All photographs, thoughts, and opinions are those of Olivia Walker.
I’m glad I have sound discernment. Usually I book a 10 day+ vacation for my birthday. This year, something said, “only take 5 days” including travel days, I don’t think I’ve ever made such a great decision.
This year I decided to head to Amsterdam for my birthday and it was the most unsettling trip I’ve ever taken. This country of the Netherlands was just not for the kid. I think I could give you all a full list of why I did not enjoy Amsterdam, but I think these 5 words sum it up perfectly; I DID NOT FEEL SAFE!
As you all know, 99.9% of my trips that I take are by myself-A black American woman traveling alone. With that being said, I know to watch my back, which heretofore I’ve never had any issues. But with Amsterdam I found myself watching my back more than usual, clutching my book bag just a bit tighter, looking back behind me more often. 👀👀👀
I never felt 100% safe here in Amsterdam. Day or night, there was always this looming feeling of bad vibes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not trying to make it sound like Amsterdam is the worst place ever in the world, one just has to have the personality to match the city in order to really enjoy yourself.
If you don’t know, Amsterdam in pop culture is known for weed and prostitution being legal. Which I was unaware of both when picking this destination. And by the time I found out, I had already purchased my ticket; Which cost me only $200 so, YOLO? 🤷🏾♀️ I don’t smoke weed (have never tried it) and clearly I was not going to pick up a prostitute, so neither one of those activities excited me.
In my opinion, Amsterdam is just a tad too worldly for me to ever visit again. It’s any and everything goes atmosphere did not sit well with my spirit. Itsounds funny and hella religious I know, but this is the only way I can describe it.
I took public transportation by bus around for 2 out of the 3 days I was there. This was pretty easy to navigate as they have one central location (Amsterdam Centraal) where the buses, trains, and street trams run out of, so you can’t really get lost going anywhere. I did like the fact that you could pay by credit card directly on the bus too, which defeated the purpose of my getting Euros but, oh well. The bus is 3 Euros.
I found it beyond odd that even though it was so damn cold, the wind chill was out of this world, and light snow a couple days, people were still riding their bikes like it was nothing. I was so confused. Like huh? And you could obviously notice that the bikers were cold but they were keeping hope alive peddling those damn bikes y’all. They had bike parking lots. BIKE PARKING LOTS YA’LL! 😲
Additionally, the food is bleak at best, which lived up to the “the foods not that great” comment someone had mentioned to me a couple days before my trip. To get a quality meal, you have to pay quality money. Which would be an understandable concept except the service with the quality meal, sucks so hard 🤦🏾♀️ I had gone to The Seafood Bar as I was craving lobster. The first night I went, which the internet said was open until midnight, they were closed. I had gotten there a little before 10:30 PM, Womp. The next day, I decided to go for lunch to make sure they would still be open.
I waited at the door a good 90 seconds waiting on a hostess to show face (meanwhile, hella staff members looked dead at me and didn’t move). I brushed it off as nothing as this is common in America too (depending on the restaurant). After being seated and given a menu, I sat there for minimum 15 minutes (might’ve been longer) waiting on a waiter to come over and even take my drink order, let alone place my order for food.
He finally came over and I place drink and food all at once so I don’t have to wait again. I had gotten soup as my appetizer and that came within minutes. I thought, “okay, things are going to get better because homeboy noticed the look of disdain on my damn face from before.”
A pretty young white blonde girl dressed in noticeable and visible designer wear walks in. The staff noticeably peg her as someone who had money and will probably tip well. I noticed they greeted and seated her right away. She happened to get seated right next to me. (Please keep in mind I am the only black person in this restaurant). Immediately, the same waiter that I had waited on for 15 minutes or more practically flies across the room eager to take her order. He takes it and within 5-7 minutes-no exaggeration, this lady had her full meal. Meanwhile, I am sitting right next to her, clearly finished with my soup appetizer waiting on my lobster main course. I began to grow extremely irritated and angry. If looks could kill, that whole staff would’ve been done.
I look around and I don’t even see my waiter in the damn restaurant anymore. I had to stop another waiter and inquire about my food. He seemed annoyed that I had paused him from the super important NOTHINGNESS he was doing😒🙄
I see him walk to the chef, as the kitchen was open layout, and ask about my food. He comes back over a few moments later to inform me that they thought I wanted to eat the lobster after my soup. I reply “I did, but I’ve been done with my soups for minutes now.” His face turned red.
I now feel as though I now have to watch the chef and wait staff to make sure they don’t spit in my shit🤦🏾♀️
Flash forward 5 more minutes and my lobster arrives. The meal was just okay. Definitely had high hopes and the meal disappointed a little. But the overall service was so horrible that that aided in leaving such a bad taste in my mouth about the food, and restaurant as a whole. Usually, back home, I would’ve complained, but it just wasn’t even worth my energy to do it here. That’s how much I knew I would never be back to this god forsaken city.
P.S. the lady sitting next to me that they waited on so nicely, wore designer brands and thought would top well, left a $0.15 cent tip. 15 CENT! (In euros). So haha to them😈
Even the street food is not that great. It looks like it would be good, but then they warm it up and it tastes like cardboard and knockoff Italy street food. Other than Fancy (expensive), or street food options, you have your typical American fast food chains: McDonalds, Burger King, KFC.
I would however recommend going to the W Amsterdam Hotel Lounge. That place was bopping!-especially on Thursdays. The food and drinks were a good compliment to the trendy W atmosphere that the brand is known for.
The whole trip wasn’t a total bust though. The art museums and historical museums were worth the price of admission. Just walking around and seeing the canals everyday helped to brighten my day. The museums can get a little pricey so I recommend booking online beforehand to afford extra cost and lines. I visited the below attractions (prices in Euros included):
Anne Frank Huis-9.50
Van Gogh Museum-18.00 (This price is the same online and in person, but the line for this museum is always long and they WILL make you wait outside if its crowded-even in the cold)
Museum of Prostitution-10.00
Moco-Banksy Museum-12.50 (if you go within the 1st hour of the museum opening and after 5:00 PM, admission is 9.00 EURO)
The best part of my trip was probably visiting the ICEBAR AMSTERDAM. It’s -9 degrees Celsius inside but it was actually bearable. I bought my ticket online before arriving and 3 free alcoholic drinks were included, along with an extra coat and gloves.
Even though I did not like Amsterdam I woke up every morning happy and ready to conquer the day, contrary to what I’ve written above. I knew in my mind that I would probably never be back and I had already spent my money to be there. And the best part, this was only a 5 day trip and 2 of those were travel days, so I only had to deal with the foolery for about 3 days-this is what I kept telling myself.
Would I go back again-No. Would I recommend to others-Yes and No. Yes because, if you find a great deal like I did, I encourage everyone to travel, but no because of the points touched on above. But everyone’s experiences are different, and depending on your personality, you may really enjoy Amsterdam. As for now, this is on my “DO NOT RETURN” list. #sorrynotsorry
Frieden Aus Amsterdam (✌🏾 out Amsterdam)