With buildings that are built to lean ever so slightly, canals that have replaced avenues, and bridges lined with flowers and bicycles, Amsterdam is a city straight out of a storybook. I was incredibly and unexpectedly charmed by a city that despite having quite the reputation, I ultimately knew so little about. Did you know the building that line the canals are not leaning because they're sinking into the ground? Older homes in Amsterdam have tall and narrow staircases, so these houses were accommodated with gables and hooks. These pull were used to lift items such as furniture to the upper levels. These buildings also lean forward slightly to keep whatever the gable is lifting from colliding with the facade. It's so resourceful and adorable at the same time, I can barely stand it.
With its narrow, winding streets and bridges, Amsterdam was essentially built for bikes. They lined every railing on every bridge on every street. My friend and I chose to walk everywhere, so that we could soak in every ounce of the city, but by the end of each day we found our selves wishing for set of wheels to carry our tired feet home.
A self-guided tour of courtyards in Jordaan, the most scenic neighborhood, led us to the most quaint private gardens. Outside of the courtyards, streets were lined with art galleries, artsy boutiques and charming coffee shops, so basically I'd move there in a heartbeat.
Our tiny rented apartment was in the heart of the red light district, which seemed rather safe despite its seedy reputation. Nothing could beat the view we had walking home at night from one of the many waterfront bars or low-key clubs, with the lights reflecting on the waters of the canals, a vision straight out of storybook.