Amsterdam was the first country I have ever traveled to alone-alone, since Belgium and Lille were both for work (so I had colleagues around if there was an emergency, or for non-emergencies like dinner company), and I technically traveled alone to Panama, but I stayed with a friend who lives there. I had absolutely no one to explore with or dine with (or whatever!) in Amsterdam - and I was really, really excited about that.
I'd done some research to see what countries near Belgium were considered safe for solo female travelers, and Amsterdam seemed to be the best choice. I was assured by people who had been to Amsterdam that I would have nothing to worry about - and they were right - because I felt totally comfortable on my own. Actually wait, I had one safety concern: not getting hit by bicyclists. When I tell you there were hundreds and hundreds of bicyclists at all times of day (or night), I am not exaggerating. I almost got ran over the second I left the train station, like as soon as I exited the train station doors, which leads to my very first Amsterdam tip: You must pay attention and keep your head up at all times, should you not want to get hit by a bicyclist. Walking while looking down at your phone, or abruptly stopping to take a photo of the beautiful canal? Nahhht recommended.
I had a few things on my immediate agenda after I checked into my hotel (this one, right across from the train station), mostly all food related. I asked the hotel staff where to walk and where not to walk (I wasn't trying to get lost in the Red Light District on my very first night), and most importantly, where I could eat those french fries in a cone that I had been seeing on Instagram! Priorities, people, priorities. With my suggestions in tow, I set out for a leisurely afternoon/early evening in Amsterdam, so I could save my energy for the busy touristy days to follow. (I guess that's another tip, which I've mentioned before: Don't exhaust yourself on day one!)
Note: if you don't like canals or bikes, or bikes in front of canals, you may not want to scroll down...
My first of many bacon apple pancakes, or pannekoeken, which I learned Danish people don't actually make a big fuss over. Tourists, on the other hand, are pretty obsessed. (I mean, bacon and apple?!) This here pancake can be added to my list of "reasons to move to Amsterdam."
It really can't get much more beautiful, can it? Ugh.