Alles is Lekker, Amsterdam!

Anyone who has spent anytime in the Netherlands has probably heard the Dutch use the word, ‘Lekker.’ Look up ‘Lekker’ in google translate and you will see a number of English equivalents.

It can mean,

nice
tasty
delicious
yummy
snug
tempting
dainty
luscious
enticing

Lekker is used to describe just about anything in a positive manner. The weather on a sunny afternoon can be ‘Lekker.’ Your meal can be ‘Lekker.’ A warm fireplace can be ‘Lekker.’ It really has so many possibilities that you will probably hear it spoken a hundred times a day in Holland. It’s similar to the British using the word ‘Lovely,’ but with so many more possibilities!

Since the Amsterdam is so ‘Lekker’ and it’s kind-of on the way home from Turkey to the USA, I decided to stop over for a few days. I was fortunate to find a hotel room at the last minute, as this weekend there are two busy events in town, the Amsterdam Dance Event and the Amsterdam Marathon. Both events bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the city.

I’ve tried to explain to friends who don’t know Amsterdam, why it’s one of my favorite cities. Everyone knows all the cliches, like prostitution and marijuana being legal. Well, that’s true, but since I don’t partake in either of those pastimes, they are not what draws me to this city. I think I like the fact that the city offers everything other international cities offer but kind-of has a small town feel. No matter how busy the streets are, even in the tourist district, you can always escape the mayhem by stepping into a small cafe for a drink. Over the door of one of my favorite cafés, carved in stone is the year ‘1619.’ I always think it’s pretty cool to have a drink in an establishment that has been in business for almost 400 years. Imagine if those walls could talk! Amsterdam is also very foot-traffic friendly and has fantastic public transportation. I like traveling in cities on-foot, you see so much more than in a vehicle. There really is no need to take a taxi or rent a car in the city center, you can reach just about anywhere by bus or tram, followed by a short walk. There is of course a seedy under-belly of the city, but that’s completely overshadowed by the wonderful museums, art galleries and a multitude of other cultural attractions. No matter what your favorite food is, you can surly find it in Amsterdam! I’ve mentioned the ‘cafés’ already, but there are literally thousands of cafés all over the city. The Dutch homes (apartments) are pretty cozy (small) so I think that’s why they meet at the many cafés to socialize. I speak Dutch, but for non-Dutch worried about getting by in Amsterdam without knowing the language, worry not. The Dutch speak better English than many Americans I know. With a country of only about 17 million people, learning foreign languages for the Dutch is a must! So… When and if you do visit Amsterdam, don’t be afraid to grab your map, and umbrella, and just start exploring. Follow one picturesque canal street to the next, just wander, stop in a small local cafe for a drink. Just remember, ‘alles is lekker.’

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I am an adventure-loving American man, with a severe case of wander-lust and a desire to experience as much of this wonderful world as humanly possible. Every place I have visited or lived has taught me something about life and helped me grow. For me, traveling opens my eyes to how similar the human race is, yet at the same time, how unique we all are. I hope this blog will motivate you to put down the TV remote, dust off your backpack and decide to take a chance on an adventure. It can be a walk in a new neighborhood 2 miles from home or a trip to a far off distant land. I have lived in or visited over 50 countries during my life and hope to see many more. I want to share my experiences. I hope you enjoy the blog. -WAND3R3R, Somewhere on the Globe, 2014.