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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Amsterdam: From Rijksmuseum to the Red Light District

Six months ago, my friends and I were eagerly scouring travel pages, blogs, and journals in an attempt to determine the destination of our next trip. As avid travelers, the three of us are the type to start planning our next adventure before we’ve even completed the upcoming one. Nevertheless, after returning from Bali, my two best friends were dead-set on jet-setting over winter break. Spring break, we decided collectively, was too small of a time span and would make our travels a bit more stressful. Not to mention, flights for that time of year tend to be a bit pricey. It seems like every college student has a fun vacation in mind.

We originally had our minds set on Belize after flicking through gorgeous beach-side Airbnbs and homestays. We even assembled a rough agenda of activities such as Mayan temple tours, surfing, and hiking. It wasn’t until we researched flights to Europe on a whim when we stumbled upon an amazing steal of a deal: round-trip flights to Amsterdam for $330. It was a price tag that was practically unheard of—beyond the British Isles, round trip flights can easily cost $400 or more. At times, travelling to London can cost just as much. Recently, lesser-known airlines and smaller airports have begun offering potential consumers the opportunity to fly for cheap—even if it means taking a less-than-direct route.

Upon making this discovery, we booked almost immediately. An exploration of lodging led us to the conclusion that staying in a hostel would be the best decision, totaling at $180. There was a $30 down deposit to reserve our stay and $150 for a seven-night stay. This chalked up our expenses, excluding food and spending money, to a small $510. For any European country, especially one frequented by tourists, this was a bargain.

Jan. 10 rolled around and we boarded our red-eye flight with much excitement. Amsterdam is full of art and culture, brimming with museums, excellent food, and charm. The Dutch were incredibly hospitable—not once did we experience any level of rudeness or hostility. Being English speakers wasn’t an issue either; everyone we spoke to caught onto our linguistic barrier very quickly and traded their native Dutch for English.

After checking into ClinkNOORD, the number one hostel in the city, we dropped off our bags and headed out to explore. Predicting that our bodies would need sleep sooner rather than later, we opted to keep our first day free of any concrete plans. This way, if we were tired, we could head back to the hostel to catch up on sleep.

Amsterdam is divided into a series of neighborhoods, much like Boston. Instead of the Back Bay, they have Jordaan, an equally charming artisan neighborhood filled with colorful canal houses, cafés and boutiques. Their downtown is dubbed Centrum, meaning “center.” The rest of the city is divvied up into areas such as De Pijp, the Canal Ring, the Museum Quarter and the Red Light District. We did our best to make sure we visited each in turn. Not once did we feel uncomfortable or uncertain about our safety, even in the depths of the Red Light District, which is well-known globally for prostitution and pubs.

Being tourists, we planned to make all the traditional stops. The Rijksmuseum is the city’s largest art museum, with a vast collection of art from every age, the Van Gogh Museum which consists almost exclusively of its namesake’s work, the Anne Frank House where the teen Jewish girl evaded the Nazis with her family for two years, and the Diamond Museum, an institution that details Amsterdam’s top-tier rank in the diamond industry. Of course, we didn’t neglect to take a canal cruise, a stroll through Jordaan, or to sample all the staples of Dutch cuisine. Should you ever find yourself in this lovely city, I would highly suggest trying a fresh stroopwaffle—a waffle-like pastry filled with sweet caramel, served warm. Absolutely delicious.

Our stay of seven days was well planned as we evenly distributed our planned excursions throughout the trip. As far as meals go, not once did we go unsatisfied with our fare, and we went on a lower budget. For restaurant recommendations and reviews, TripAdvisor is an invaluable tool to ensure satisfaction. Overall, it was a truly amazing experience to share with my two best friends. I would definitely consider returning to Amsterdam in the future. If you’re seeking an European excursion, don’t hesitate to make a pit stop in the Netherlands. I promise you won’t regret it.