One of my bucketlist items has always been to really discover the city where I was born and raised by going on a boat and tour the canals. I don’t mean the tour boats, I mean just hanging out with friends on a small boat and have a lot of fun.
And I have done it, and it was amazing!
The beating heart of Amsterdam
Some people say that you can’t discover Amsterdam unless you go by boat, and I somewhat agree. Yes you will get a totally different perspective if you see it from the water, but Amsterdam is a bit of both worlds. But the water is definitely the beating heart in Amsterdam.
But how did I end up on a small vessel with my friends?
Birthday Party Boat
A couple of days ago my friend Minck turned to the magical age of 18! So he decided to take us on an amazing trip on the canals of Amsterdam. I even took the day off to be there! And I have no regrets whatsoever.
In true Amsterdam fashion I arrived by bike to the spot that we agreed to meet at, but then you start to realise how much water and how many boats there are, it’s like a needle in a haystack! But with the wonders of mobile phones I found our vessel of the day! A good-sized party boat in my opinion!
I’m more of a land lubber than an old sea dog, so taking the first step onto the boat was something I hadn’t imagine to be so scary. You feel the boat rock when you take a step onto it and I have to say without any shame, I thought I would get very wet! But alas, no water for me on this beautiful sunny day!
We also had a second captain, or an aspirant captain if you will. Our good friend and so enthusiastic to drive a boat, Taijab “The Pirate” Bechan!
Even though his first attempt almost got us collided with multiple different, let me emphasize immobile, ships. At the second attempt he really got the hang of it. Kudo’s to you my friend!
While we were sailing we noticed that a lot of people were checking out our food. We had a variety of food on our table and it was a pleasure to be sailing and eating like a king! And I can imagine that the people on the tour boats could be jealous, they paid to be on a boat of course, why didn’t they get snacks? Well they weren’t on the party boat!
While being “fashionably” late, our friend Jeffrey finally joined us in our adventure on the Amsterdam waters, and the party boat could depart.
Seeing things differently
While I was growing up my, now late, aunt taught me to always look up, because that’s where Amsterdam really shines with history. Fun fact is that from a boat you really have to look up, and you really need to focus more, which makes you see more.
I’ve been to Amsterdam hundreds of times in my 32 year lifetime, but this was something new. Seeing all the people in the other boats on eye level, and seeing all the people enjoying their lunch or drink on the edge of the water was an amazing experience. It also felt like going back in time, Amsterdam used to be more like Venice where everything was done by boat.
We also quickly learned from our birthday boy, ahem man, captain, that the tourboat captains are basically the taxi drivers on the water. They despise the smaller boats and will not give any way for them to pass and will stick to their own agenda.
But the tourboat taxi drivers didn’t have a lot of real problems with our captain because of his skillful driving of the boat. I didn’t know what to expect when we started out, but he was more than a decent captain!
Sightseeing in Amsterdam from the water is a truly exceptional feeling. When you walk on the streets of Amsterdam you always have to look out and this was a great way to let your guard down and enjoy the scenery.
You do see everything the same like when you walk, or bike. But you do see a different perspective, which gives it something magical.
It’s been said that Amsterdam has over a thousand bridges throughout the whole city, which is more than Venice! Sometimes when you go underneath a bridge you don’t know what you can expect so when you get to the other side you might see something you will think is amazing!
Getting new passengers
After a while we took on some passengers that were a bit later. 2 colleagues of ours and even our Restaurant Manager came to join the party. You could think that it would be a difficult task to just pick up people, but it is much easier than expected. Amsterdam is built to be able to get on and off boats pretty easily.
So we went to Amsterdam Central Station, docked there and picked up our new passengers. We were even able to go to the toilet there and get some food for our trip!
Watching the match of the decade
At 9 P.M. the soccer match started and our captain had thought about it and got his laptop out so we could see the match on the boat. You really can do anything on a boat nowadays with mobile data!
However I had to cut my trip there short. I remembered that I left my work clothes at my moms place and had to pick up the bike I rented.
Even though Amsterdam is a small place it took me a half hour to get back to my bike, drive all the way back to my moms place, collect my things and head back home with the train. Even though I left at 9:25PM I arrived at my home at 00:24 AM.
All the impressions of the day, all the fun we had, had made me very tired and I went to bed right away. It was so much fun to sail the waters of Amsterdam and I hope I can do it again real soon! In my opinion you really have to do this once in your lifetime!