There is a city where I have never lived, but I have probably visited more than hundred times. There is a city where some tourists only stop for one day even few hours, but I find there are so many unknown and interesting parts hided in it. There is a city where people’s first impression of the downtown is chaotic and mess, but it has more than that.

When you enter the busy touristic regions, you see the tacky souvenir shops stuffed with green and red “I Amsterdam” “xxx”, “Heineken” logo, probably all type materials made tulip, cheese blocks, and etc. Everything which you could ever think about or picture this country, you can find in these regions. Narrow and dirty streets are flooded with people from anywhere of the world. They probably look happy, curious, or judgmental. Group of British accent boys are yelling about “the” coffeeshop, sexshop, “de wallen” and extreme exciting about the later on hang over. This city is famous for its known tolerance, not necessarily the diversity, but taboos. For the first coming visitor, breaking the taboo is the symbol of this city. What it is lacking for most of people probably the temperament. However, this city might have double faces: one face is generated for the outsiders; another face is cared by the insiders. The combination of the two makes it unique.

There is probably no city can convince the tourists feel so attracted to bike, when they need pass the crazily fast Amsterdam local “cyclers”. Dangerous and uncomfortable feeling even becomes a new travelling experience. Bike as a national transport tool has its special Amsterdam style and design. Amsterdammers have their own taste and creativity, when coming into bikes. You should image a well suited gentleman biking with his leather briefcase and holding an umbrella to against the raining/windy typical Dutch day; a strong mum biking 4 kids by using freight bicycle?; a hermit type old uncle using bike to transport 10 size bigger staff; or even a young student using an almost falling apart bike. You even could find a book, some like “bike city”, “a city with bike”.

If you love museum, but you are weary of the corny style and repeated exhibition. You will be definitely supersized somewhere in this city. The coexisted and well composited traditional and modern styles are very easily founded. The special angle to capture the best visual influence could be in anywhere.

This city has so many amazing details, which you probably never notice at the first few times. In the historical channel regions, there probably have amazing hidden inner garden, new designed house fitted into a heritage building. You probably will run into a new concept toilet. Sometimes you have to pay in a Dutch way, when you want to use the toilet from restaurant where you just have your food. To design a new concept toilet becomes interesting. It makes the paying more natural and reasonable, because this toilet is just so adorable.

Who says you can only have boring potables and deep fried snacks here? In the arising trendy region “Oude Pijp”, you probably can find one of the best Italian restaurants in town, warm cake house selling oma’s delicious apple cake. Or, a Turkish bakery shop sales the best baklava I have ever had. Or, you probably can drop in an good Indonesia restaurant to have a rich rice table, where Anthony mentioned in his 36 hours in Amsterdam episode. I just did that, once after I have watched that show in air plane. Or, you can go to Zeedijk (善德街), where is the china town of the city. You probably would not have the best Chinese food there, but it might be as the symbol of a hundred-year history of the migrants. Thereafter, their culture and food might become a part of this city, no matter how big that could be.

I deeply feel in love with this city.

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(all photos by leee)

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