(JP) Well, thus concludes 2 days in Amsterdam as we head to Schipol Airport en route to Milan. And I must say, Amsterdam is nothing short of blissful. But it's a startling calm, so immediate and breathable that you wonder if someone's tricked you into such a relaxed way of wandering. The trees rustle ever so lightly, softly protecting the canals that traverse the city throughout. It's the water among the urban, the corporate suits atop bicycles, all these seeming contradictions to the American sprawl that make it both ahead of its time and wholly unique in its blend of the modern and antique. Not antiquated by any stretch however; on the contrary, the Dutch have shown me just how incredibly far ahead of us they are. Sad, too, when you think that New York was settled by these very ancestors. With the same names, same colors, and similarly diverse to my surprise. But, as Mon put it just an hour ago, we are clearly the 'country cousin'..the relaxed, gentle sophistocation of Amsterdam is most certainly something we have yet to tap into.
A river runs through it, but we all but crawled. There's nothing to rush to, and there's hardly a sense you'd ever get lost (in the bad sense). Aside from the ridiculously good indian we ate last night, the highlight was being told we were the 'first Americans' 2 local students had ever seen in their favorite bar - De Geiter. Somehow, we managed to get away from ourselves! We found my holy grail - the locals' spot to hang. Ollie and Ian made small talk, asked if we knew Long Island, and pointed to the gazillion expired student drivers' licenses that line the ceiling above the bar. I tried to order a Heiny (I'm in Amsterdam after all), but bartender said 'Grolsch" gruffly in return, for that was the only beer one can buy there. So, I echoed his scornful command and seconds later tasted a much tastier beer than what we're dealing with on the other side of the pond.
Shout out to Mikey Scheer and the entire DTF crew. Not only did I find a sticker of his, I doubled its presence on one of the hidden alleyways in town. And now, Italia. I will miss this lightness of being though, as well as the stellar museum curation (both Anne Frank's hideout house and Van Gogh's setup are extremely visitor-friendly and informative). I will miss the dancing lights on nightime waters. I will miss never being honked at by bikes over bridges. I will miss it all, until the next time - because a return is surely due.