their experience, and even had a close friend tell me how amazing Amsterdam was, but I usually like to travel to destinations that give me a full blast of sun, beach, culture, and good foooooood. I ended up in Amsterdam this past February because my mom had to travel for work and I love being a work trip stowaway. After spending a week there, I am a convert and here’s why:
I know everybody uses the foodie term (as they should- who doesn’t love food?!)...but I luhhhhh food. I legit dedicate time/energy to research restaurants I want to visit at home in Chicago, as well as where I should be eating when I’m traveling and bug my fellow foodie friends on where I should eat. I even create a restaurant list for my clients lol. Bad food on vacations/anytime offends me. After reading a few blog posts and based on my PERSONAL preferences, I decided I was going to eat mostly Surinamese food(a sexy blend of African, Caribbean, Indonesian, Chinese, and Dutch cuisine), poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes that all of my pancake lovers will fall in love with) and every stroopwafel (a.k.a 2 homemade warm waffles with decadent caramel in the middle) I can inhale.
Sorry- no I didn’t try the “must try” pickled herring and that mayo on the frites offended me and my mother-even though the Dutch know their way around a frite. She’s cute in this picture though. Clearly a before we tried it shot
I’m drawn to places that have my type of swag and Amsterdam has it. It’s a beautifully diverse city, kinda friendly people for Europeans lol (too friendly freaks me out) and the canals are stunning. I mean, look at it. When we went in February, it was definitely their rainy season, which I will say, put me in a mood not to bump around the city (again, I’m a sun child), but we powered through and discovered that their metro/bus/train system is impeccable. It’s so easy to get around anywhere at any time. Also, Uber is there so if you are not a public transportation person you’re good. This next point is really random but the Dutch sure have the outerwear/scarf game on lock. I’ve never seen so many amazing scarves, coats, gloves! I bought several scarves from the infamous Albert Cyup Market (my seller even warmed it up for me on a heater before giving it to me).
Once I discovered Surinamese cuisine and learned Suriname was a former Dutch colony with indigenous people and African slaves ( it was actually a British colony that was “traded” to the Dutch for New York but that’s a story for another day), I wanted to learn more about my fellow African diaspora’s experience, presence, and history in the Netherlands and Black Heritage Tours did just that. For two hours, we walked around Dam Square & then took an amazing canal boat learning this hidden history, had a fruitful discussion over mimosas and stroopwaffels, and then took their very fabulous founder/owner up on a drink at Wynand Fockink. Our fun bartender quizzed us on what we liked in a drank and helped us pick out our perfect genever and then we Kopstoot (a.k.a headbutt) where your genever is poured to the top of a tulip glass, you bend at the waist, and take your first sip.
Comment below & let us know what you loved about Amsterdam!