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Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, and narrow houses with gabled facades. Amsterdam was on my top list of places to visit, my dream can true, when my longtime Dutch friend, Shyla, invited me to travel with her to visit her mum. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and said yes without hesitation, but with much delight.

Shyla was born in Netherlands and has traveled to many continents as a professional flora designer. She now lives in Canada and has worked hard to build a successful flower shop. I had the pleasure of employing her back in Australia many years ago when I had a flower shop. We have kept in touch all these years and our friendship has flourished just like the flowers we both adore!

Amsterdam. What a beautiful and a fascinating city! One of the oldest cities in Europe, and my home for a few wonderful days. I enjoyed the city immensely; I could go back to visit time after time! I found the city so beautiful with so many connected canals. All the old historical buildings alongside the canals are fascinating and mesmerizing! There are numerous cute cafes along the sides of the canals.

In Amsterdam, there are bicycles everywhere you look! The population is so dense in the city (840,486 within the city proper, 1,337,743 in the urban area, and 2,431,000 in the Amsterdam metropolitan area) that not many people drive. Lots and lots people use their two-wheeled bikes for transportation. From my few days’ stay, I found Dutch people are very friendly, down to earth, and very relaxed. They kind of reminded me of my fellow Aussie people! The Dutch people like their music. Every boutique shop we went in seemed like a night club. I loved it!

I thought the city was great, but the drive to the countryside was beautiful. I saw a real windmill on the way to Hoorn to visit Shyla’s mum. Hoorn had many great cafes and many great shoe shops; it’s a pity we didn’t have much time to shop! The second country town I had the pleasure to visit was Enkhuizen, a small but cute harbor town. Enkhuizen had local, famous Dutch-style fish & chips. They didn’t disappoint! We drove along a dyke for miles. A dyke is a narrow buildup area that prevents seawater from coming into the inhabited areas, as a lots of areas of the Netherlands are below sea level.

Believe it or not, I didn’t get to see the Anne Frank House. I went there three times to attempt to go in, but I refused to wait in the line for hours. It was cold and windy! Next time! There was so much to see and do, I wish I would have had more time.