It’s a city where everyone is larger than life. Everyone is standing out. Everyone is fucked. Everyone is loud and busy and excited. Everyone is radiating light. Everyone is someone.
And it was so too much for me. Jesus Christ, it was insane.
But we will get there in a moment.
On the out skirts of Amsterdam I saw what I consider a real Mum. She was on a bike, her daughter on the seat behind her and on the front, ladies and gentlemen, in the front basket was her daughters bike sticking out. Round of applause.
We visited Anne Franks house. It was very moving. I had a heavy heart all the way through and had to fight back tears. It’s a completely immersive experience. No outside world exists other than the importance of that period of time and the people living in that annex. We are taught facts and figures, and yeah it’s still shocking but it never hits home. Visiting somewhere like this makes it real. My generation weren’t directly effected by WWII, it’s almost just a story to us. It’s different when you see it, there was such a weight on me and I don’t know how to explain it better than that.
We got very lucky with tickets, which seems like such a stupid thing to talk about straight after writing that. A lady wanted a refund for hers bought online and only because we were right next to her she offered us first. We walked past later on in the day and there were long queues. Still worth the wait.
We came outside Anne Franks house and into the hustle and bustle of the crowds, so anxiety was high along with the heaviness on my shoulders. Shuffled along the streets, me barely seeing anything being a short arse, Anne still on my mind, turned a few corners and there they were, the ladies in lingerie in the windows and men barking at them, literally. This is when I had a panic attack. You can see how crazy that is, right? The extremes.
Call me naive, but.. literally call me naive. You can. You really should. I forgot Amsterdam was a city. You see the photos, you hear the stories, and I imagined a beautiful place. I didn’t imagine how dirty the streets are, how many people there would be, how it’s pretty difficult to get away from the smell of cannabis and how chaotic. It was chaotic. James said it’s never been that busy any time he visited, and I’m just not good in crowds. It’s not only that I get extremely anxious, I kept loosing James, I get paranoid about my belongings being stolen and on top of it all, I get angry. I am the type of person to rudely shout ‘excuse me’ or ‘thank you’, while they’re skipping around loving life all up in my face. I can’t help it though.
It irritates me that I don’t enjoy crowds. I want to, I just can’t. I get overwhelmed and confused and it consumes me.
Some people get a buzz from a crowd and some people get a buzz from nature. I am the latter. I get a thrill from calmness. Big personalities, whether its crowds or a place, don’t bring out my personality. I find it too much pressure to be like everyone else and instead regress.
Anyway, I read online that there was a lot of Americans and English over for Kings Day, and this was the Saturday after and therefore was mental. Technical term. I can’t write it off though. It can’t always be that littered or busy, if you heard from other people it was like that no one would go. And then it’ll be empty so everyone would go. Then no one would go again. I’m assuming, maybe not. No one has ever said to me, ‘Oh, Amsterdam? Really want to go there? Very busy. You’ll probably see buckets of pickles left on the street.’
I know things bothered me that wouldn’t have if there weren’t crowds. I don’t really care about it smelling like cannabis, I don’t, and people can be loud and crazy, it’s just when things are too much it’s too much, you know? Then everything becomes a problem.
I didn’t take many photos, and when we left to stay at our hotel an hour away I didn’t take anymore at all. I felt crappy and was just being nice to myself. The hotel was lovely though, very posh, we felt judged for sure but rather try to fit in we just embraced how we looked and I strutted around bra-less rather than folding my arms over myself. Had a relaxing stroll around the grounds in the golden hour (and like I said earlier, I do get a buzz being in nature) and had a quick swim at 10:30 at night. Also learnt I love a sauna.
Only two quotes from James today. There were probably loads but I couldn’t hear him in the noise of Amsterdam.
Me: ‘I was hoping for a bath to relax in.’
James: ‘Well, you’ve got a swimming pool.’
‘I don’t think this is the kind of place where you can walk through the lobby with a pack of biscuits in your hand.’