Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Wed September 02 2015

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | September 2, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    Amsterdam: I Went For Vincent

    Amsterdam: I Went For Vincent

    PHOTO: One of the most enjoyable things about Amsterdam is wandering along the many canals. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    I stood there for two hours in the wind and rain. In the middle of these less than ideal conditions, I secretly wished I had visited a coffeeshop beforehand. But I knew if I did, my van Gogh Museum experience would get lost somewhere in the haze.

    I have been a Vincent fan ever since I saw “Starry Night” hanging on the wall of my mother’s house as a child. Since then, I have had a fascination with Vincent van Gogh’s work, which has largely influenced me to pursue a life of art and simplicity.

    The thing with van Gogh is not only his physical work, but also his dedication and extreme love of art, literature and the simple life amongst nature, which is truly inspirational (all mental instability aside).

    What I found truly remarkable was that he began to pursue his passion of art at the age of 27, which goes to show it is never to late to start again — to choose a new path in life if the one you currently lead doesn’t serve you anymore. Over time, his work blossomed and he has become one of the most iconic painters of his time.

    Again, he proved that if you want something bad enough and are willing to dedicate your time to it, practice does make perfect and you are capable of anything you set your mind to.

    Moral of the story: two hours of waiting and €17 Entry to the van Gogh Museum was worth ever second, every penny.

    The rest of my time was dedicated to exactly what you think. Eating too much chocolate and indulging in the fun things.

    Note: If you pre-book your ticket in advance, you can forego the long line-up.

    Cheapest Accommodation: Shelter City (€26 a dorm)

    Note: Shelter City is a Christian hostel is in a great location near Dam Square, Central Station and the red light district — plus they serve a great free breakfast. Note this is a strict drug- and alcohol-free hostel.

    Best “Budget” Hostel: Meininger Amsterdam City West (€39-42.5 a dorm)

    Note: If you stay here, it’s only a bit outside of the city. Buy an unlimited travel ticket that INCLUDES train travel. This hostel is only one stop away from Amsterdam center, but the regular unlimited travel tickets that the hostel and trains station sell are just for bus or tram.

    A Local's Guide to Hidden Amsterdam

    • Unique cafes: Cafe de ceuvel, Hannekes Boom and Boulangerie 1072

    • Best Neighborhood for Drinks: Gerard Douplein

    • Best Beach: Bergen Aan Zee

    • Best flea market: Waterlooplein Fle Market

    • Where to see Tulip Fields: Keukenhof

    PHOTO: Nothing screams Dutch like a pair of wooden clogs. If they weren’t so impractical, I would have loaded up my bag with these adorable wooden shoes.


    • You can walk everywhere

    • Transit App 

    • Remember to validate your ticket

    • Buy a 3-day ticket rather than individual tickets — (€12 a 3-day)

    Must Do’s

    • Take a day trip to Delft, or Haarlem’s market, or Zandvoort’s beach resort near Haarlem.

    • Go to Begikhof and roam through the secret gardens and churches.

    • Wander through the notorious red light district.

    • Party, picnic or pass out in the notorious Vondelpark.

    PHOTO: Vondelpark was one of the highlights (no pun intended) of my time in Amsterdam. It's beautiful, peaceful and a great place to rest and relax.

    • Every Friday night at 9 p.m., join a 20km skating venture through the night. You know its fun when its final destination is the pub!

    • Don’t leave Amsterdam without ordering something at the famous vending machines of FEBO.

More Amsterdam


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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