After years of bouncing around Europe, I'm back where it all began. I guess that in order to
appreciate particular places, you need to get there at the right time. I left Amsterdam as a very young adult, here I am now, almost 10 years later, much wiser and loving every moment of my life here.
As I was sipping a glass of chardonnay at T Smalle, an authentic little restaurant sitting right on the canal, I met a Canadian couple, who have been coming to Europe each year for the past decade. I asked them which was their favorite city and they said: "So far - Amsterdam". And you know what, I think I agree with them.
If you haven't been to the "Dam" yet, make sure you rectify this mistake soon and pray for good weather. Even if you don't love it at first, slowly the intoxicating atmosphere will captivate you.
Amsterdam has become the focal point of a cool young crowd, the weather has been fantastic lately, the bistros are full of people and the city has never been so vibrant. Being the smaller cousin of London and Paris, Amsterdam is the good child. It has everything you need without the pressure of a huge metropolis. And if you ever find yourself missing the pressure, it's just a short train/plane ride away. Meanwhile, enjoy the laid-back swag of the Dam. Other than the suicidal bike-riders, everything seems to run at a slower pace, so grab a cone of fries and get going.
If you ever come to town, hit the cool little stores along the canals and visit some of the bars that have been working since the 17th century. History clashes with modernity and it comes alive in exciting new ways. Make sure you get to experience this and don't waste too much time waiting in line for Madame Tussauds.