If loving stroopwafels, Gouda cheese and wine is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I traipsed nearly twenty miles on foot through the streets of Amsterdam during my two days there, a monumental portion of this in flip flops. Not smart. Despite this ignorant oversight, I most definitely took more bites than steps, per usual. Gouda and stroopwafels, two delicacies native to the Netherlands, were my sustenance. These, of course, were washed down by wine and the occasional brew. However, the thing that struck me most as I was sampling my way through the city’s pubs and patisseries was the people.
Despite my glaring status as a gluttonous globetrotter, I was welcomed with kindness and grace around each corner. I kid you not. I did not encounter one putz or blowhard. The friendly tinkling of bike bells was used in place of profanity to warn me that I was in the way. Smiles and fond greetings were as abundant as Gouda and stroopwafels no matter where I wandered. Even when I cluelessly held up the line at the market as I fumbled to pay, not one eye rolled. To the contrary, the majority of those in the queue that I was inconveniencing offered to help! It was as if the residents of Amsterdam exist on a higher and more positive emotional plane. I know what you’re thinking… “it’s the drugs”. I beg you not to fall into the misguided trap of believing the negative stereotypes about this extraordinary spot. This sliver of the world boasts some of the most beautiful architecture and scenery, mind-blowing history, and is teeming with genuine and hospitable denizens. Alas, my time was too abrupt in Amsterdam. I’ll carry visions of sweet smiles, Gouda and stroopwafels with me until we meet again.