Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.


In the Netherlands, I have really only been to Amsterdam that I can remember.

I've been twice - once on a school trip from Dubai when in the 7th grade (yes, you read that right) and once again in July 2009 after I went back to Dubai for Sanam's wedding. And, as you would expect, there were some fundamental differences between the two trips.

Grade 7

We left at midnight on my 12th birthday, which is December 22nd for the uninitiated. The trip involved a day in Amsterdam on the way to Disney World in Orlando, Florida (where we would also be for Christmas) and then 3 more days in Amsterdam on the way back from there, which meant we were there for the new year. On the one day we had on the way, we were taken on a quick trip on a bus just outside the main city to see rows and rows of tulips. We then had a quick stop to see some souvenir shops in a little shopping market (tried on some real clogs here) and then we were off to the most magical place on Earth. On our way back, we were exposed to a lot more of the city. We even took a walk in the red light district, supposedly by mistake but I think I had a curious teacher/chaperone!
We welcomed in 1998 at the hotel bar and I tried my first beer (sorry again, parents) but I really didn't like it and so stayed away from it for years (OK again, parents?). My trip at this age was more about the boys we went with than the culture. And, of course, there are very few pictures of this time as this was the era before digital cameras.

July/August 2009
Once again, we only spent 3 days here but it seemed enough for Amsterdam. When we got there, we checked into a little hostel in the main city. It was a great location, and you could see the main central station from it's front door. Of course, as part of the common theme here, I can't remember the name of the hostel at all! The weekend we were there was Gay Pride weekend so the city was buzzing even more than usual. There was a fantastic parade down the main canal, which we saw while waiting in line for Anne Frank House - a haunting but beautiful tour. The house, to be entirely honest, is a lot bigger than I imagined and the space in which the families lived also seemed larger than I initially thought.

Zab joined us for the weekend as wel, and we all had a great time visiting the cafes, strolling through the city and eating a LOT of chips with mayonnaise. We rented bikes one morning, but that proved too difficult for us with no practice.

I recommend Amsterdam to anyone. There is more to this city than weed and hookers. There is a lot of beauty in this city and the best ways to see it are by foot or bike.

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