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Todd's Dutch diaries: Van Gogh & Waffles, or Todd’s day in Amsterdam

Todd is a 21 year old student who has just moved to Amsterdam. These small stories will try to shed some light on international student experience at the VU and Amsterdam in general. Comic, insightful or just describing daily routine - jump right in & share his experience in the city of bikes!

“Alstublieft!”,- I murmured, looking at what must’ve been a 3 meter tall man straight in the eyes. Well, more like diagonally in the eyes, considering his height, but anyway.

Or was it “goedemiddag”? I always have those two mixed up for some reason. Something about the word “alstublieft” just makes me overflow with happiness, preparing to greet a person. But it’s always a please.

The man ignored my mistake. However, one could easily notice him subtly take notes on my arrogance. It was okay, however. Having lived here for just a brief month already made me understand the unspoken hatred of bike-lane-walkers and alikes.

I politely inquired about possibilities of buying a waffle. I mean, the waffle. Yes, ladies and gentleman, you got it right - the famous stroopwafel was my goal at that point.

The man gave me the directions. Turns out I was just behind the corner of a high-end stroopwafel store. Cafe? Wafle’raunt?

The situation actually made me wonder if it was just me being lucky or Amsterdam having more stroopwafel stores than bikes. I proceeded to walk to the store and get my very first stroopwafel. Oh, was that man right about the quality of these waffles! The crusty sugary layer hit my mouth as soon as I had bitten the waffle. One moment later, and I can feel warm caramel right on my tongue. Now this is a treat! Having tried some local food, I had my expectations on those waffles high up in the sky, but I never thought they were that good.

I finished my waffle and left the restaurant, smiling back at the lady behind the counter.

-”Dankjewel!”, I said, waving at her. At least this one - thank you - has really stuck with me.

The city was blooming. The weather was Amsterdam-ish. But a little rain does not hurt, or might even make the city more appealing to some. What is important is the city was alive - people rushing to and from work, cars crawling towards next traffic light. And bikes. A lot of swifty bikes.

I was going with the flow of the city. After a while, I found myself standing in a huge circle of people at the Dam square. The crowd had encircled three guys, dressed in traditional orange african clothes. They were dancing to probably the most contemporary piece of music one could imagine. The tallest of them suddenly started spinning on his head! Now, I am pretty easy to fascinate when it comes to headstands, but what this man was doing was truly breathtaking. A whole minute of spinning on his head! Impressive! Luckily, I had some spare change to share with those folks. Art deserves recognition and what I have seen was without a doubt worth of my attention.

Now to the museumplein! Van Gogh awaits!

I have to admit: it is very typical to set Van Gogh’s museum as a “final destination” in Amsterdam. But I was more than ready to jump straight into the art of the gifted man. I had considerably put my “Starry night” socks on, so at this point nothing could stop me. But even the lack of aforementioned painting in museum could not upset me. This man had it in him. Art rushing through his mind and straight unto the canvas in front of him.

And not even the line to the museum, not even rainy weather or price of the ticket could ruin it for me. It was all well worth it. Beautiful people. Beautiful city.

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