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Chelsea in London: Amsterdam! (Part 1)

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Chelsea Adams is a KWC junior from Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Advertising and PR. She is spending the Spring 2012 Semester in London and is sending updates to KWConnect about her adventures. If you missed previous entries, you can catch up here.

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amsterdam

The "I amsterdam" sign.

Hello Amsterdam! When my friends and I arrived in this beautiful city we were overwhelmed by the beauty of every single building. I am slowly learning that every city has a completely different feel and appearance, specific to itself.

We took a EuroStar train from London to Amsterdam, with just a short stop in Brussels to change trains. The EuroStar really is a fantastic way to travel, and the train station is directly in the center of Amsterdam, which was a huge plus. We simply had to walk around a huge square to get to our hotel.

When we came out of the station we knew Amsterdam was unlike any city we had ever been to. The first noticeable thing was the beauty of every single building. Each building in that square looks as if it was created as a work of art, with ornate designs along the top and domed roofs. Then the buildings on each street look as if they came off of a Hollywood set. For one, they are all built to slant forward (which we later found out is on purpose). The second thing we noticed was all of the bikes! Bikes are the first form of transportation for most of the people in Amsterdam and let me tell you, those bikes were everywhere! I had never seen so many bicycles in my entire life.

We took off around the edges of the square (a canal makes up the middle of it) and quickly learned the hard way that the trams in Amsterdam are the equivalent to public transportation busses, and they drive right down the middle of the street, or the sidewalk as was the case. Good thing they have horns on them, or my friends and I would be pancakes. When we finally made our way to our hotel we were pretty exhausted, so we settled our stuff in and found a burger restaurant that we had heard phenomenal reviews from, and ate some dinner.

We got a good night’s sleep and woke up early the next morning to do a free walking tour, which was a great way to see parts of the city and hear history that we never would have known. It’s amazing how tolerant Amsterdam is of every kind of person and for how long they have been this way. The locals joke that they are not sure if they are tolerant or if they are good businessmen who don’t want to turn away customers. Either way, Amsterdam today is home to all different types of people and they make up a culture that is incredibly unique.

That night one of my friends and I took a tour of the Red Light District. We figured you had to if you were in Amsterdam! I’m definitely glad we took the tour, as it was eye opening and we learned a lot about the economy and government in the city over time. We also learned that since the city has legalized certain practices, the rates for crime related to those practices has dropped significantly. Amsterdam is actually considered one of the safest cities in Europe.

Next time … more of Amsterdam. And we almost miss our train home.

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