Amsterdam in Autumn

Before moving back to the UK from Japan in 2020, one of the ways that I consoled myself was by promising to visit some countries in Europe. I hadn’t done much travelling in Europe and it was a good way to keep my independent and adventurous streak alive and in touch. However, I, like most people, didn’t expect Covid to make the world housebound for a year. Needless to say, this threw a spanner in the works of my travel plans and it would be a while before I got to travel out of the country.

These pants were a highlight of my trip

So when I suggested a trip to Rach, and she put forward Amsterdam, I was so ready for it. I was also, due to the amount of time that had passed since I’d travelled, feeling quite nervous about the whole thing. I hadn’t travelled for a while and was worried that I’d forgotten how to do it; tried convincing myself that organising flights, airport parking, accommodation, etc., was all too much; and I told myself that I should just stay home. Obviously, a louder voice inside of me pushed through and made sure that I followed through with my plan and I’m glad I did.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

This trip came at a time of difficulty for me. Shifts in my relationships, changing jobs, and the end of my masters had left me feeling discombobulated, unstable and at the start of a cheeky identity crisis (something that we twenty-year-olds can’t get enough of). This discombobulation continued into the trip, which had some ups and downs. From being scolded by old ladies for walking on the wrong side of the pedestrian lane; to feeling super cultured in the art museum; to experiencing the horror that predatory men continue to be in contemporary society; to spending some well-needed quality time with the bestie- Amsterdam has a lot to offer, and a lot to learn from. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

This post is going to be a whistle-stop tour of my autumnal trip to Amsterdam – with cafe and eatery details coming in a later post. Expect lots of pictures!

As well as nearly getting handle-barred by at least a dozen cyclists, we did well to explore so much of the city as we did in just three days. We travelled entirely on foot and racked up a 30k step count on the daily. Once we hopped off the airport bus to the city, which was super simple to navigate, we started with some street roaming, cafe hunting and a bit of shopping. In the evening we found the Red Light District and ate in a really nice restaurant at the bottom of the street called Mata Hari.

Red Light District

The next day we headed to the Van Gogh museum and, to my delighted surprise, found a temporary Gustav Klimt exhibition inside! I learned a lot in the museum, like the fact that Klimt had actually started painting in the classical style before he reached the style for which he is now so famous (e.g. The Kiss, Judith).

After the museum, we did some more cafe mooching and headed to Vondelpark. At the park, we found a honey-comb style rose garden. The park was very 101 Dalmations and was lovely for a walk. We also saw a hefty spider eating a wasp on the way back to the hotel. After watching it for a while in horror and amazement, we walked on, got in, and had a nap.

Once we were refreshed, we set off along the canal to embark on a nighttime river tour. The canal boat was almost completely transparent; with moonlight beaming through the ceiling and the canal bridge fairy lights warming the windows. We drifted along the canals, learning about the city’s history, sipping red wine, and seeing places that our tired little legs were unable to take us. After the tour, we went out, had a dance, and had some difficult encounters with different groups of men but managed to, eventually, get home safely.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Our final day was spent in museums, namely the Torture Museum (would not recommend first thing with a hangover) and the Sex Museum (would not recommend either). We ate some more lovely food, bought a few gifts for friends and family and gradually made our way to the airport.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Amsterdam. There were some awesome eateries, lovely scenery, and the city was full of culture. I also really appreciated the time I spent with Rach; we could have proper conversations rather than bitty catch-ups between heavy, breathy exhales on the treadmill at the gym.

Love you very much!

On the other hand, there was a darker side to Amsterdam that made me feel quite unsafe and is something to consider if you’re travelling there. My experience in Amsterdam has definitely complicated those feelings of anxiety about travelling, especially alone; and that is the exact reason that I’m going to try to do it more going forward. Solo travel is something that I know I enjoy, I just need to remind myself of that, and to battle against the anxious thoughts trying to convince me otherwise.

Have you been to Amsterdam? How did you find it? I’d love to hear your highlights and less-high points!

Stay Positive.


Jess x

Feature image taken on the way into Amsterdam centre

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