Something funny has happened both times I’ve moved abroad: I become way more active online, especially with social media. Partly it has to do with the fact that I’m visiting a lot of really cool places that I want to share. But even more than that, it’s for myself… it is the easiest way to feel like I’m still connected to everyone at home. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook which is 90% hate and 10% appreciation for Facebook Messenger because that is how I often communicate overseas. Social media makes me feel like I’m still keeping in touch with people, even when I barely am. It makes me feel involved, even when I’m a billion miles away.
Blogging does too, but it takes more time and thoughtfulness, and recently, I’ve been taking that time and doing other things with it. I’ve been going on more micro-adventures and meeting new people……..and watching a lot of Game of Thrones……. (I started it two weeks ago and I’m on season 5, so.) Not blogging felt good for a few weeks. And now blogging feels good again.
So, I’ll catch you up on some of the things I’ve been doing lately instead of blogging:
– I went to the Amsterdam Coffee Festival and drank 11 coffees and had the BEST TIME EVER
– I went to the Rollende Keukens Food Truck Festival and ate 3 fried crickets among other things
I am a self-professed street food connoisseur.
As a traveler (or human in general) who is perpetually on a tight budget, street food is the most cost-efficient way to try a country’s local foods. In a lot of cities, street food is really its own culture, anyways, and has grown to be a large part of the city’s local cuisine as a whole. Portland, for instance, is famous for its food trucks and food truck courts. People don’t just go to them because they are fast and cheap; they go to them because they are a staple in the city, and because they are good.
Here are some of the Amsterdam street food staples that I’ve experienced so far.
(Yes, I ate all of these things. Yes, I’m sure I can eat them. No, I haven’t forgotten I’m diabetic, but thank you for the reminder. While we’re at reminders, I’ll just put it out there that I probably know more about my own chronic illness than you know about my chronic illness. A perk of having one, I suppose! Nothing personal!)
Oh, King’s Day. Where do I even begin?
I first heard about King’s Day (or Koningsdag in Dutch.) two years ago, when I was studying abroad in France. My friends and I had booked a weekend in Amsterdam (none of us had ever been) during our spring break, but when we went to book hostels, most of them were either extremely expensive or already booked, despite us searching months in advance.
It is then that we learned we were going to Amsterdam during King’s Day weekend: Holland’s biggest celebration (also known as the world’s biggest street party) of the year. King’s Day is celebrated in late April, on the King of the Netherland’s birthday. Up to a million tourists join the 750,000 locals for this national holiday.
A few months ago, I went rock climbing for the first time in my life (I’m not counting that time at summer camp when I was 11 and the ‘rocks’ were literally chunks of wood nailed to a tree.) I’m pretty terrified of heights, so it was a big feat for me to climb all the way to the top of the wall, which was about 3 stories high. By the end of it, my whole body was trembling with adrenaline and excitement and fear and pride. The thrill is addicting, so a few weeks later I decided to try another form of rock climbing that is lesser known: bouldering.
Remember how I told you that I’m really into micro-adventures these days? Well, that’s still a thing, and I’m having so much fun! Amsterdam has so much to offer in the way of random, fun things to do, and I can confidently say I’m taking full advantage of it.
Have you guys heard of real-life ‘escape rooms’ yet?